Scott Murphy Wins 2020 Shirley Award
Scott Murphy, director of the Department of Secondary Curriculum and Districtwide Programs since 2015, is the 2020 recipient of the Dr. Edward Shirley Award for Excellence in Educational Administration and Supervision.
This prestigious award, given by the Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals (MCAAP), is presented annually to an administrator or supervisor who exemplifies outstanding leadership and accomplishments in the areas of purposeful leadership, instructional or systemwide leadership, human resources development, resource management, interpersonal skills, professional involvement, and community and stakeholder involvement.
Murphy’s direct impact on tens of thousands of students, staff and community members spans across many roles in MCPS—as a teacher, middle school principal at William H. Farquhar, high school principal at Watkins Mill, and now as a director. An administrator for 21 years, he began his career in education as a special education teacher in Louisiana and joined MCPS in 1998.
He is known by his colleagues as a visionary leader who creates an environment where everyone feels valued. He believes that if you put people first, listen, ask the right questions and treat people right, things have a way of working out on behalf of students, schools and the community. He engages in shared leadership that starts with modeling—setting the tone with positivity, collaboration and ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard and valued. He is known as the ‘go-to-guy’ because of his experience and know-how for information and advice.
Colleagues share that Murphy demonstrates exemplary leadership at a systemwide level that is innovative, courageous and grounded in his commitment to students and equity. He is dedicated to fostering student achievement and empowering students and staff to succeed in a collaborative environment, while providing nurturing guidance along the way.
Murphy’s passion for teaching and leadership has influenced others to become teachers and leaders in education. Several of his former students who are now teachers shared that it was because of his inspirational leadership that they decided to become educators and model his leadership style. Staff describe him as a strong administrator who recognizes potential in others and gives them opportunities to grow in their careers and develop into leaders themselves.
Murphy strives for excellence in education which can be seen both within MCPS and with community partners. He builds partnerships with multiple stakeholders based on relationships he has cultivated over the years. The partnerships have created many opportunities for students and staff that would not have been made available without his leadership. A community partner describes him as “a visionary leader and problem solver who creates a collaborative environment with great results.” He is known as an out-of-the-box thinker and willing to take bold steps to meet the needs of students and schools in the most cost-efficient way.
Because of Murphy’s role as a district leader, the decisions he makes have far-reaching implications. Colleagues share that he continually advocates on behalf of students and staff and collaborates with stakeholders to implement change. He understands that real change comes through skillful guiding, not telling.
Murphy will be among the honorees at the annual Champions for Children celebration on Monday, April 27, at Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club. He will also be recognized by the MCAAP membership at the spring meeting in May.