Archive for Thursday, September 28, 2006

Literacy coach preaches benefits of teamwork

September 28, 2006

Athletic coaches always stress teamwork, but as a literacy coach, Susan Murphy says that concept is also crucial in the classroom.

Murphy recently began her new job as one of two literacy coaches at Lansing Middle School, and she says collaboration is what she loves most about Lansing schools.

"Everyone from the top through to the kids wants to work hard and wants to do their best. There's a big commitment to working as teams so that a number of people are working to accomplish the same things with the students," she said.

Murphy works with students to improve math and reading skill levels.

She's been an educator for 25 years, including 16 at Xavier Middle School in Leavenworth.

She spent the past two years at Lansing High School as a facilitator for New Decisions, a program that aims to keep students in school. She said she always wanted to teach.

"Even at home I was a teacher," she said. "It provides such a profound opportunity to influence people's lives that really, I think, is unparalleled by anything else."

Murphy, who moved often because of her husband's former military career, has taught every age group from kindergarten through college.

She said she was happy to return to teaching middle school.

"They're so teachable. They're so reachable at this age, more so than when they get older. Being able to assist them along the road of life is really important to me," she said.

More than 20 years ago, she and her husband, Don Murphy, settled in Leavenworth.

They have five grown children: Danielle, 38, Houston; Jenifer, 34, North Kansas City; David, 30, Omaha, Neb.; Jonathan, 27, San Antonio; and Matthew, 26, Del Rio, Texas. The couple's three sons are all captains in the U.S. Air Force.

When she's not teaching, Murphy most enjoys spending time with her children and five grandchildren. And she's excited about another grandchild, who is on the way.

She's also likes reading mysteries and belongs to the Whittier Club in Leavenworth.

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