Superintendent earns a pay raise

Superintendent Tom Murphy has contributed to the growing success of the Federal Way School District and deserves a 3.7 percent pay increase, the school board voted last week after Murphy’s annual evaluation.

Murphy’s current salary after the raise is $162,221 — less than that of the superintendents of many neighboring school districts.

“He could walk tomorrow and get a heck of a lot more than we’re paying him,” said school board president Ed Barney.

In Puyallup, Superintendent Tony Apostle earns $214,447 annually. In Clover Park, interim Superintendent Al Cohen earns $176,580 annually.

“He has a few years left before he’s ready to retire. We’d like to keep him,” Barney said.

Barney cited the expansion of academically-challenging programs as one of the reasons for the raise.

During Murphy’s tenure, the district has seen growing enrollment in programs such as Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) at high schools and middle schools, the only West Coast site of the Cambridge Program at Federal Way High School, the Cambridge Checkpoint Program at Sacajawea and Lakota middle schools, and SpringBoard, a College Board Advanced Placement preparation program at the district’s middle schools and Decatur High School.

Murphy is also leading the district in implementing a new district-wide math curriculum, Algebraic Thinking. The goal of the new program is for all eighth-grade students to take algebra in preparation for more rigorous high school courses.

Under Murphy’s leadership, the district has continued to achieve Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) scores that are slightly above the state average and also worked to close the achievement gap between minority or poor students and the rest of the student populations.

Murphy’s contract runs through June 30, 2010.

“He works well with the board. He works well with the community,” Barney said. “He’s well-respected and he’s doing a good job.”

Contact Margo Horner: or (253) 925-5565.

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