Leadership Spotlight: Doug Murphy

ISS Administrative Search was proud to lead the Secondary School Principal search for Uruguayan American School (UAS) in Montevideo, Uruguay. Congratulations to Doug Murphy for accepting the position, beginning July 2022! Doug is currently the High School Principal at Cayman International School.

Doug holds an EdD in Educational Leadership from Azusa Pacific University; a Masters in Sport Management from the University of San Francisco; a Masters in Secondary Education from the University of Alabama; and a BA in English from the California State University, Long Beach.

In this feature, learn about early experiences that showed Doug the importance of building relationships, how that has inspired his career and community-focused leadership, and more.

What drew you to pursue the world of education? And what drew you into international education specifically?

Growing up in a family with a father who was a teacher and coach, and a mother who worked as a mentor for teenage girls, showed me how positive role models have a lasting impact on people’s lives. As a child, I could not walk through the grocery store with my parents without someone stopping them to thank them for their encouragement and support. This is powerful to observe growing up, and I quickly learned that making connections with other people is of the upmost importance in life. My wife and I ventured internationally as together we are excited about exploring new cultures and meeting new people from different walks of life. The opportunity to blend our passion for service in education and sense of wanderlust seemed like a rewarding combination.

Where has your career taken you?

I started my teaching career in public education in California serving as a high school English teacher, newspaper teacher/advisor, speech club advisor, and assistant football coach. My inauguration to international education was teaching high school English and serving as the English Department Chair at Colegio Roosevelt in Lima, Peru. Prior to transitioning into administration, my wife and I and returned to California where I continued teaching high school English. I then became a Student Advisor at a year-around, multi-track middle school followed by a high school assistant principal supervising curriculum, teaching and learning, academic programming, and professional development. Prior to becoming the middle and high school principal at Cayman International School, I was a middle school principal in California.

I have worked in Peru, the Cayman Islands, and California. Early in our careers, my wife and I worked in Northern California before finding our way to international teaching. After working at FDR in Lima, Peru we returned to the States to start our family and to continue our education. After transitioning to administration and when our youngest child was entering kindergarten, we kept a promise that we made to each other when leaving Peru, and we returned to international education to raise our family.

Doug and family at sunset

Please tell us about your education philosophy and your leadership style. What can your new community expect?

My educational philosophy is embedded in a quote from Shepherd Leadership by Blaine McCormick and David Davenport who state, “…shepherd leaders must learn to conceptualize a great deal of their activity in terms of making sure people’s needs are met. Engaging not just people’s time but also their minds and hearts…” Successful leaders exhibit high emotional intelligence making it a priority to build strong relationships. Fundamental to successful education and leadership are service, compassion, and relationships. These key components begin with integrity and trust.

All students have a unique greatness, and it is the role of educators to engage and guide students to develop their talents. Learning is creative and collaborative, and purposeful learning occurs though rich, relevant, well-balanced experiences. Pivotal learning engages the hearts and minds of the entire educational community, providing students with relevant experiences that meet their individual needs, interests, and abilities.

Uruguayan American School

Congratulations on your new position at UAS! What excites you about being in this new role and school? What are your hopes?

I am excited about building new relationships. My wife and I love what we do, and we have been fortunate to work at excellent schools, live in vibrant places, and connect with amazing people. Throughout the interview process we were embraced by the warmth and welcoming nature of the UAS community. There has been so much genuineness in every interaction. There is pride in the school, city, and country, and it is evident that respect and acceptance are vital to the thriving community at UAS. During the search process, it was our priority to find a school, location, and community where our entire family can thrive

What is an interesting fact or story about you that you would like to share?

In 1990, the summer between my sophomore and junior years in college, I lived in a tent in Alaska for three months. I missed the Alaskan Gold Rush by about 100 years, but I still hoped to find adventure and become the next Jack London. I was a spit rat in Homer for a spell, trying to find work aboard a seiner, and I eventually earned enough money to purchase a ferry ticket to Kodiak Island. I spent two months on Kodiak working in a cannery. The normal shift was 12 hours a-day, but I often extended that by four to six hours to earn more money for college. If I ever had free time, I hiked, read, and committed to journaling every day. At the time, I was debating between majoring in journalism or English. The experience solidified my passions for adventure, reading and writing, and connecting with people.

And finally, what was your experience with ISS Administrative Search like?

Throughout our entire search process, Dave Randall provided personalized attention, wisdom, mentorship, and genuine care. He is one in a million.


Thank you to Doug for sharing these reflections! Wishing him and his family a smooth transition to Uruguay. We look forward to seeing Doug build strong new relationships at UAS and bring out the unique greatness in its students. You can connect with him on Linkedin.

 If you’re interested in pursuing a school leadership position, please check out our current leadership searches or get in touch with the ISS Administrative Search Team.

“My wife, Amy, currently teaches elementary school Spanish and EAL at CIS, and she will be a grade 5 classroom teacher in Uruguay. Together we have three kids: Jake is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, Chad is currently in Grade 10, and Kylah is in Grade 8.”