John E. Murtagh, Sr., died peacefully on Saturday December 17, 2016 at the Masconomet Regional Health and Skilled Nursing Facility in Topsfield, following an extended illness, while in the comforting presence of his family. John was born in Peabody, and also lived in Rowley and Beverly. He graduated from St. John’s Preparatory High School in Danvers, Class of 1950, then graduated from Boston College to fulfill a “Double Eagle” in education. He later earned a Masters Degree from Salem State University.
John was recognized as one of the 2013 George Peabody Legacy Award Recipients. His entire career was dedicated to the Peabody Public Schools starting as a Teacher at the Keefe School, serving as Assistant Principal at the Keefe School and Principal at the Burke School, and finishing his career as a principal of the Higgins Middle School. John was also employed under Title 1 with the Migrant Education Program as a program organizer, curriculum specialist, and a liaison for the Department of Education. Among his many achievements were the development of staff, the development of children, coaching, advocating and putting the concerns of education in the City at the forefront of his agenda. John was instrumental in establishing the Middle School structure which still stands today, and was instrumental in the transition to education reform during its infancy.
John’s family has graciously asked that donations in his name be made to the Peabody Education Foundation.