Murray has served as an assistant to Putnam Valley Elementary School Principal Margaret Podesta since 2008. She also has experience in the classroom and completed an administrative internship in New York City.
Her appointment now just waits formal approval from the Board of Education, which will meet on April 22.
According to Quattrone, Murray was the top candidate out of nearly 200 applications. Of the 179 candidates, just nine were interviewed by the district and five were named finalists. The superintendent lauded Murray’s experience and noted she received rave reviews from her former employers.
“References were unanimously positive, and her former superintendent called her ‘incredible and wonderful,’” he said. “She went on to note that she was well-versed in instruction and knows how to affect change.”
As part of the search process, the district consulted with Martin Brooks, a director of the Tri-State Consortium, to determine which characteristics were most important in an elementary school principal.
Brooks’ report noted that parents and staff sought a principal that could help the district transition toward the new Common Core Learning Standards while actively maintaining an active line of communication with the community and preserving tradition.
In her application, Murray wrote, “I understand the importance of building strong relationships with the teachers, students, and parents, and it is these relationships that allow for a shared vision. If given this new leadership opportunity, I will nurture the successes that have already been made within the school community and do the necessary work to move the school forward.”
The vacancy at the elementary school was created at the end of 2012, when former principal Thomas Wilson, who was at the helm of the school for nearly a decade, was promoted to the same position at the middle school. Heidi Menzel has served as interim principal while the district searched for a permanent replacement.
Quattrone said that as part of the search process, the finalists gave presentations to the Board of Education and other district stakeholders. Before choosing Murray, the search committee visited Murray’s home district, where they received rave reviews from teachers currently working under her.
“Her presentation to the administrative team emphasized the importance of building a community with parents through listening, valuing input, supporting parents and communicating clearly and often,” he said.
Murray officially assumes her position on July 1. She is expected to join the faculty in a series of professional development days toward the end of the school year.
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