Murphy to co-chair leadership committee

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 1, 2005

The phones are ringing, the students are changing classes and a small line has formed outside the principal’s office waiting to get in to see Kathy Murphy. And so goes the day of the principal of Greenville High School.

Just as she is in the Butler County School system, Kathy Murphy is in high demand these days, the byproduct of being good at what you do.

Her latest task on her to-do list is to play a key role in helping determine how tomorrow’s school leaders will be selected and developed to meet the needs of an ever changing public education system in Alabama.

Murphy, herself a product of the Butler County School system, was asked to co-chair a committee on the Governor’s Congress on School Leadership. The aim of the organization, which was formed in late Nov., is to focus on improving the quality of future educational leaders in Alabama’s public school systems.

&uot;Dr. Murphy was chosen because she has a proven track record,&uot; said Dr. John Bell, director of the Alabama Leadership Academy, which works with school systems throughout the state on professional development of its principals.

&uot;She is well thought of in the state. Every time something like this comes up she is on the list. She is very well thought of.&uot;

Murphy, who will co-chair the committee with Phillip Hammonds, superintendent of the Jefferson County school system, said she was surprised when she was asked to help lead one of the five committees, which are made up of public education professionals, legislators and business leaders.

&uot;I was quite surprised and honored to be a part of this,&uot; she said. &uot;I’ve already learned so much and for me to be surrounded by some of the leading thinkers in education has been a real professional development opportunity. To hear their perspectives on this and to sit with legislators and hear the political side of it has been rewarding.&uot;

In calling the committees together, Gov. Bob Riley is making a heavy investment in the future of Alabama’s educational leaders.

&uot;Strong school leaders can make a huge difference in the quality of education our children receive and can drive improvements in student achievement,&uot; said Riley in a press release. &uot;We owe it to our children to ensure Alabama has the most capable and best prepared school principals, superintendents and teacher leaders.&uot;

In addition to the committee Murphy will be helping chair, which is on selection and preparation of school leaders, there are also committees on standards for preparing and developing principals as instructional leaders, certification of school leaders, professional development to support instructional leadership and incentives and working conditions to attract and retain quality principals in every school.

&uot;You can have the best trained people in the world but if they get in the job and it’s undoable, we’ve got to fix it,&uot; Bell said. &uot;They also need to continue to learn to do the job while they’re on the job, especially with the No Child Left Behind legislation and all the requirements coming out of Washington.&uot;

Murphy said what the committees hope to present the Gov. and state board of education in April will be a revolutionary way of choosing and training school leaders in Alabama.

&uot;What I anticipate is that there will be a new day in Alabama for educational leadership,&uot; she said. &uot;We’re looking at best practices and looking at what other states are doing to see what school leadership should be in our schools.&uot;