Brownwood ISD's Mary Murray is region Elementary Teacher of the Year

Special to the Bulletin
Mary Murray

The Region 15 Education Service Center has named Mary Murray, a 27-year veteran educator in the Brownwood school district, as Elementary Teacher of the Year for the region.

Murray has spent her entire career at Northwest Elementary School. She taught second grade for 25 years, and for the past two years has worked as the school's RTI (Response to Intervention) Specialist. Her duties include screening all kindergarten through grade 3 students at the beginning, middle, and end of the year. She meets with the students' teachers and administrators to review data, identify weaknesses and come up with plans for improvement. If students aren't making progress, more testing may be planned. 

“Ms. Murray is a phenomenal teacher,” Brownwood ISD Deputy Superintendent Liesa Land. “She is cooperative, dedicated, and works above and beyond with students, staff, parents, and administration. She is a true asset for BISD and has touched the lives of many.”

Murray, who graduated from Howard Payne University in 1992 with a degree in elementary education, said via email:

"It is an extreme honor to represent Brownwood and Region 15. In moments like this, it is easy for me to remember why I joined the teaching profession in the first place; it feels as though my efforts have finally paid off and that I have truly made a difference in my students' lives.

"However, in my 27 years of teaching, I know that moments like this are far from the ordinary, and I know that this type of recognition and reassurance is something that many educators will never receive. Because of this, I want to personally give the same recognition to my fellow educators. Today, our profession is trademarked by its seemingly ever-changing and under-appreciated nature. Most days feel like a constant, chaotic cycle of trying to get through each lesson, while at the end of the day still questioning whether or not you actually were able to get through to your students in the manner that you wished."

Amidst this "ordinary" that educators face, Murray said, it is easy to "find ourselves questioning why we chose the profession that we did, and allow ourselves to become complacent about the importance of our role in impacting the lives of children. I know that I have, many-a-times. Despite these moments of defeat, it is so important for us to shift our perspective from focusing on what we did not accomplish for that day or school year to focusing on what things we did do that actually impacted our students lives outside of the classroom.

"It isn't the perfect test scores or awards that make us educators. It's being the one stable adult in a student's life. It's showing students that you believe in them even when they do not believe in themselves. When we collectively, as educators, shift our perspective on these matters, we are able to change our "ordinary" and we can once again reclaim our profession as a passion. By shifting our focus on impacting the lives of our students, extraordinary things can be accomplished by our students and we can take pride in knowing we helped in their road to success."

Murray and her husband, Michaël, are the parents of three daughters.

Brownwood ISD superintendent Dr. Joe Young said the district is filled with exceptional educators.

“Ms. Murray is a fantastic representative of our dedicated staff," Young said. "She works tirelessly to help students and teachers be successful. As a teacher-leader, she is instrumental in building a solid academic foundation with our youngest learners. We are incredibly fortunate to work with Murray and observe her passion for excellence first-hand.”