Bob Grossman Leadership in School Communications Award

The Bob Grossman Leadership in School Communications Award recognizes a practicing superintendent of schools or CEO of an education agency, service center or intermediate unit for outstanding leadership in school public relations and communication.

The Bob Grossman Leadership in School Communications Award is sponsored by West (SchoolMessenger solutions). Visit West/SchoolMessenger to learn more.


2019 Bob Grossman Leadership in School Communications Award Recipient

Dr. Patrick Murphy Headshot
Patrick Murphy, Ed.D.
Superintendent
Arlington (Va.) Public Schools

Since beginning his superintendency at Arlington in July 2009, Dr. Patrick Murphy has been on a mission to “build a community of communicators” in order to highlight student success, engage the community and underscore the importance of communications as a tool for learning and life. He’s a charismatic leader who is committed to his students and values the diverse perspectives of all families by considering their individual needs.

Murphy was an early adopter to Twitter, and his presence on the platform had a ripple effect in his community. He connected with students, families and staff and encouraged district leadership to create their own accounts and expand their reach. There are now more than 750 Twitter accounts associated with Arlington Public Schools, and more than 4,000 people follow his account @SuptPKM.

Since 2016, Murphy has participated in more than 50 videos, including a signature video series on Vimeo that are a regular part of the district’s annual school year milestones. The videos include messages for Back-To-School, Thanksgiving and Arts in the Schools Month. Murphy launched his In the Loop with the Supe series during the 2018-19 school year to highlight key messages to school staff on a monthly basis. 

Over the past decade, he expanded the School and Communications Relations Department by adding new positions to boost leadership. He also instituted a practice that a communications plan must accompany each new program introduced or launched in the district, which allows for transparent communication among staff and the school district community. 

Murphy worked with his team to develop the 2017-18 Strategic Communications Plan, the first in the district’s history, which served as a roadmap for the communication efforts supported by the superintendent’s office. This in turn led to the 2018-2020 Superintendent and Executive Leadership Team Strategic Communications Plan, which guides the district’s work around employee engagement, grassroots communications and customer service management.

Another of Murphy’s accomplishments is the establishment of the communication hub Engage with APS!, where new initiatives, the district’s strategic plan process, capital projects and policy revisions can be found for timely community input. As a result, community engagement has become the hallmark of the district and an expectation from families and staff.