Paul Murphy Becomes Interim Pine Knoll Cluster Dean for Winter Term

Paul Murphy ’84, Instructor in Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science, and Interim Dean of Pine Knoll Cluster, speaking to students at a cluster munch.

Paul Murphy ’84, Instructor in Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science, and Interim Pine Knoll Cluster Dean, enjoying churros with Pine Knoll students.

Paul Murphy ’84, Instructor in Math and Coach for Girls Varsity Swimming, has assumed the position of Interim Dean of Pine Knoll Cluster during Winter Term while Jill Myer, Dean of Pine Knoll Cluster, is on maternity leave. Meyer will return as Cluster Dean in Spring Term. 

As the former Flagstaff Cluster Dean from 1999 to 2005 and Dean of Students from 2008 to 2015, Murphy is not new to his temporary role. However, with the recently implemented Community Standards Committee, Murphy had to adjust to an unfamiliar disciplinary system. 

“Then there is this role to play with the new discipline system that we have, so I’m learning that because that was not the way it was when I was [Dean of Flagstaff Cluster], so it’s a learning curve for me…. There has to be a system of adults that are ready to step in and help when those things don’t go quite well, so I think that’s one of the most important parts of the job. We spend a good deal of time… talking about situations that need to be talked through because we want to do the right thing for kids that do the wrong thing, and we want to make sure it’s done in a way that is consistent across the school,” said Murphy. 

In taking the position, Murphy was required to teach only one class, forcing him to drop three of his sections. Though saddened in leaving his classes, Murphy looks forward to picking up more math courses again in the spring.

“Part of the workload for cluster deans is that they only teach one, so I’ve gone down to one section of math for the winter… I only teach one section [of math this term] when I taught four sections in the fall, so I had to drop all three of my [Math 590 sections], which was sad because I really enjoyed them. We had a really good fall together. Anyways my workload had to shift for the winter and it will shift back up in the spring,” said Murphy.

Following the change, McKenzie Williams ’24 was switched out of Murphy’s class in the winter. She voiced frustration towards her schedule change as a result of his position change. 

“[Murphy] is an excellent teacher who’s always looking out for the students…. When the Seniors were turning in their [college] applications, it was more of a chill class and he’s always super understanding… I was disappointed originally because I was switched out,” said Williams.

Sean Niu ’25 acknowledged Murphy’s active presence at cluster events in his first weeks as Cluster Dean. As a student in Pine Knoll, Niu appreciated Murphy’s warmness towards students. 

“Mr. Murphy has been doing an excellent job stepping up as cluster dean. He is already very well-known among students for his kindness and generosity. I think that he is making [Pine Knoll] a better place every single day,” wrote Niu in an email to The Phillipian.

In agreement with Niu, Lily Liu ’26 complimented Murphy’s efficiency and organization at Pine Knoll’s first cluster munch. Though Murphy was different from Meyer in his leadership traits, Liu noted her excitement for the term in Pine Knoll under his leadership.

Liu said, “I have not been in any of his classes, but I think he is a very nice guy. He’s very funny… I did meet him [at cluster munch] and he was very organized, because when he was handing out the chicken tenders, everyone was pretty chill with him and everyone generally has a good impression of him…[Meyer and Murphy’s] styles [are] a little different. You can tell just by seeing small things like from emails. But they’re both pretty good, and I look forward to this term.”