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Biography for Dr. Randy J. Dunn


Dr. Randy J. Dunn was selected to be Murray State University’s 11th president in May of 2006 and his official duties began at the university on Dec. 1, 2006.

Prior to coming to Murray State, Dunn served as the state superintendent of education for the Illinois State Board of Education. Before that, he held the rank of professor in the department of educational administration and higher education at Southern Illinois University (SIU)-Carbondale.  Dunn started at SIU as an associate professor in 1995, and was named department chair in 2000, before leaving to take the state superintendency. He began his academic career as an assistant professor in the department of leadership at The University of Memphis for two years before taking his faculty post at Southern Illinois.

His early career in Illinois education included teaching, service as a principal at two school districts in north central Illinois, and the post of district superintendent for two Illinois school systems.

During his time in higher education, Dunn has served on a number of committees, councils and task forces, including those for the American and Illinois Associations of School Administrators, SACS, the North Central Association, Learning Point Associates, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Illinois Association of School Boards, and other groups. He has consulted on education issues nationally and has served as the principal investigator or co-PI on numerous grants totaling nearly $650,000. His scholarly writing includes published articles on a range of education management issues in professional journals, as well as book chapters, book reviews and monographs. Additionally, he has evaluated a number of manuscripts for publication in journals and books and grant proposals for funding agencies.

Dunn is married to Dr. Ronda Baker Dunn and they are the parents of four adult children.

More details


  • University of Illinois
    EdD in Educational Administration, 1991
  • Illinois State University
    MSE in Educational Administration and Foundations, 1983
  • Illinois State University
    BSED, 1980

Professional experience

  • President, Murray State University
    December 2006-present
  • State Superintendent of Education, Illinois State Board of Education
    September 2004-December 2006
  • Professor, Department of Educational Administration and Higher Education, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Leadership, The University of Memphis
  • Superintendent of Schools, Chester, Ill., Community Unit School District No. 139
  • Superintendent of Schools, Argenta-Oreana,  Ill., Community Unit School District No. 1
  • Principal, Roanoke-Benson,  Ill., Middle School
  • Principal, Paw Paw, Ill., Grade School
  • Elementary and Reading Teacher, Gibson City,  Ill., Grade School