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How did Murfree land superintendent post?

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Dr. Anita Brown Dr. Anita Brown
Dr. Joshua Murfree Dr. Joshua Murfree
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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  The man chosen as the only finalist for Dougherty County School Superintendent is one of the least qualified applicants for the job.

WALB News 10 has learned that Dr. Joshua Murfree was 34th out of 37 in the ranking of qualifications for the school system's top job.     

There are questions about WHY he was selected, and the possible motives behind it.

And while the ASU professor has years of experience in post secondary education, nowhere in his thick application document, does he detail any qualified experience working in K-12 schools.

The Dougherty County School board hired the Georgia School Board Association to rank applicants for Superintendent according to their abilities and the needs of the school system.  By that list, Dr. Joshua Murfree was third from the bottom. 

Even so, board member Dr. Anita Brown says he's best for the job. "He works well with people.  He's a people person.  He's on the National SACS accreditation committee, so I'm told," said Brown.

But he's not.  There is no national committee.  SACS, is a regional accrediting agency for schools and universities.

But he was the Chief Financial Officer for Blessed Community Development.  That's one of the ways Brown knows him, as she is CEO of that organization.

"The BCD has been lying dormant for seven years.  We have not had any activity, no meetings, no finance, no nothing," said Brown.

Brown, who was too busy to talk to us on camera, spoke to us over the phone about Murfree being selected as the only finalist, even though he was ranked near the bottom of the list.

"I can't really say why he was ranked there, but other board members felt they wanted to look at him, and another person that were down in that tier and brought them up for interviews and both of them did well in the interview."

School Board Chairman David Maschke pleaded with the board at yesterday's meeting to not name a finalist, and continue with the interview process.

"I have a great deal of discomfort not having completed or thoroughly gone through all the steps of the process and fully vetted the process," he said.

The board won't reveal how many of the applicants it interviewed, but we know that each interview only lasted one hour and that Murfree was only asked seven questions.  Maschke had hoped for more in depth interviews to be conducted.

"To me, this decision, while the next Superintendent may be here a year, may be here five years, they may be here nine years. I really think it's going to impact the future of Albany/Dougherty County for the next 20 or 30 years, because I really think it's going to set the tone, because we're at a critical stage," Maschke said.

But the stage is now set, and Murfree is the only finalist for the job. We tried contacting Dr. Murfree to talk to him about his naming as the finalist for the Superintendent's spot, but he did not return our calls.

The school board voted five to two in favor of naming Murfree as the finalist. Maschke and Emily Jean McAfee were the only votes opposing that selection.

  • You can see sample questions that board members asked the candidates, as well as an evaluation form, when you click HERE.

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