Greenville’s Murphy aims to impact students as Hoover superintendent

Published 1:50 pm Tuesday, July 7, 2015

By Beth Hyatt
The Greenville Advocate

From a very young age, Dr. Kathy Murphy knew that she wanted to be involved in education. She had a passion for helping children succeed and be all that they could be; this passion grew into a career that has led her from Greenville, to Monroeville and now to Hoover.

Murphy has dedicated 31 years of her life to education.

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She began by earning her undergraduate degree in Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; at the time she wanted to pursue a career as a P.E. educator.

“What I thought is that I always wanted to teach physical education and coach. That didn’t last long. But I have stayed in education for 31 years. I have given my life, soul, time and energy to children and their education,” said Murphy.

Murphy then pursued a master’s degree in Physical Education, followed by a doctoral degree in Physical Education with an emphasis on Program Administration Curriculum Development. After obtaining these degrees, she returned to Auburn University in Montgomery and finished a master’s degree in Educational Leadership as well as earned an Educational Specialist degree.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about diplomas and certificates; it’s about children,” said Murphy.

Murphy taught at the collegiate level for eight years before shifting gears to work with a younger audience. Murphy served as the principal at Greenville Middle School for nine years then moved to Greenville High School; she stayed there for six years. She also served in the Central Office of the Butler County School System for two years.

Murphy has taken multiple lessons from her roles of superintendent and principal, but the most important one did not come until after becoming a mother.

“I think the thing that was best for me as an educator was to become a mother. Because in becoming a mother, I knew what I wanted for my child, I knew how important education was for her, I knew what I wanted for her in her own education but I also knew how I wanted her to be treated,” said Murphy.

She believes that it is important that students be treated with respect, even when mistakes have been made.

“Being a principal and a superintendent, I’ve had those occasions to deal with children who’ve just messed up. But I’ve always remembered how I wanted Connor treated, even on the days she was not at her best. I think that she has made me a better person, and certainly a better administrator,” said Murphy.

When Murphy first applied for the position in Hoover, it was done with the intent to gain more interview experience as well as get her name circulating in the area. She did not expect the call to come, but when it did she could not have been happier.

“Elation, excitement, a little disbelief, blessed. All kinds of emotions just rushed over me. You know, I used to go to work praying God bless me and bless me big. It sounds selfish but it actually is something God challenges us to do. I’m honored to be their superintendent,” said Murphy.

She has served as a superintendent for a total of five years and started her work in Hoover last month.

While the superintendent in Monroeville, Murphy made many beneficial changes to the system that helped develop an environment designed to enhance the education of the students. Her plans for Hoover are to take the foundation already laid and build upon it. “My challenge is to move that school district from good to great, and I believe we can do that. I don’t think Kathy Murphy can do that, but I believe we can do that. It will take all of us,” said Murphy.

“I have taught at the college level, but my passion and my heart are children. My heart is about education for all children.”

She stressed the importance of making sure all children are able to receive an education regardless of race, educational aptitude and financial situations.

“My heart really is about knowing that I can make decisions that impact the life of children and knowing that, hopefully, in my leadership, they can lead a better life because we got their education part right. At the end of the day, I can go to bed knowing that I didn’t get it all right but knowing that every day of my life has been a commitment to young people,” said Murphy.