Longtime CPS leader appointed interim superintendent

Following the abrupt departure of its superintendent, Cincinnati Public Schools turned to a pair of longtime district leaders to lead them through the transitional period.

The Cincinnati Board of Education voted Monday to appoint Shauna Murphy to the position of interim superintendent. 

Murphy has more than 34 years of experience in education, including working in the Cincinnati district since 1999. She has worked as an elementary and high school principal and assistant superintendent, most recently serving as chief of student, family and community engagement.

In a statement, CPS praised Murphy for being “instrumental” to strengthening the district’s relationship with community partners, creating more parent organizations, improving graduation rates and increasing the Career and Technical Education pathway program for all district high schools.

Shauna Murphy

The release described her as having a “deep understanding of the District’s strategic initiatives to improve academic outcomes, experience optimizing resources and balancing budgets and history of strong collaborative relationships with students, staff, unions and community stakeholders.”

Murphy holds master’s degrees in education from both Xavier University and University of Cincinnati, as well as a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Ohio University. She also received superintendent licensure through the University of Dayton. The Cincinnati native attended Purcell Marian High School.

“I am honored to serve as Interim Superintendent and to continue working alongside our dedicated educators, staff and community members,” Murphy said. “Together, we will continue to prioritize academic excellence through a positive learning environment that empowers our educators and inspires our students to achieve their full potential.”

A new era for Cincinnati Public Schools

Murphy’s promotion stems from the recent departure of Iranetta Wright, who served CPS for the past two years. Wright came to Cincinnati in 2022 after serving as a deputy superintendent for Detroit’s public school system.

Wright resigned last week shortly after the six labor unions representing CPS employees held no-confidence votes. Five of the unions said the votes were unanimous, according to WVXU.

The separation agreement will allow her to continue to receive her $260,000 annual salary and remain eligible for medical benefits through July 31, 2025.

The Cincinnati Board of Education – which voted Monday to approve the separation agreement – will conduct a search for a permanent superintendent, with the goal of appointing a new leader by the end of the 2024-25 school year.

Shauna Murphy and Dr. Alesia Smith

The elected, seven-member body promised a “transparent and inclusive search process,” that involves public engagement across the district, to “identify a leader who embodies the values and aspirations of the CPS community.”

To assist Murphy during the expected yearlong search process, the board voted to appoint Dr. Alesia Smith, most recently the district’s chief of schools, as interim deputy superintendent.

Both appointments took effect immediately.

“We are confident that Shauna Murphy and Dr. Alesia Smith’s proven leadership and vision will ensure a seamless transition and continued progress toward our goals of educational equity and excellence,” CPS Board President Eve Bolton said.

“As a board, we are committed to upholding our district’s values and priorities,” Bolton continued, “and are assured that Interim Superintendent Murphy’s and Interim Deputy Superintendent Smith’s extensive experience with CPS and their unwavering commitment to our students, staff and community will be invaluable as we move forward.”

Cincinnati Public Schools

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