Beaufort High School's new principal has experience in the classroom and in a war zone.
Corey Murphy, the current principal at Great Falls High School in Great Falls, S.C., has been a science teacher and also a captain in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Members of the committee of teachers, parents, students and district staff who interviewed Murphy say he's exactly what the school needs.
"He has experience as a teacher and experience as a principal. He had just come back from a tour in Afghanistan," teacher Charley Holbrook said. "Plus the fact that he has experience dealing with a student population with a low socioeconomic background ... I think he will be the perfect fit for Beaufort High at this point."
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Murphy has been the principal at Great Falls High since 2007. He's been an assistant principal at Camden High School and began his teaching career in 1997.
He holds graduate degrees in educational leadership and supervision and in educational administration from the University of South Carolina, and he is completing a doctorate at USC.
Murphy was not available for comment Tuesday night.
Teachers and parents who interviewed Murphy said he stood out because of his leadership skills. Parents in Great Falls told Chris Butler, a parent on the interview committee, that Murphy works to get parents, students and faculty invested in the school.
"It's a buy-in, as opposed to a dictator walking in and saying, 'This is the way it will be,'" Butler said.
Cindy Graves, a member of the School Improvement Council, said Murphy's idea of a senior project, which he implemented at Great Falls High, appealed to her. Students complete the project over four years and participate in community service work. Graves said she hopes Murphy will implement a similar project at Beaufort High.
Teachers at Great Falls High gave Murphy rave reviews, social studies teacher Debbie Kidd said.
"The lady I spoke with, she said in 25 years of teaching, she felt like he was the best principal she had ever worked for," Kidd said.
Murphy will start June 18, taking over from interim principal Terry Bennett. He was chosen from a pool of 58 applicants, 16 of whom were interviewed, according to district spokesman Jim Foster.
Two other applicants had been offered the job. Ryan Player, assistant principal at White Knoll High School in Lexington County School District 1, instead accepted a principal position at his current school.
Scot Beckerman, principal of Wayne Hills High School in New Jersey, turned down the job because of a family-related matter, Foster said.
Murphy was part of a whole new round of applicants after Beckerman turned down the job.
Bennett was named interim principal in February after the resignation of Dan Durbin who admitted to changing grades for 33 students.
"It's time to move on," teacher Holbrook said. "The staff and students are anxious to do that, to take Beaufort High to the next chapter in a positive way. I think he'll put his own imprint on Beaufort High."