Avon Old Farms School began hiring "progressive teachers who trained a student to 'seek knowledge and establish facts for himself'" in 1927 – a tradition that remains strong today.
SANDRA KATZ (2003)
M.B.A., Harvard University
ABOUT MR. MURPHY
I grew up in Wellesley, MA outside of Boston before moving in middle school to Wilmington, Delaware. Wanting to get back up to New England a few years later to push myself further academically and athletically, I was fortunate to go to St. Paul's School in New Hampshire. I had many strong mentors there in teachers, dorm faculty, and coaches who challenged, supported, and shaped me in a key period of my young life where things didn't always come easily. I went on to Trinity College where I was able to experience leadership as a captain of both the Men's Soccer and Men's Hockey teams while studying international political economy and interning at the headquarters of Mobil Corporation. After college, I played a year of professional hockey in Germany and lived with a local family in Bavaria. A few years after returning from overseas, I got married to my wife, Ali, and went to Harvard Business School (one week after our honeymoon). We went on to have four children who have kept us on our toes ever since. I worked in management consulting and investment banking for 20 years before transitioning in 2012 to my long held goal of mentoring young people in a prep school environment myself (the first six years at Loomis Chaffee School). My only regret is not switching to teaching five years before I did!
WHAT EXPERIENCE LED YOU TO AVON OLD FARMS SCHOOL?
I experienced the benefits of a challenging prep education for 20+ years working in a variety of settings and industries. I learned more about the ability to think for myself, collaborate with others, and then communicate our ideas in writing or verbally in three years as a prep school student than either in college or business school (both of which were/are great schools). Those critical skills have been a foundation for me personally and professionally and they are the foundation of every class I have taught since 2012--whether U.S. History or Economics (my focus at Avon). I work those skills and essential course concepts into real world projects in my classes that are informed by my 20 years of experience in a variety of industries and the national security area. As the freshmen Dean of Students, I bring my experience of prep schools as a student, teacher, and parent (two prep school graduates and two current students). All of those perspectives helped in my previous experience at Loomis mentoring students and on the disciplinary committee and other administrative committee work. As I experienced myself, this is a critical period in each Avon boys' life. I am privileged to support each boy in their own path through these years.
WHY DO YOU TEACH AT AVON OLD FARMS SCHOOL?
In that sense, I am excited to support Avon's mission of striving to be the best college preparatory school and beyond to be the "best preparatory school" for boys for college and later in life. I am also excited to carry on my grandfather's similar mission, as a high school principal and then superintendent of schools in Kansas during and after the Great Depression, where he also sought to cultivate young people of integrity, honor, wisdom, justice, inclusion, service and the pursuit of truth just like the Avon mission. Leveraging its expertise on educating the whole boy, Avon is in a unique position to cultivate these values critical to any local, national, or international society.