A lasting impact


There will be a new face greeting students as they enter the building next year. Madeline Hawkins, a 2003 graduate of Galena High School who is currently a principal in Milwaukee, Wis, will be the new principal starting in August 2022. 

The school’s search for a new principal began in 2020, when Mrs. Beth Murphy announced her retirement.  

“It was a tough decision, but I think I have the high school going in a positive direction,” said Murphy. “I think it is important to live the life that you’ve been given and you can’t take anything for granted. I think it’s time for someone else to carry on and I am excited to see what they do.”

Murphy was a physical education teacher at Galena from 1989 to 2004. 

In 2004, Principal Charles Slagley was diagnosed with cancer, and Murphy was asked to fill in as an administrator. She helped with the day to day happenings at the high school for about three days a week while Slagley underwent treatments. Slagley passed away in 2005.

Murphy became a certified administrator in 2006 and took over the principal position.

Murphy has so many unforgettable memories at GHS. 

“One of the coolest things we’ve done at the high school was when Ms. Zink was here,” said Murphy. “We did the packaging of meal packs. The whole school community got together and we spent the whole morning working together. That was very memorable.”

She has many connections with all of the students who have graduated. 

“It is always so wonderful to hear what students have done with their lives after they’ve left Galena,” said Murphy. “It’s always so refreshing to hear that students were prepared for whatever path they chose to follow.”

As she prepares to end her career, Murphy has some advice for the person stepping into her position. 

“My advice to the new principal would be to be a good listener. Everybody in this building has wonderful ideas and wonderful intentions,” said Murphy. “You can’t do this job alone. You’ll need everybody to make this a positive and successful school.”

Murphy plans to spend her retirement being active and would like to visit her sons. 

“I want to be as active as possible. This job does require a lot of sitting so I’m excited to be really active. I want to golf, garden, and travel to see my boys,” said Murphy. 

Although Murphy is excited for her retirement, there are many things she’ll miss about GHS. 

“I’ll miss the problem solving that is involved every day. I love to solve problems. Whether it be teachers proposing things to me, or helping students,” said Murphy. “I will also miss being around people every day.”

Murphy will leave a long lasting legacy at this school, and her impact will be long remembered.