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Roy L. Williams
Hoover City Schools Institute
Superintendent Kathy Murphy speaks to Hoover school employees as part of the Hoover City Schools Institute to prepare for the new school year.
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Roy L. Williams
Hoover City Schools Institute
Hoover City Schools employees packed Hunter Street Baptist Church to hear a speech from the superintendent before the new school year.
In a motivational speech, Hoover City Schools Superintendent Kathy Murphy addressed more than 1,800 school employees gathered at Hunter Street Baptist Church today, Monday, Aug. 10.
In a 40-minute address at an event called Hoover City Schools Institute, Murphy encouraged staff to place “passion for our students” above everything else they do. She said every employee, from principals and teachers to janitors and administrative staff, play an important role in giving students the best education possible.
“Custodians, you clean our buildings up well. Cafeteria folks, you make that good food. Building staff, maintenance staff, bus drivers, whatever your role, it’s important to us. I believe we should do every job with excellence," Murphy said.
As the Hoover School System prepares to kick off the 2015-16 school year on Thursday, Aug. 13, Murphy challenged teachers and principals in the 17 city schools to make providing students the best education possible a top priority.
While Hoover city schools already has a reputation as a provider of top-quality education, Murphy challenged the system to go "from good to great."
“It’s one student at a time, one problem at a time, one day at a time. Together we can accomplish this,” she said. “I want us to go from good to great. I want to celebrate with you as we move in that direction. Let’s not talk about what can’t be done; let’s just get it done.”
Murphy said as superintendent she can’t see everyone, but has an open door policy and wants to hear from employees.
“I’m here, I’m available. I will be visible and accessible to you,” she said.
In her presentation, Murphy laid out some of her vision for taking Hoover public schools to the next level. She said school personnel should not be afraid to try new approaches.
“i believe we should not work harder at what does not work,” she said.
The Hoover superintendent also challenged students to use fear as a motivation to become better. One slide on the screen said, “I believe we should have courage, that courage is not the absence of fear.”
As the image was on the screen, Murphy said she came from leading a school system – Monroe County Schools in Monroeville – that has about as many total students as Hoover High School alone. At 14,000 students, the Hoover school system is about five times bigger than Monroe County system.
“That took a lot of courage for me,” Murphy said. “I realize what a privilege it is to lead this school system. I want the Hoover school district to be eagles, but what good is it if we don’t soar?”
She closed with encouraging words to teachers, principals and other employees as the district looks forward to the 2015-16 school year:
“You will be more productive, you will be responsible, and you will be happy. I subscribe that this is the anthem for the school district," Murphy said.
The superintendent then played Pharrell Williams’ Academy-Award winning song, “Happy,” and walked off stage clapping and greeting employees.
In an interview after her speech, Murphy said her objective was to share the passion that she has for students every day. She added she can feel the excitement growing as Hoover City Schools prepares to kick off the 2015-15 school year Thursday morning.
“It was pretty cool to see such a positive reaction from our employees,” she said. “People wanted to come have a good time and get excited about the school year. I think we accomplished that.”
Jill Ganus Veitch, who joined the Hoover Board of Education in June, said she was inspired by Murphy’s enthusiasm for educating Hoover students.
“I think she has a bright career as a motivational speaker,” Veitch said. “We are very privileged and fortunate to have Dr. Murphy as superintendent. It is very obvious to the teachers and staff who walked up to her after her speech today. The teachers, parents and children will see the positive change in leadership.”
Hoover City Councilman John Lyda said Murphy’s speech reinforced that the Hoover Board of Education made the right choice in choosing her as superintendent.
“She brings a new level of excitement and renewed energy,” Lyda said. “The district will benefit from her message today that will we be near the top or at the top in the level of education our students receive. We are ready for a great school year and ready to be at the top.”
Tamala Maddox, principal of R.H. Bumpus Middle School, said Murphy made her and other personnel feel even better about the upcoming school year.
“She’s fired up and we’re fired up,” Maddox said. “That makes all of the difference. It starts with the leadership and trickles down to the teachers in the classroom and on down to the students. I’m looking forward to this year. Her enthusiasm will certainly trickle down to every staff member in Hoover City Schools.”