Newly-hired CHHS principal Murphy makes second tour in Troy education

Published 9:59 pm Friday, June 25, 2010

More than 30 years ago, Kathy Murphy came to Troy, a high school graduate from the town of Greenville, eager to continue her education at the college level.

Today she is preparing to once again leave the Butler County School System for Troy, this time as a leader in education.

Murphy first came to Troy in 1977. She returns five academic degrees later with more than 25 years experience in education, to take over as the principal of Charles Henderson High School.

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“I’m excited to come on board and work with Dr. Felton and be a part of her leadership team,” Murphy said.

And that team is made up of players that Murphy has stood alongside before.

Players like incoming Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent, Chresal Threadgill.

“I recruited him as a physical education teacher,” Murphy said.

That was during her nine-year tenure as principal at Greenville Middle School (GMS).

“It didn’t take long in observing Mr. Threadgill to know what a catch we had,” she said.

“He was a great young man with great leadership abilities.”

Murphy promptly promoted Threadgill to work with her as an assistant principal, before he was recruited by the Troy City School System shortly thereafter.

Outgoing CHHS Principal David Helms, who will work in the same capacity as Threadgill in the TCS central office, has also crossed paths with Murphy.

Murphy said they were college classmates at then Troy State University’s Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance program.

After undergraduate studies the two went their separate ways, Murphy to AUM where she obtained a Master’s in physical education. She followed up with a doctorate from Auburn with emphasis on program administration and curriculum development. Later she would return to AUM for a second Master’s in educational leadership and an education specialist degree.

Murphy’s professional experience is as extensive as her education.

She taught in Auburn City Schools before moving to Judson College in Marion, Ala., where she was the Chair of the Physical Education Department, the Athletic Director, a coach of tennis and basketball, as well a teacher. She remained in higher education for five more years at West Georgia College. She returned home to Greenville racking up nine years as the GMS principal and another six years as the head administrator at Greenville High School. She remained in Butler County serving in their central office the last two years.

Now she returns to the school halls, this time a Trojan.

“I have truly missed the principalship,” she said.

“I think the unique part of the principalship is the hands on: the opportunity to work with students.”

Murphy will rely on at least some of her background in athletics and fitness when she leads the way on the campus of CHHS.

“I have a real commitment to my own fitness, and I’m all about leading by example,” she said.

And that’s quite an example to follow.

In 1985 Murphy qualified for and completed the Boston Marathon. She also spent time in the sport of Olympic weight lifting, where she peaked ranking in the top 10 nationally.

CHHS stakeholders hope the tenacity Murphy has displayed physically will be rivaled by her passion as their administrator.

Murphy comes to Troy with the valedictorian of GHS, her daughter, although the two have agreed that after 17 years under the same roof, it’s time for separate living arrangements.

The “drop-dead gorgeous,” Katlyn “Connor” Murphy-White starts at Troy University this fall as a music industry and theatre major.

“Connor is a great kid, I’m truly blessed to have her,” Murphy said of her only child.

Those blessings have helped Murphy along throughout her career as well.

“I think being a parent has made me a better principal and much more reflective in how I interact in conversations with young people,” she said.

Murphy is a Rotarian and a member of Kiwanis. She will be leaving the congregation of Southside Baptist Church in Greenville.

“I look forward to connecting with my church family in Troy,” she said.

Active in the church and a former member of the American Cancer Society board, Murphy will likely become known in the community outside the school system.

“I certainly value and appreciate how important it is to get involved,” she said.

Murphy said she’s looking forward to her first opportunity to do so, at the principals’ meet and greet at Troy Elementary School, 3 p.m. on July 1.

Troy City Schools Superintendent Linda Felton-Smith and Murphy both encouraged everybody to come to the event.