Lincoln County High School Principal Garth Garris has been selected as the District 4 Principal of the Year as part of 2017-18 A.F. Bridges Awards.
Given by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association, the A.F. Bridges Awards are given annually in recognition of the ideals of ethics and integrity in the teaching and promotion of citizenship and sportsmanship.
Garris is starting his 27th year in education. A 1986 graduate of Elkmont High School, he earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Athens State College and his master’s in education administration from the University of North Alabama.
He began his teaching and coaching career at East Limestone High School where he served as head boys’ basketball coach for 12 years, head softball coach for four years, head golf coach for two years and head baseball coach for one year. He also served as an assistant football coach for five years.
In basketball his teams won six Limestone County Championships, six Area Championships and appeared in the State Tournament four times, including two Final Fours. East Limestone made the Elite Eight in five of the 12 seasons and won over 200 games in 12 years. His softball team also was the Class A-3A State fast pitch softball runner-up in 1997.
In 2003, he became assistant principal at Monrovia Elementary School in Madison County and worked in that position for three years. In 2006, he was named assistant principal and athletic director at Hazel Green High School and served in this position for two years.
In 2008 he was named the principal at Madison County High School and held the position for two years.
In 2010, he was named the head boys’ basketball coach at his alma mater, Elkmont High School. He coached the team for three years which included one Elite Eight Appearance and one Area Championship. He also assisted with football and baseball for three years.
In 2013, Garris was named the new principal at Elkmont High School and served in the position for two and a half years. In December of 2015, he retired from the state of Alabama and became the principal at Highland Rim School in February 2016. He was named principal of Lincoln County High School in the summer of 2017.
He and his wife, Allison, have one son, Brady, who is attending the University of Alabama.
The A.F. Bridges Awards are named for Lincoln Countian A. Foster Bridges, who graduated from old Central High School here in 1922. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Peabody College in Nashville and began his work as a teacher and coach at Peabody High School in Trenton.
Bridges went on to serve as a superintendent of schools in Covington and was named the first full-time executive secretary of TSSAA. Bridges brought national recognition to Tennessee in high school athletics and, particularly, in the field of girls’ athletics and in establishing one of the most respected training programs for officials in the nation.