New principal picked for Beaufort High after controversial departure of Dan Durbin

Corey Murphy

Corey Murphy, a high school principal in Chester County and a U.S. Army Reserve captain who recently returned home from a 15-month deployment to Afghanistan, will take over as the new principal of Beaufort High School on June 18.

The Board of Education unanimously approved his selection at a special meeting on Tuesday night.

Murphy comes on after the controversial February departure of now-former principal Dan Durbin who was involved with inappropriate grade changes in an apparent attempt to motivate students.

In Murphy's five years as principal of Great Falls High, the school's on-time graduation rate improved from 74 percent to 83 percent. Great Falls High serves about 500 students in grades 6-12.

"Everyone who has spoken with Mr. Murphy has come away very impressed," said Superintendent Valerie Truesdale. "He sets high standards not only for students' academic performance, but also for their personal behavior and decorum."

"I'm tremendously excited to have the opportunity to lead such a fine school," Murphy said. "My family and I are looking forward to becoming part of a great community of students, parents, educators and school supporters."

Below are more details about Murphy from a release:

Before becoming principal at Great Falls High five years ago, Murphy was an assistant principal for four years at Camden High School in Kershaw County. Prior to that, he taught high school biology and chemistry classes at Eau Claire High in Columbia and at the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice.

In the U.S. Army Reserve, Murphy serves as the battalion logistics officer for a unit that trains Army drill sergeants. Prior to joining the Army Reserve, he was a military police officer in the South Carolina Air National Guard.

Murphy graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in biology. He earned a master's degree in Education Leadership from USC and is currently working toward a Ph.D. from USC.

Murphy's hiring was recommended through a two-part process. After all applications for the Beaufort High principal's position were screened to make certain that the candidates met the basic qualifications, a screening team reviewed the applications in depth and recommended candidates for personal interviews. The screening team included a district principal of a similar-sized school, a principal from a school in the same attendance area and the current support staff person of the year at Beaufort High.

Next, an interview team met with the recommended candidates. That team comprised nine members: two parent leaders selected by the School Improvement Council; the current and immediate past school teachers of the year; two student government leaders; Sean Alford, the district's chief instructional officer; Cynthia Hayes, the district's Student Services Officer; and Superintendent Valerie Truesdale.

After the interviews were completed, the team developed a consensus on the best match for Beaufort High's priorities and needs. Once that person was determined, the candidate's personal references were checked by teachers, parents and students. Teachers interviewed teachers at the candidate's current school, parents interviewed parent leaders and students interviewed students. Then, based on the interview team's selection, Superintendent Truesdale made her recommendation to the Board of Education. 

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