Superintendent Keith Murphy receives Distinguished Administrator award, honored for supporting fine arts

Keith Murphy and Jerry Whorton


Mar 2019
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Keith Murphy, Superintendent of Melissa Schools, has been designated as a Distinguished Administrator by the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA).

The Distinguished Administrator award, according to the TMEA, was created “to honor upper-level school administrators who have been instrumental in preserving quality music education programs on their campuses and in their districts.”

Mr. Murphy has served as the Superintendent of Melissa Schools since 2014 and he currently serves on the UIL Region 25 Superintendent’s Music Advisory Committee. However, his passion for the arts developed early on in his life, for which he credits his mother, Sharon Murphy, who was an art teacher for over 20 years.

“My mother has a real passion for fine arts and has always been an advocate for kids. She has been an artist all my life. Art was something that we could connect on.” – Keith Murphy, Superintendent

While attending South Grand Prairie High School, Mr. Murphy sang in the school choir all four years in various sections, including tenor and mixed chorus. He was the Choir President his senior year of high school and was offered a voice scholarship to Baylor University, but ultimately chose a different path.

Jerry Whorton, Director of Bands at Melissa Schools, nominated Superintendent Murphy for the TMEA Distinguished Administrator designation. He says the award serves to honor Mr. Murphy’s support of not only the band program, but the district’s fine arts department as a whole.

“Melissa’s fine arts department is the most cohesive department I’ve ever seen and the students are well-rounded,” Whorton said.

“Since his arrival in 2014, Mr. Murphy has more than doubled our music staffing, facilities, and student participation. He has worked tirelessly to spread his love for the performing arts by craving the success of all organizations. Mr. Murphy has a passion for programs that produce productive young adults.” – Jerry Whorton, Director of Bands

The Melissa Schools fine arts department has, in fact, seen many successes since Superintendent Murphy’s arrival.

A choir program was established and, this year, will graduate Melissa High School’s first-ever four-year All State Choir student. For two consecutive years, visual art students have advanced to state-level competition. The Mighty Cardinal Band competed in its first 4A final at the 2018 UIL 4A State Marching Contest, placing sixth overall.

Rachel Wresh and Andru Wilson

Rachel Wresh (left) will be the first four-year All State Choir student to graduate from the Melissa choir program.

Mighty Cardinal Band 2018 State Performance

Mighty Cardinal Band performs at the 2018 UIL State Marching Contest.

Last year, the Melissa High School theatre program advanced to the UIL One Act Play State Competition for the first time and was named the runner-up. Not long after that, Melissa Middle School’s One Act Play earned first place at competition for the first time in school history.

Melissa ISD has begun the development of a fine arts facility, which will be located at Melissa High School.

Melissa High School One Act Play Cast

The cast of Melissa High School One Act Play “Peter and the Starcatcher”.

Melissa Middle School One Act Play Cast

The cast of Melissa Middle School One Act Play “The Diary of Anne Frank”.

Aaron Dugger, Associate Director of Bands at Melissa Schools, and David Landry, Assistant Band Director at Melissa Middle School, also shared comments about Mr. Murphy’s influence on the district’s fine arts programs.

Dugger said, “We are very lucky in Melissa to have leadership that unconditionally supports the fine arts, particularly the band program. Nominating Mr. Murphy as the TMEA Administrator of the year is the least we could have done to show our gratitude. We are thrilled that he was selected to receive this honor.”

Landry added, “Mr. Murphy is passionately present and observable in the advocacy of all programs in Melissa ISD, of which the music programs are a part. His steadfastness and advocacy have created an environment that is quickly making Melissa ISD a treasured destination for music and the fine arts.”

To learn more about the fine arts programs at Melissa Schools, visit the Fine Arts page at

Media Contact:
Maddie Coe, Community Relations

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