Update, May 19: Of all the jobs in Hall County school administration, Mitch Murphy sought the principal position at The Foundry above all others. Murphy, currently an assistant principal at Cherokee Bluff Middle and High Schools, was recommended for the role at the helm of Hall County’s alternative learning center on Friday, and said he is excited to get to work as soon as possible.
“It’s a good example of a school where people who are there are there because they really want to be,” he said. “And I value that.”
The Foundry, which shares a campus with Lanier College & Career Academy, is an alternative option for students struggling in more conventional learning environments. The school’s mission states an emphasis on character development, but also mentions the importance of teaching kids skills that will help them succeed in the workforce.
Murphy said many students at The Foundry will eventually return to their original schools, but he plans to focus on making sure everyone enrolled there is ready for the next phase of life, even if it doesn’t include future academic pursuit.
“(The Foundry) has made great strides toward getting kids ready to return to their home schools or being successful in whatever their next venture is,” Murphy said. “And that’s really my main goal, is I want to take that ball and run with it as far as I can.”
Murphy said he’s going to spend the next couple of months familiarizing himself with faculty at The Foundry and at LCCA. He said it would be impossible to come up with a plan for the future of the school without the backing of all its teachers and administrators.
But no matter where the school goes next, Murphy said the basis of his administrative plan is always going to be rooted in forming relationships.
“You have to build relationships with kids and you absolutely let them know that you care about them and their success,” he said. “That should be paramount at every school, but absolutely at the Foundry.”
Original story: Mitch Murphy, an assistant principal of Cherokee Bluff Middle and High Schools, will be recommended as the new principal for The Foundry, Hall County Schools’ alternative learning center, for the 2020-2021 school year. Murphy will also be recommended as the associate principal at Lanier College and Career Academy.
Hall County Schools Superintendent Will Schofield announced Friday, May 15, that Murphy was his choice for the position. The Hall County Board of Education will vote on the appointment at a future meeting.
Murphy has worked for Hall County Schools for 24 years. He began in 1996 at Lyman Hall Elementary School, teaching physical education and serving as a coach at Johnson and Flowery Branch High Schools. In 2008, he transitioned into school leadership, serving as an assistant principal at what was then called Lanier Charter Career Academy. In 2012, Murphy became an assistant principal at the Academies of Discovery at South Hall, and after one year transferred to East Hall Middle School, where he was an assistant principal for 6 years. He has been an assistant principal for Cherokee Bluff Middle and High Schools for the 2019-20 school year.
“Mitch Murphy has a heart for service,” Schofield said in a statement. “He understands that building relationships is the foundation for all that we do — in meeting the needs of our students and in supporting those who work with them. His style of leadership fits well with the culture of Lanier College and Career Academy.”
Murphy has three degrees from the University of Georgia: a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, a master’s degree in health and physical education, and an educational specialist degree in leadership. His wife Beth is a teacher at Cherokee Bluff High School. They have three children, all students in Hall County Schools.
“I feel fortunate to join such an amazing group of students and staff,” Murphy said in a statement. “The team at Lanier College and Career Academy is doing so many great things for students. I can’t wait to get started and keep the momentum going.”