#MNPSVoices: Mary Murphy, Administrative Assistant
After passing up her dream of becoming an artist, Mary Murphy said she found fulfillment in another role - serving the students of Metro Nashville Public Schools.
“I wanted to go to school to be an artist but it didn’t work out that way,” Murphy said, adding that instead of abandoning her dream she made a conscious decision to redirect it.
Murphy started her journey with MNPS in April 1987 joining the school district as a substitute teacher. Within a few months, she matriculated into a full-time position as a senior account clerk in the Curriculum and Instruction department where she worked on desktop publications and taught herself how to design and layout documents on her department-issued computer.
It wasn’t long before Murphy began to tap into her creativity and expand the work she was doing in other meaningful ways.
“I saw a Mac 5200 desktop computer boxed up sitting on the floor and I asked could I use it,” Murphy said. “Everything I learned to do on paper [as an artist], I learned to do on the computer.”
Soon, Murphy was designing K-12 report cards and various other documents taking her design skills to an accelerated level. Her talents led to supporting design work inside and outside of her department in which many district team members took notice.
Dr. Antoinette Williams, Murphy’s former supervisor, said, “Mary is a hard worker…she always finds a way to get the work done.” Another district administrator, Dr. Lendozia Edwards, also worked with Murphy for a number of years, she said, “Mary is a valuable team member who [always] provides high-quality work.”
Throughout the years, Murphy has become known as a support system for principals and bookkeepers. Middle school Principal Dr. Sam Braden said, “We are fortunate to have such a helpful, courteous and caring employee supporting our team.”
Currently, Murphy works at the MNPS School Board office and serves as one of the administrative assistants to the Executive Directors of School Support and Improvement (EDSSIs). Although Murphy no longer works on a Mac computer that hasn’t stopped her enthusiasm for designing documents for her department or supporting the district by assisting the EDSSIs with parent concerns.
“As a parent and a grandparent, I know how frustrating situations can be,” Murphy said. “Times are different for students now, so I want to make sure parents have someone to support them. Whether right or wrong, I’m here to help.”
For 30 years Murphy has been committed to the district’s work and, although the retirement countdown has begun, she’s not quite ready to trade in her laptop for her favorite past time just yet.
“I want to see children succeed,” she said. “I feel like they deserve the best education they can get.”
If you’re interested in joining the MNPS team, visit our careers page for more information.