“[My education] helped me to have a deeper understanding of the importance of teaching.”
Music Instructor Leads Nationally Recognized Ensemble, Supports Community
Roosevelt Griffin stands below a street sign bearing his name. It’s located just a few doors down from the house where he grew up in Harvey, Illinois. The sign was placed to acknowledge his excellence in teaching—and he’s proud that his mother gets to see the street sign every day.
Roosevelt is a district band director and elementary band director. He’s also an instructor for the Fernando Jones’ Blues Kids of America. The music ensemble of fifth graders that he instructs has been recognized nationally for excellence. “When I teach, my goal is to create an experience for my students with respect, love, and trust,” says Roosevelt. His passion for teaching drives him to become a positive influence in the children’s lives. And this guidance encourages them to practice for their biggest performance of the year—a concert in front of 2,000 people at the Tinley Park Convention Center.
His dedication has led to many awards, including being named the 2017 Jazz Educator of the Year but the Jazz Institute of Chicago, 2015 Most Outstanding Alumni by Northern Illinois University, and a 2017 Semi Finalist for the Grammy Award for Best Music Educator. “This Grammy acknowledgement placed me as 1 of 25 music educators nationwide. I received a monetary award, a grant for my school, and my name is placed in the Recording Academy and Grammy Museum,” he said.
Roosevelt is also dedicated to making a difference in his community. He was recently awarded the Illinois Education Association’s Reg Weaver Human and Civil Rights Award. This award recognizes outstanding contributions to the advancement of civil rights and humanitarian activities.
He’s the president and CEO of Griffin Institute of Performing Arts, an organization that he created in 2016 to provide music, theater, and dance education to help children ages 5-18 to achieve their potential. The school offers custom courses that are eight weeks in length—as well as private and group lessons, workshops, master classes, and student performances.
Roosevelt, who in 2015 earned a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership from Argosy University, Chicago, says that he chose Argosy University because its program would help to position him to create change within his community. “[My education] helped me to have a deeper understanding of the importance of teaching.”
Today, he’s focused on working with his students to “be great together.” Roosevelt describes himself as being passionate about change and focused on making the world a better place for children. “Music is about freedom, individuality, soul, and heart.” He can see the potential in his students. And he’s made it his goal to help them to see it themselves.
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