This summer, Highland High School (HHS) welcomed a new assistant principal: Kevin Murphy. He is replacing Ryan Judge, who accepted a position as the principal of Highland Middle School.
Murphy, a Poughkeepsie resident, brings more than 20 years of experience to his new role. He previously served as an assistant principal of both Poughkeepsie Middle School and Dover High School. He began his career in education as an Elementary School teacher, before becoming a music teacher, as well as a band and choral director, in several New York City and Highland Falls schools. He has taught every grade level, K-12.
Murphy, who assumed his new position on July 8, said he was drawn to Highland’s reputation for being a community-based school. “There is clearly a strong partnership that exists between the school and its families, as well as between the District and the community as a whole, which was very appealing to me,” he said.
With that level of support, Murphy is confident that Highland can move forward to successfully meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The current health crisis has changed our approach when it comes to educating our children,” he said. “Our job is going to be to restore a sense of normalcy and re-acclimate students and their families to school this September, whether it be via in-person or remote learning.”
Murphy said that assisting students, faculty, and staff with their needs this fall will be a top priority. “We as an administrative team will be looking at ways we can effectively guide our students, staff, and parents through this challenging time,” he said.
Murphy said his diverse background in music, the arts, and athletics provides him with a clear perspective when it comes to helping students prepare for life after high school. He is a Hunter College graduate, and also served in the United States Marine Corps.
“I would say I am a firm disciplinarian, yet fair,” he said. “I take discipline very seriously and believe in creating a safe environment for students and staff. At the same time, as a parent, I have empathy and understanding as to what students’ and families’ needs are and how they may differ.”
Murphy said he has already had the chance to meet some Highland families and is happy to have come on board in time to help celebrate seniors at their summer commencement ceremony.
“From the beginning, everyone I met or spoke to has greeted me with open arms and has told me what a wonderful school and community Highland is,” he said. “I already feel like part of a family. I feel like I’m home.”