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Keynote Speaker

Michael Murphy - Copy.JPG

Dr Michael Murphy

United States

About Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy is a national educational coach, facilitator, and consultant currently living in San Antonio, Texas. He draws from 41 years of educational experience in urban, suburban, and rural school district settings as he trains and works with teachers, teacher leaders, school leaders, and district leaders across North America. Much of Mike's work supports school and district leaders in planning and implementing large-scale improvement initiatives, visioning, understanding change and its effect on people, evaluating school improvement progress, designing exceptional professional development, and engaging people in productive, relationship-rich, results-based conversations. Since 2009, he has consulted with school leaders in the majority of U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, and he has presented in numerous state, national, and international symposia and conferences.


Mike's personal public school experiences include his work as teacher, elementary specialist, assistant principal, principal, director of planning and evaluation, special assistant to the superintendent, assistant superintendent, and acting superintendent, all in Texas. He holds a bachelor of fine arts degree and a master's degree in elementary education from Texas Tech University and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of North Texas. He has published numerous articles for national journals and is a contributing author or lead author for four educational books. Mike has been a long-time guest presenter at the University of Virginia's Summer Institute on Academic Diversity; has trained several thousand principals, assistant principals, and central office staff during his relationship with the Tennessee Academy for School Leaders; and is the former director of programs for the National Staff Development Council (now Learning Forward). His latest book is Leading for Differentiation: Growing Teachers Who Grow Kids, co-authored with Carol Ann Tomlinson (2015).


Growing a Culture of Belonging and Innovation: A View of Empathetic Leadership

As the world presses forward, schools are faced with the monumental challenge of not only increasing innovation but also deepening the quality and frequency of interactive communication and focus.  School leaders often feel as though they are being forced to make a decision between these two—increased achievement, innovation, and test scores on the one hand; and community, communication, benefit, and joy on the other.  The imperative of focusing steadily on the goals while remaining nimble to develop a community of committed teachers and learners is daunting at best.  During this session, Murphy will explore his own experiences and study as he reveals what he believes is an alternate pathway, one that would allow leaders to focus on both.  Learn a new view of this alternate pathway, empathetic leadership, which focuses on understanding both the students and teachers around us in order to make decisions based on what would serve them best.  Review five guiding principles which could position leaders to not only clarify their innovative visions but also build a community of committed teachers and staff who develop collective organizational citizenship, take risks, trust each other, and foster work interdependence.  Be reminded that school leadership really comes from all of us—as we coalesce our efforts and exercise what we can do best to achieve a powerful, joyful culture for continued innovation.

During this session, Murphy will share:

  • His definition of empathetic leadership;

  • The importance of trust in terms of its effect on community and student achievement;

  • How to communicate the vision to maintain the focus;

  • How to stay nimble to embrace the changes that innovations may take over time; and

  • Five guiding principles for school leaders as they meet the challenges of creativity, innovation and community.

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