South Walton High School welcomes new teachers every year and this year is no exception.
However, new calculus teacher Brian Murphy stands out as unique.
Murphy teaches Advanced Placement Calculus, Honors Pre-Calculus, and Advanced Placement Physics. He is unique in the fact that he has been out of undergraduate school for 30 years and is just now entering the field of education.
However, even though this is his first foray into the field, the now educator has led a busy life.
Murphy earned bachelors and masters degrees in aeronautical science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He also holds a masters from Embry Riddle in safety systems and human factors engineering. He served eight years in the United States Coast Guard and holds a commercial pilot's license. He has taught real estate classes in several states and has owned an insurance agency.
"Piloting and the airline industry is not fun any more, and it's tough to get a job in that field," he said.
However, his vast experience in many areas makes him an excellent role model and teacher for teens who are interested in pursuing STEM careers, said SWHS Administrative Assistant Barbara Stratton.
Murphy is not only new to the school, he is also new to South Walton, moving here from Pennsylvania in search of warmer weather.
"I was tired of cold weather and looking for somewhere warm," he said.
With family in the St. Augustine area, Murphy and his family visited Florida two or three times a year and had vacationed in Panama City once. So when the job came up he applied but did not think he would get a call.
"I always thought of retiring here, so this is perfect," said Murphy. "We like it a lot. People are friendly and it's a fun place to live."
Murphy and his family reside now in Santa Rosa Beach and are becoming part of the community. His daughter is a 10th grader at SWHS.
"She loves it," he said.
In his spare time, Murphy assists in coaching the SWHS volleyball team.
"It's different teaching teens, but I am enjoying it," he said. "It's a good change. Why not do something you enjoy?"