News

School superintendent gets board's approval and raise

By MIKE HALLIDAY

The Mirror

Tom Murphy, superintendent of Federal Way Public Schools, received a favorable review from the School Board on Monday.

Murphy, superintendent since 1999, also accepted a 3 percent pay increase, according to Charles Hoff, the board president.

Murphy declined a salary increase last year despite a good review from the board. He is currently paid $147,000 a year.

“He works very hard at this job,” Hoff said Thursday, adding that all of the board members appreciate Murphy’s efforts.

Sometimes Murphy has to work with some difficult people, including the board members, and he often finds innovative solutions to problems, Hoff said.

He noted students’ higher scores on standardized tests as one sign of Murphy’s success.

A Federal Way school district employee since 1987, Murphy said Thursday he has no plans to leave a community he believes is “going to grow and develop” and a district with what he considers the best staff in the state.

His goal, he said, remains the same: That all students be at or above standard for state education requirements.

“That’s the focus for quite some time,” Murphy said. It’s “etched in granite,” he added.

Reading scores for students in the district –– especially in the fourth grade –– have gone up in recent years. Districtwide, almost 80 percent of fourth-grade students read at or above the state’s standard. A few elementary schools have 90 percent or higher meeting or exceeding the state standard.

Math is going to become another focus, Murphy said. Like many other districts in the state, Federal Way has seen its test results in math climb less dramatically over the years.

Reading will not be neglected as the district spends more time working on math, Murphy said.

Staff writer Mike Halliday: 925-5565, mhalliday@fedwaymirror.com

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