How Superintendent Kathy Murphy stays energized

She even once completed the Boston Marathon as a 'bandit runner'
By: | January 3, 2020
Hoover City Schools Superintendent Kathy Murphy helps an elementary school student decide whether he wants to hold a crayfish during a science lesson.Hoover City Schools Superintendent Kathy Murphy helps an elementary school student decide whether he wants to hold a crayfish during a science lesson.

School district leaders are increasingly urged to make sure they set aside time to take care of their own social and emotional needs.

Kathy Murphy, superintendent of Hoover City Schools in Alabama, spends that ‘me time’ felling trees, clearing brush and repairing mechanical equipment on the 40-acre farm she owns about two hours south of her suburban Birmingham district.

“I absolutely love nature,” she says. “It’s the place to go for calmness and peace.”

Murphy once completed the Boston Marathon as a “bandit runner”—meaning she hadn’t entered the race with a qualifying time, so she had to start at the very back of the pack. Now, during the work week, she tries to get a run or walk in each afternoon.

“Considering the intensity in which we work and the multiple number of balls you may be juggling at any one point in time, just stepping away in the afternoon and refreshing is really important for keeping things in perspective,” she says.

Read the full Portrait of a Leader feature on Superintendent Kathy Murphy