Kate Griffin: Tribute to an inspirational leader

By Liam Fay

After the school community of Christ the King Catholic Primary in Liverpool were shocked at the sudden death of head teacher Kate Griffin, Year 3 teacher Liam Fay pays tribute:
'A daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, an educator, a leader, an inspiration, a friend. Kate Griffin wore all of these titles with great pride and great humility. The power to be humble, admired and yet achieve so much in such a short space of time is a combination of a rarest form. The embodiment of a pure heart and endeavour pure in its intention.
'Kate Griffin was the head teacher at Christ the King Catholic Primary School having been appointed in 2014 after serving as deputy head in 2011. She passed away after a short illness at the age of 40.
'Kate forged a career based on hard work, faith and fun. She was an agent of change moving forwards and bringing others along with her. She put trust in them to enact a shared vision and continued to nurture a strong team, adding to it as the school grew. This team became a family in its own right. At Christ the King Catholic Primary, where she became the youngest head teacher in Liverpool, she saw the power of a holistic education, in developing young children into happy and fulfilled ones with the power and the make-up to deal with an ever-changing world.

'The breadth and variety of education on offer at Christ the King was a point of pride. Finding the time to allow children to be children was important to her – hence helping to develop Forest School into the curriculum. Kate understood the vital role that family plays in the community of Christ the King, fostering and building strong bonds. She gave herself to them. Schools were not to be exam factories filling a child’s day with ways of mastering a test – rather Kate saw every day as a blank slate for learning, fun and development, whether that be physical, mental or spiritual. Her faith shone through in everything she did and was especially apt in the school that she led and community that she served, for the 'Kingship' means service in all of its forms. This was Kate.
'In every day there was love evident for all who wore the maroon and gold and entered under her roof, an almost infinite amount of love that bordered on unconditional. Her smile showed this. Kate didn’t just smile with her mouth, nor with her eyes, but instead with her entire being. This was an infectious smile affecting all it shone upon.
'Kate was also fierce and was not afraid to stand up for what she believed to be right. If we do the right things for the right reasons then the end will be worth the means. She was truly selfless and supported many heads across the city, chaired many committees and developed many links with other schools across the country. She took the time to get to know those she led and genuinely cared about them as people, not just employees, always finding time to have meaningful conversations amid the chaotic, intricate workings of a school day.  Kate possessed a power to know when something wasn’t right. These chats were often accompanied by her bear hugs which had the power to calm, comfort and reinvigorate. She believed that going the extra mile to help someone was the right thing to do; in many ways it was just another step for her.
'Kate has left an indelible mark on education, a community and all who reside in it. Her legacy will be renewed each time a child begins their first day in reception at Christ the King and in every day by the family that she built from the foundations of her predecessors.
'Kate is survived by her husband Steven and her three young children Amelia, Ben and Pippa.'