A ‘golden’ opportunity
New Humboldt superintendent eager to get started
Last week, the Humboldt Community School District named Algona native Jim Murray as its next district superintendent.
Murray has been principal at Tilford Elementary School in the Vinton-Shellsburg Community School District for the past 17 years. Prior to that, he spent three years as the West Elementary School principal at Independence Community Schools. He was a fourth-grade teacher in Storm Lake and a second- and fifth-grade teacher in Wall Lake from 1994 to 2000. In 2017, Murray was named the Iowa Elementary Principal of the Year.
“We were very fortunate to have some very, very, highly qualified candidates,” said Humboldt Community school board president Tate Satern. “I would have to say that Mr. Murray’s preparation and vision for our district, as well as his proven track record of putting kids first would definitely be a reason why we chose him.”
Satern said was most impressed by Murray’s character.
“It was very obvious that he has a very high moral character and is a very honest individual,” he said. “He definitely leads with confident humility.”
Murray and his wife, Lisa, are high school sweethearts who grew up in Algona, and both are excited to return to the north central Iowa area and be closer to Murray’s parents in Algona.
“We love the area,” Murray said. “I’m familiar with Humboldt and was excited when they had their opening.”
The Murrays “thoroughly researched” the Humboldt community when he was applying for the superintendent job to make sure it was the right fit for them.
“We both wanted to continue to live in communities that have great faith and recreational and housing opportunities,” Murray said. “Lisa and I are looking forward to joining the fitness center and golf is a passion of mine, so there’s plenty of opportunities for that too. We just thought it could offer us a great quality of life.”
The Murrays also have a daughter, Lauren, who will be a high school senior in the fall.
“She’s very excited about taking some courses that aren’t offered in our district and participating in school activities,” Murray said.
The Murrays love the charm of small town life, and Humboldt meets that criteria.
It wasn’t just the Humboldt community that drew Murray to this job opening — it’s also the uncommon set up of being superintendent for two school districts. The Humboldt Community School District shares its superintendent at 20% of the time with the Twin Rivers Community School District.
Murray feels that both districts have an excellent reputation for both academic achievement and the activity opportunities they provide students.
“It’s hard not to be attracted to this job,” he said. “It’s truly a golden opportunity.”
Murray said he was impressed with Twin Rivers Elementary Principal Mark Wenzel when he met him during a tour.
“He had a great enthusiasm and pride for Twin Rivers Elementary School and he shared several examples of how the staff was meeting the needs of the students and how the board members were supporting his work,” he said.
During the next few months, Murray will help with the search and hiring of new administrative staff for positions being vacated after this year, including a high school principal, elementary principal and curriculum director.
Murray is looking forward to building relationships in the districts and communities.
“I’m very involved in school and community activities and I can’t wait to dive in again and develop relationships with community organizations and I can’t wait to develop relationships with the staff and families there,” he said. “I just get to be a part of a great school system.”
Under his contract with the Humboldt Community School District, Murray will receive an annual salary of $177,700. His contract runs from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2023.