Chanute native Zack Murry has been named as the new principal at Chanute High School.
Murry, who graduated from CHS in 2006, was drafted by the Colorado Rockies out of high school and spent three years in their minor league system. He then returned to school, earning his Bachelor and Master degrees in Physical Education from Pittsburg State University.
“I’m very excited for the future,” Murry told The Tribune. “I love our staff, our kids, and the community.”
Murry began his teaching career as a PE teacher at Chanute Elementary School, and is now in his second year as athletic director and assistant principal at CHS. Murry was also formerly the head baseball coach at CHS. He will not officially take the reins as principal until January 1, 2022. Beginning this summer, Murry will begin a “soft transition” into the position, receiving training from Assistant Superintendent and Interim Principal Matt Koester.
“I want to continue to build our culture with students and staff,” Murry said. “We want to provide students with as many new opportunities and experiences as we can, and give them the best chance to succeed and grow.”
Murry said he has had a number of strong influences who have helped him prepare for this moment.
“I got into coaching and education from my dad,” he said of his father, Steve, Neosho County Community College’s longtime head baseball coach. “Watching him interact with his athletes, and the relationships he built – that’s what made me want to get into coaching.”
Murry also mentioned his father-in law, Kent Wire, as a role model. Wire is a former longtime principal at CHS. Additionally, Murry expressed gratitude to USD 413 Superintendent Kellen Adams, as well as district administrators Koester and Tracy Russell.
“I’ve tried to take in as much as I can from them over the past two years,” he said.
While he looks forward to his new position, Murry said he will miss his role as athletic director.
“It’s been a fantastic experience,” he said, noting his extensive athletic background. “I got into teaching to be around kids, and coaching to do what I loved beforehand. I’ve loved being athletic director every step of the way. I’m thankful for the opportunity, and it will be very bittersweet leaving this role.”
Murry said his fondest memories of his current position are often derived from witnessing students accomplish their goals.
“Anytime you get to see one of your students succeed, it’s very rewarding to see the pure joy on their face for everyone involved,” he said. “It’s rewarding because you know the people your team has put in place are doing great things for the kids, and allowing them to succeed.”
Koester said Murry brings a number of important attributes to the position.
“I think he’s very dedicated to our school system and Chanute High School,” he said.
“As an alumnus of the school, he truly bleeds Chanute and CHS. I think he will be a great advocate for our students and our staff, to continue to promote the culture we want here within (CHS) and the school system.”
Adams is also confident Murry will make a seamless transition into the position.
“Today is a very special day for USD 413,” Adams said in a press release. “One that is marked by its very own alum assuming a leadership role in our flagship school. We have no doubt that Mr. Murry will continue to take CHS to new heights and embody a ‘students-first’ culture.”
Adams also lauded Koester for holding down the fort as interim principal.
“The district is extremely appreciative of his efforts and dedication over the course of the 2020-21 school year,” Adams said in the release. “His leadership has been immediately felt by staff, students, and other stakeholders. We are truly grateful for his service this year.”
Murry and his wife, Jory, have two young children, Sutton and Mitt.