WOODBURY — New Region 14 Superintendent Brian Murphy only began his first day on the job Aug. 25, but he said things are well in hand as he prepares for Thursday’s first day of school.
“The district was left to me in great working order. Things are looking very good to start the school year,” Murphy said Tuesday. “I’m excited. It’s an honor and a privilege be able to lead this district, and to help continue its tradition of excellence.”
Murphy takes over a 1,600-student district serving Bethlehem and Woodbury.
A Woodbury resident himself, he previously served as superintendent of New Hartford schools. The Waterbury native started his career in 1995 as a social studies teacher at Sacred Heart High School, then became a social studies department chair and athletic director at Crosby High School, where he eventually became a vice principal. He also served as vice principal at Waterbury Arts Magnet School. In 2006, he began a nine-year stint as principal at Great Oak Middle School in Oxford before spending the past six years in New Hartford.
Murphy addressed Region 14 staff members at a convocation Tuesday morning, stating his top goal for year one is to build relationships and trust with everyone. Though he is new, Murphy said he brings “institutional knowledge” of the community through being a resident of the district and having existing relationships with several current staff members, including a handful he once had as students years ago.
“I’m invested in the community. I have lived here for 15 years and came here initially, in part, because of the fine schools,” he said.
Murphy’s daughter, Gwen, is a sixth-grader at Woodbury Middle School.
Murphy was appointed in June following a lengthy search process by a board of education whose members said they were scarred following the suspension and ultimate firing of the previous superintendent, Joseph Olzacki.
Since then, the district had been run by its longtime director of finance turned acting superintendent, Wayne McAllister, who Murphy credited with leading Region 14 during a difficult transition.
School board members said Murphy comes “highly regarded.” His colleagues described him as a “great mentor and coach,” who leads with integrity and honesty, makes people feel like family and keeps the needs of students at the forefront.