When I interviewed New Mexico K-12 chief Hanna Skandera for my story about the group she leads, Chiefs for Change, she mentioned, without being asked, that the group expected one or two new members to be joining in the near future. She was coy when I asked her to name names, but the organization’s website has provided at least one answer—Mark Murphy, education secretary in Delaware, is now listed as the seventh member. When I wrote the story for the last print edition of Education Week, Chiefs for Change could claim six members, down from the high of nine in early 2012.
There’s no recent press release officially announcing Murphy as a new member, but his spokeswoman, Alison May, told me that he joined last week, after my story went to press. He officially became a member Dec. 10.
Murphy was appointed Delaware’s education secretary in 2012, when he was appointed by Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat, and confirmed by the state senate. Before his nomination, he served as the executive director of the Vision Network of Delaware, an organization that seeks “to accelerate student achievement through improved leadership, classroom instruction, and school culture.” Broadly speaking, their goal is to ensure a “world-class education to all public school students by 2015,” according to the Vision Network’s most recent annual report.
He’s also worked at the nonprofit group New Leaders for New Schools, now called just New Leaders, where he helped develop school leadership standards for 200 principals in 10 cities.
“Delaware is committed to transformational change to improve outcomes and achievements for our students, and for the educators that work with them every day,” Murphy says in a statement on Chiefs for Change’s website. “The guiding principles of Chiefs for Change— revolving around excellence, accountability, high standards, and quality options for our students—are directly aligned to the principles that have been guiding our work in Delaware.”
Not surprisingly, Murphy clearly expresses his support for the Common Core State Standards, which is frequently and vigorously backed by Chiefs for Change and Markell as well.
A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.