After 31 years in education and eight years as Greenwood Community High School Principal, Todd Garrison has announced his retirement.
After attending Ball State University, the New Castle native started his career as a teacher and coach, spending five years at Calumet High School in Gary and eight years at Perry Meridian High School as a business teacher, football coach and basketball coach.
“I had a lot of people supportive of me and who were always there for me. It made high school an enjoyable place to be and looking back, I wanted to give back and be impactful to other kids the way people were to me,” Garrison said. “In my wildest dreams I never thought I’d end up in the (Chicago) region, I had no family up there. I took the job at Calumet High School and really enjoyed it and it set the tone for me with a lot of things. It introduced me to a lot of diversity and cultures. I really enjoyed my time there and stayed there for five years. I got married in my time up there and neither of us were from there, and we wanted to get closer to family.”
During his time at Perry Meridian, Garrison transitioned away from teaching as the dean of students, which he said he took on in order to have more leadership experience, a desire to lead that continued into his one year at Mount Vernon High School, where he served as assistant principal for one year before his 17 years at Greenwood High School, nine years of which he was assistant principal before he finished his career in education with eight years as principal.
“I wanted to continue to be a part of students’ lives through a different avenue, impacting them in a different way. As a teacher and a coach, it’s a daily grind, getting to know them and teaching them. With administration, it involves the entire student body. I impact them through the staff,” Garrison said. “I think teaching is one of the hardest positions anyone could ever assume. Teaching is difficult, it’s emotional, you put your heart and soul into the students. It’s incredibly challenging but it’s incredibly rewarding as well.”
Garrison said he stayed at Greenwood High School because it felt like a community.
“I think, growing up in New Castle, it was a community,” he said. “I enjoyed living in a community. I feel what we have special in Greenwood is the community feel, that’s why I love community in the name. It feels as if it’s a community even though it’s so close to Indy, even in a suburban area. Just knowing people here, knowing families, having a town, having a mayor, the facilities, it’s just a great place to live. It’s a great place to grow your family and I did all that. Both my kids went to high school here. I was their principal and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”
During every year of his tenure as principal, Greenwood High School received an “A” letter grade from the Indiana Department of Education. Greenwood Superintendent Terry Terhune said part of the reason he decided to take his job was due to Garrison’s leadership at the high school.
“I’ve known Todd a really long time, I’d say 15 or more years and he’s one of the reasons I came to Greenwood,” Terhune said. “I felt confident knowing our high school was in really good hands. It’s as good of a high school administration as there is around, and I felt confident in knowing I would have the chance to work with him and knowing how good of an administrator he’s been. Our high school has been an ‘A’-rated high school many years in a row now, due to his leadership.”
Garrison will next work for SiteLogIQ, a multi-state facility improvement company. There, he’ll serve as the senior business consultant for Indiana, working in the kindergarten through 12th grade market, he said.
“Whether energy efficiency or new construction, they handle all phases of construction projects. I’ll create relationships with schools and I get to use my networking and relationships I’ve built over the last 31 years and continue to work with schools in that capacity,” he said.
Looking back on his time in education, Garrison said he’ll miss the interactions with students and staff members the most.
“We don’t have a lot of turnover in Greenwood. It’s a very consistent staff and we know who to go to. The teaching staff has been very good, and we have 15 to 20% out-of-district students,” Garrison said. “We hear about how much the teachers care, and I’m more proud of that than anything. I’ll miss the people, educators, our students and when I’m having a bad day, I would go into the halls and talk to kids. I’ll miss those relationships with everyone.”