Murray selected as Jackson schools superintendent

The Jackson County Board of Education is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Michael L. Murray as the new Superintendent of Jackson County Schools.  The Board voted unanimously to offer the position to Dr. Murray who will begin work on July 1, 2011.  Dr. Murray will be succeeding retiring Superintendent Sue Nations.

The Board is confident that Dr. Murray will work well with the existing staff and administrative structure in Jackson County Schools.  “Dr. Murray’s leadership will be a valuable asset to our already exceptional staff,” says Ali Laird-Large, Vice Chair of the Board.  “I have confidence that he will continue our strong tradition of quality education in Jackson County.”

Dr. Murray is currently the Associate Superintendent of Operations for McDowell County Schools, where he has also served as Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction.  Prior to joining McDowell County Schools, Dr. Murray was a high school teacher for four years and a school administrator for sixteen years in Buncombe County.

As the Associate Superintendent of Operations for McDowell County Schools, Dr. Murray provides oversight for the day-to-day operations of the school district.  The Board of Education was excited to see his experience in the development of programs to reduce the dropout rate, since this has also been a major initiative in Jackson County.  Dr. Murray’s involvement with the implementation of a district wide reading program also compliments the work already in place in Jackson County Schools which focuses on a balanced literacy program.  Dr. Murray, as Associate Superintendent of McDowell County Schools, has demonstrated a strong commitment to establishing community relationships and looks forward to continuing the Jackson County School partnerships, particularly with Southwestern Community College and Western Carolina University.  His unique experiences and proven leadership skills will be valuable in his new position as Superintendent of Jackson County Schools.

The Board voted to grant Dr. Murray a four-year contract which includes $115,560 from state funds (includes advanced degree with doctorate) and $4,440 from local funds for a total of $120,000.   

The son of a Madison County minister, Dr. Murray is originally from Western North Carolina and graduated from North Buncombe High School.  He completed an undergraduate degree from Mars Hill College and then obtained a Master of Arts in Education degree in 1988, the Education Specialist degree in 2005, and completed his Doctorate in Education in 2008, all from Western Carolina University.  Dr. Murray’s wife, Carmen, is a school administrator and together they have seven children ranging in age from eleven to twenty-five.

The Board of Education performed an extensive search to find a superintendent with a strong educational background, an understanding of the operational aspect of a school system, and a proven record of leadership to continue to guide Jackson County Schools in their pursuit of academic excellence and commitment to students.  “The Board agreed unanimously,” said Board Chair, Ken Henke, “that Dr. Murray is the right person for the job.”

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