Kate Murray fell in love with Grosse Pointe as a student teacher at more than 15 years ago, when she was known by students as Miss Cal, short for her maiden name, Calabresa. A Chicago suburbanite, Murray's experience in the community moved her so much she decided to make a life here.
She began with the high school as an English teacher and only recently had the heart to give up her classroom. Murray is North's new assistant principal—a position she believes will enable her to have a farther reaching impact upon students.
Murray replaces . Among her responsibilities are staff scheduling and discipline.
"My heart had to be ready to leave the classroom," Murray said. "It motivated me (to seek the assistant principal position) to have an impact on more students."
Watching students achieve far more than they ever thought possible is her absolute favorite part about teaching and being in education, she said. "I will miss it every day."
Murray said she believes her familiarity with the school, its staff and the students will help her transition smoothly into the new position.
Her goal of truly helping students is nothing new.
Murray, who served as the English department chair from 2006 until this promotion, developed the Freshman Assist Curriculum. The curriculum is geared toward struggling learners and intends to help close the gap in student learning and achievement.
What began as a pilot program is now a standard part of the school's curriculum that focuses on the four core subjects as well as literacy, social, and emotional development and leadership.
The students in the Freshman Assist Curriculum take a field trip once per quarter to help others. Murray recalls taking the students to read to younger students at Poupard. They once helped at a Services for Older Citizens bingo game. They've boxed food in Ann Arbor and served homeless people from inside a downtown Detroit church.
She is also one of the co-founders of WILLOW—Women in Leadership Leading Our World—a group that focuses on issues confronting women and often has speakers on topics such as stress management, job interviews, navigating relationships, and more.
Her new role will still include direct interaction with the students, which pleases her. She is also looking forward to connecting with teachers and the community.
Among her goals for her first year as an assistant principal, Murray wants to build relationships, she said.
Not only does she plan to do it during the school day but she is eager to continue attending after-school functions and activities.
"I'm fortunate enough to have a husband and kids who are excited to attend community events with me," she said.
Her husband, Colin, and two young children, William, 3, and Caroline, 1, have already attended some functions with her, she said, naming a recent concert. She attends the events not as much as a function of her job but because she enjoys them.
"I appreciated the sense of community and how the community took care of each other," Murray said of her impression of Grosse Pointe back when she was student teaching. "I've been here 15 years. I envision staying here."
When she isn't in school, she's, well, in school. Murray is working to earn her doctorate in educational leadership from Oakland University. She anticipates finishing the program in 2015, according to her resume.
Her educational background includes:
- an educational specialist, educational leadership degree in 2011
- a master's in secondary education in 2006
- a bachelor's in education with English and French majors
- study abroad work in Avignon, France
Her professional background includes:
- chair of the modern and classical languages department from 1997 to 2003
- chair of the English department from 2006 until the recent promotion
- teacher of English and French in grades 7 to 12
- teacher of A.P. English language and composition
- teacher of A.P. French language and A.P. French literature
- development of curriculum for several areas of study, including the Freshman Assist Curriculum
- coached the track and field team for two years
- coached the cross country team for 10 years
- co-founder, adviser for WILLOW for eight years