Lisa Graff was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the age of six she and her family moved to Florida where she attended school from first grade all the way up until her college years. She now currently resides in Michigan where she works as the Assistant Principal at Abbott Middle School in Keego Harbor, Michigan.
Graff went to the University of Florida and the University of South Florida for both of her graduate degrees. While in college, Graff studied elementary education along with community and mental health counselor.
To all, she owes as to why she wanted to become a school counselor in the first place. It wasn’t until she started working in the West Bloomfield School Districts that she found a new love for administration as well, to which she also went to Eastern Michigan University to pursue.
We sat down with Lisa to discuss her trials and tribulations, mantras, strong points, and what it means to be a “Smart Girl” to her.
What has life taught you?
I think that people and relationships are the most important things. And you can’t put a price on time with people. I would say that would be one of my most recent life lessons. I mean, we can buy stuff and you could make a lot of money but yeah – people. People and relationships… and time with them. Time with people…
What would your advice be to young girls that might be struggling right now, whether it be financially, academically or even both?
So, I think about my girls here… I constantly am saying, be intentional. Be intentional with your words, with your relationships, your friends. Be intentional, don’t just let things happen. Go out and get them. Be intentional.
What would your advice be for girls looking forward to the future? This can go for girls all over the spectrum, including the women graduating from a university soon.
There are all these people who want to see you succeed… take advantage of them. Just because you ask someone a question or for help doesn’t make you weak. Ask. Ask for help. Tell someone you’re interested. People around you will make it happen. Especially in a school district like this, all we want is for kids to be happy, healthy, and successful. Just reach out, it doesn’t make you weak because you have to reach out to people.
What do you do to overcome life’s obstacles?
Resiliency is a big deal. I know sometimes it’s hard to get out of bed and just get going. So just, one step at a time. And I think we don’t have to work on the peak of the mountain. We just got to start working up. So, take things in small chunks as opposed to these large things, I think that’s something that is not necessarily the end game, it’s the process… it’s the path. Just focus on the journey.
What makes a ‘Smart Girl’ to you?
Gosh… so someone that takes advantage of opportunities and just keeps every door and window open. That’s the biggest thing. Try not to close any opportunities because life is what you make it.
Birthday: May 28th
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Fun Facts: Has a son. Worked in Washington, DC on the first Clinton campaign, Very into politics.
Occupation: Assistant Principal at Abbott Middle School
Be sure to read about our other Smart Girls in the Smart Girl Power Spotlight.