Beth Murray is a force. That force has a name. That force is LOVE. Last week, Beth’s colleagues loved her back by selecting her as the SMCS honoree to represent Saint Mary’s at the Diocesan Excellence in Catholic Education Awards in late April.
If you know Mrs. Murray you will not be surprised that she spent Valentine’s Day at Saint Mary’s rocking a glittery red heart headband bopper as she roamed the hallways popping in and out of classrooms, pausing to give hugs along the way. That’s just how Mrs. Murray rolls. She does things 200 percent or not at all. And most importantly, she does them with love.
No matter your age, when you walk away from an interaction with Mrs. Murray, you feel like you have just been given a gold star for merely existing. If you’re a student, you might even walk away with an inspirational sticker to help you remember just how loved you are.
Which brings us back to our initial question — How does Beth Murray sustain such incredible levels of love, passion and energy in her life’s work? Read on for some insight below!
Q: You recently attended the SAIS (South Association of Independent Schools) Conference in Nashville. What inspired you to attend and why was it so important that you not attend alone?
A: Our colleagues at St. Bridget attended the SAIS Conference last year and invited one of the keynote speakers to Richmond last Fall for a joint professional development session. It was such a powerful experience that I knew I wanted Saint Mary’s to attend this year. I’m always adamant about not being the sole keeper of information, so I was really intentional about having Mrs. Newsome attend with me. It was an incredible learning opportunity for both of us.
Q: Can you give a brief overview of the conference and its theme?
A: The topics all tied back to the importance of supporting all students in developing their Executive Functioning Skills. I especially enjoyed sessions led by Peggy Campbell-Rush; so much so that I have booked her to come to Saint Mary’s on October 9th of this year to address our community. The way she explains basic neuroscience and the need for students from JK through grade 12 to explicitly learn how to advocate for their needs so that they can learn and thrive is so practical and engaging. As a support to both students and teachers, I am eager to bring greater awareness to executive function and how it impacts our students throughout their schooling and into their adult lives.
Q: Aside from your trip to Nashville, what else has “filled your cup” lately and made you so enthusiastic about the work you do at Saint Mary’s?
A: I’m really excited about everything that we have planned for Read Across America Week (February 27 – March 3). I’ve had so much fun being a part of the committee and working on some WILD surprises for our students and families in ECDC, Elementary and Middle School. I’m passionate about reading and growing students who love to read!