Tara Griffin recently completed her 29th year in elementary education, with retirement possibly next year. Currently, she is enjoying her summer weeks and spending time with her husband, Warren, who fully retired recently.
“Our family defines me, since our world revolves around our four sons,” Tara said, referring to JP, Philip, Ronnie, and Greg.
The oldest, JP, lives in Buford, Georgia, along with his two children, four-year-old daughter Cayden and 19-month-old son Ben. JP is a Professional Golf Association (PGA) Teaching Professional at Capital City Club Brookhaven in Atlanta. He was recently named the 2021 PGA Georgia Section Player of the Year.
Philip lives in Port Wentworth where he is now a Garden City Police Officer. After earning an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from Ogeechee Tech, he has spent most of his career in law enforcement. He also worked in the telephone cable business for five years prior to returning to law enforcement.
Ronnie, who is a 2020 Pinewood Christian Academy (PCA) graduate, completed a two-year training in February of 2022 at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command (NNPTC) in Charleston, South Carolina. He is now a MMN3 (Machinist Mate Nuclear 3rd Class) stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, serving on the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier, where he will remain for the next four years.
Greg, the youngest, is a 2022 PCA graduate and was a member of the PCA State Championship baseball team in 2021, as well as the football and baseball teams who were both state runners-up during his senior year.
Greg is spending his summer months working for Palm Coast Utilities, based in Ludowici. He plans to enter Georgia Southern University (GSU) in the fall, but is undecided about his major field of study.
“I have spent my 29 years in education in Liberty County, and I am now a Media Specialist at Waldo Pafford Elementary School in Hinesville,” Tara said.
She earned her first degree in Early Child Education from GSU, and followed that with a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Armstrong. She then earned another Master’s degree in Instructional Technology from GSU. She is also Gifted Certified.
Tara has taught pre-k, kindergarten, first, third, and fourth grades along with being a gifted resource teacher. Of the 29 years in education, 11 of those years have been spent being a media specialist. The Liberty County School System is well equipped with technology, providing approximately 12,000 iPads for all students and staff members. Tara spends a large portion of her day troubleshooting and assisting students and teachers with technology.
“I’ve enjoyed my teaching career and hope I have made a positive difference in the lives of children who have been students in my classroom as well as in my media center,” said Tara.
Warren has been supportive of Tara’s career and commented on how she goes “above and beyond” in providing for her students and others.
“She is a superb organizer and has coordinated several social events for Ronnie and Greg during their high school years,” Warren said.
In addition, Tara is extremely committed to technology. She has a new Tesla, which is a totally electric car, after having enjoyed a 2012 Volt, a hybrid. Her iPhone is her link to so much in her everyday life.
Warren is twice retired, first as a PGA Professional for 25 years and then 28 years from his company that buried and repaired underground telephone cable.
“I am finally fully retired, as of May 2021, which allowed me to enjoy Greg’s senior year and attend Ronnie’s military graduations as well as several of JP’s golf tournaments,” Warren said.
Tara is a native of Tattnall County. Her mother is Patty Kicklighter, who owns Always the Best Florist, located next to Baxter’s Paint and Body Shop in Glennville. Patty has been in the floral business for over 50 years, and she is well known for her creative arrangements.
Tara’s father is Bill Kicklighter, and he and his wife, Robbiette, live in Glennville, too. Bill has been a Tattnall County Commissioner of the Fifth District for 11 years, and is the county liaison for Public Safety (EMA, EMS, and Sheriff’s Office) and serves as Vice Chairman. He is also retired from the Georgia Department of Corrections. Robbiette is a real estate agent with Kicklighter Realty but is also retired from a banking career.
“They have all been wonderful grandparents to our sons, especially the last few years in following Ronnie and Greg in their athletic pursuits at PCA,” Tara said. “Our family would not be complete without our Molly, a seven-year-old chocolate lab and German short-hair mix. She was a rescue, and is a big part of our lives.”
Warren’s family is from Richmond, Virginia. His mother, the late June Griffin, was a contract services officer (civilian side) for 33 years, with the accomplishment as the highest ranking female as a civilian in the U.S. She died at age 63.
“I was essentially raised by both my mother and grandmother,” Warren said.
“My hobbies have been the children and their activities for so many years, and even though they consumed me, I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute,” Tara said.
Tara enjoys following UGA football and Braves baseball. She plays golf frequently, dabbles in photography, and likes to read.
“I like to grill, but I seldom bake, although I came from a family of talented cooks,” Tara said.
Although Warren and Tara recently sold their motor home, they have enjoyed attending the Masters in Augusta, going to the movies, spending time with the grandchildren, and supporting the boys in their many endeavors.
Tara and Warren are members of First Baptist Church of Glennville.
Behind their home off Hwy. 57, the Griffins have a nicely landscaped recreational area, complete with a pond and pool, another area of living quarters, and a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere.
“I’ve enjoyed arranging events, along with many activities for our sons as well as for friends, so maybe I missed my calling as an event planner,” Tara said.
Tara Griffin’s Recipes
TINA’S CHEWY BREAD
(Grandmother Esteen Kicklighter)
1 box light brown sugar
2 cups self-rising flour
1 stick butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Mix all the ingredients and pour into a greased 9”x13” glass dish. Bake for 30 minutes.
COPYCAT WENDY’S CHOCOLATE FROSTY
1/2 gallon chocolate milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 (8-oz.) container Cool Whip
Mix all the ingredients and place in an electric ice cream churn. Follow the normal directions for churning ice cream.
THE MASTER’S PIMENTO CHEESE
1/4 cup cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup diced pimentos
Mix all the ingredients and chill for an hour. Enjoy.