John Murphy didn't have far to go to get to North Augusta High School about 12 hours after the Aiken County Board of Education appointed him as the new principal on Wednesday.


He spent the last four years as the Paul Knox Middle School principal, about a mile away from the high school. Murphy previously served as an assistant principal at the high school from 2007 to 2009. He thanked the School Board and Superintendent Dr. Beth Everitt for the opportunity.


At Strom Thurmond High, Murphy played four sports and was involved with the Beta Club and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He went on to Clemson University and earned a B.S. degree in chemistry. Murphy loved the idea of being a football coach, but spent the next two years working in the textile industry.


Murphy didn't have an education degree, but obtained alternative certification through a program that is now called Program Certification of Educations.


“The great thing about it,” he said, “is that you can go into the workforce and then discover what your passion is about. ... the teaching experience is certainly exciting.”


Murphy went on to spend four years at Aiken High, teaching chemistry. He received a master's degree in education leadership and spent a year as an assistant principal at Ridge Spring-Monetta Elementary/High School before his move in the same role at North Augusta High.


After arriving at Paul Knox, Murphy's perspective changed, just as he expected – seeing more of the overall aspects of the school, students, district office and the business community.


“I was blessed to work with so many people with so much compassion, doing the best they can for these students,” Murphy said.


He is looking forward to his return at North Augusta and to the many educators he knows there.


“It's great to reunite with these folks,” Murphy said. “I'm very lucky.”