Dr. Kathy L. Murphy
Dr. Kathy Murphy, the new head of Hoover City Schools, found out that she had been offered the job as she was driving back home to Monroeville from an interview as finalist for the Dothan City Schools’ superintendent’s job.
“We were driving back from Dothan and I told my daughter the Hoover School Board was meeting about the superintendent position,” Murphy recalled during an interview today, May 1. “She pulled it up on the phone just as Board President Donna Frazier was talking about calling Dr. Murphy to see if she would accept the job. Obviously I was beyond excited.”
A few minutes later, Murphy, currently superintendent of Monroe County (Ala.) schools, took a phone call from Frazier and immediately accepted the Hoover Board of Education’s offer to become Hoover’s new superintendent at a base salary of $195,000.
Murphy, who starts her new position in Hoover on June 1, was selected over two other finalists who had interviewed last week: Dr. Charles Ledbetter, superintendent of Dublin (Ga.) City Schools and Dr. Chris Marczak, assistant superintendent of Oak Ridge (Tenn.) City Schools.
A fourth finalist, Dr. Vic Wilson, superintendent of Hartselle City Schools, withdrew his candidacy just minutes before the April 30 school board meeting. Wilson, with strong area ties as a 16-year Bluff Park resident who previously was principal at Mountain Brook High and Homewood High, had been widely considered the favorite early on after last week’s interview.
But when Murphy had her interview with the board on April 27, she immediately established herself as a viable contender, impressing the board in describing herself as “a workaholic” passionate about educating children.
Murphy said today she is grateful to the Hoover school board for selecting her out of three other talented finalists. “I can’t wait to get on the bus with so many talented teachers and administrators who have helped build Hoover into such a great school system,” she said. “I have such a passion for children and look forward to helping educate them.”
Murphy said she looks forward to making her first official public comments before Hoover city residents at Saturday’s “Celebrate Hoover Day” at Veterans Park. She is to be introduced at 9:45 a.m. by Hoover Mayor Gary Ivey.
“When I was invited by Derrick Murphy on behalf of the Hoover Board of Education, I was glad to rearrange my Saturday schedule to be there,” Murphy said. “I may take advantage of this opportunity to drive around looking for temporary housing since June 1 (her starting day) is not that far away.”
It will be a quick transition for Murphy as the Monroe County school year ends May 28 and she starts in Hoover a few days later. She originally thought her first day would be July 1, but added interim superintendent Dr. Jim Reese will be a valuable resource helping her learn more about the Hoover school system.
“I will literally be a sponge soaking in as much knowledge from Dr. Reese as I can,” Murphy said.
Murphy said it was tough to inform her Monroe County school board of her decision to leave for Hoover, but they are understanding that “this is an incredible opportunity I couldn’t afford to pass up.”
“The board has been so supportive of me in this process,” she said. “I will be meeting today with members of the Monroe County school board, teachers and principals. This is a great system; I’ve enjoyed my time here.”
As she prepares to hand out diplomas in late May to graduates in Monroe County, Murphy said she will meet with school system leaders to prepare a smooth transition. “I’m committed to helping them put together a contingency plan,” she said.
Meanwhile, Murphy said she expects to take a couple personal days off so that she can visit some Hoover city schools, talk to principals, teachers and meet students before the school year ends.
“You get a much better feel for what the schools are like by being there while school is still in session vs. during the summer months when most of the teachers and students are gone,” Murphy said. “I’m looking forward to great things in Hoover city schools.”
You can watch Murphy’’s full interview at the following link:
An archived link to the other finalists’ interviews is on the Hoover City Schools website, hoovercityschools.net/.
Here is background on Hoover’s new superintendent
Dr. Kathy L. Murphy
Current position: Superintendent, Monroe County Board of Education, Monroeville, Ala. until end of May, when she takes over Hoover City Schools.
· Doctorate, Auburn University, Physical Education, Program Administration
· Education Specialist, Auburn University Montgomery, Education Leadership
· Master's, Auburn University Montgomery, Educational Leadership
· Bachelor's, Troy University, Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance
Years in education: 1984-present
About the new superintendent: Murphy had the most experience (31 years) of the four finalists, beginning her career as a physical education teacher at Auburn Junior High School in 1984. Other than a five-year stint as an assistant professor at West Georgia College from 1988 to 1993, she has spent her entire professional career in Alabama.
Murphy became superintendent of Monroe County schools, which has 3,650 students, in 2011. The school system is based in Monroeville, the southwest Alabama town that is home of Harper Lee, the author known for her bestseller, “To Kill A Mockingbird.” She was appointed to her superintendent’s position after serving as principal of Charles Henderson High School in the Troy city school system in 2010.
From 1993 through 2010, Murphy served in several administrative leadership roles for the Butler County Board of Education, from principal of Greenville Middle and Greenville High schools to three years from 2008 to 2010 as administrative assistant to the superintendent of Butler County schools.