This week's elections had the unintended effect of pushing to the back pages a worrisome report concerning the future of one of Prince George's County's top unelected officials, School Superintendent John A. Murphy. On Tuesday Murphy was named one of three finalists for Kentucky commissioner of education, and the P.G. schools chief announced that he was actively looking for another job. The news raised concerns that Murphy's departure could stall improvements in the county schools at a crucial time.
In six years on the job, Murphy has won widespread praise for turning around a system that had been notorious for poor student achievement and low employee morale. He oversaw the creation of a highly successful magnet school program and posted dramatic gains on test scores while winning strong support from the business community for making school reform an integral part of the county's overall economic development strategy.
Murphy's departure would be a loss to Maryland as well as to P.G.'s schools. Surely county and state officials ought to be able to come up with a package that might entice the superintendent to reconsider. It seems a shame to let such talent slip away.