Teacher of the Year

2 months ago

Murray awarded teacher of the year


As Johnson Junior High language arts teacher Rebecca Murray was teaching class at the end of last school year, a group of dignitaries filed in. However, since she often hosts visitors and classroom observations she kept on teaching, not missing a beat.

Over the loudspeaker, Ms. Bradshaw began the school announcements. Since it was Teacher Appreciation Week, she thanked all teachers.

“Thank you for everything you have done throughout the pandemic to keep our school open and functioning,” she said. “We also have a special announcement. We are honored to share that Mrs. Rebecca Murray has been selected as the Laramie County School District 1 Teacher of the Year!”

As Murray’s head popped up, she noticed among the special guests were State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow and members of the local media.

“Our dignified guests are here to help present this award to one of our best and brightest teachers,” Johnson Principal Brian Cox said as he introduced Balow.

“I don’t know Mrs. Murray very well; however, here is what I know about Teachers of the Year,” Balow said. “They don’t get this award because they know the subject matter the best or show up to school on time or they are nice to kids. They get it for all of that.”

Balow added: “Mrs. Murray has built a great relationship with each of you, and you’ve built a great relationship with her. She facilitates your learning. She doesn’t teach at you she learns with you and that’s the mark of a really great teacher.”

Cox added that Murray is an amazing teacher and a person he is comfortable pairing with new student teachers to help show them the ropes.

“I appreciate everything you do for our school and our community,” Cox said.

Murray said she enjoyed having some of her students present to share the joy when she received the award.

“If a 13-year-old deigns to show excitement, you know it is something special,” Murray said. “And that moment truly was special.”

She received additional recognition from the LCSD1 Board of Trustees during their meeting Monday, Aug. 16.

Murray has been in the education field for 20 years and has served at Johnson for more than 15 years. During her time at the school, she has taught seventh- and eighth-grade students in reading, writing, speaking/listening and critical thinking. She served as an instructional coach at Johnson from 2012-2015 before becoming a language arts and publications teacher in 2015.

“It is such a wonderful way to end a challenging past year,” Murray said. “I think I can speak for many teachers when I say it was difficult to teach online and maintain connection and engagement with students. Even with all the changes in protocol this year, it was wonderful to be in the same room as the kids.”

Murray graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Wyoming (UW). She also holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. She has a reading endorsement from UW and is a National Board Certified Teacher.

“This honor speaks to all the support and understanding I have received throughout the years from those around me—colleagues, principals, students and parents,” Murray said. “I have been lucky enough to work with exceptional people, and they share in this award with me.”

Educational Support Person of the Year

2 months ago

Laura-Lee Roberts awarded educational support person of the year


Laura-Lee Roberts was recognized at the June 7 Board of Trustees meeting as Laramie County School District 1’s 2021 Educational Support Person of the Year.

Roberts has been employed with LCSD1 since 2014 serving as a special education paraeducator at Jessup Elementary, where she works with students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

“I believe the most important thing about working with students is to listen to them and build relationships with them,” Roberts said. “We need to teach them how to learn, that they can learn, and that they have the ability to progress. Children need to know that we believe in them and are there to support them on their journey.”

According to Jessup Elementary Principal Dr. Barbara Leiseth, Roberts supervises large groups of students at recess, in the lunchroom and at the bus stop after school. She has also facilitated many reading, writing and math interventions within the school day, as well as before and after school during Extended Day.

“In addition to her resource paraeducator responsibilities, she goes above and beyond to ensure all students feel valued,” Leiseth said. “Mrs. Roberts knows all 265 students and calls them by name. She also knows many of their parents.”

According to Leiseth, Roberts serves as Jessup’s student council adviser. In this role she develops innovative ways for students to serve the community. This year, she helped organize a canned food drive, which provided 3,900 cans of food for those in need. In addition, she attends nearly all of Jessup’s after school and evening events.

“In addition to knowing the students and families, she also knows the staff well,” Leiseth said. “She is always baking her colleagues’ favorites, putting positive notes in their mailboxes or lockers or small gifts on their desks.”

Prior to joining the staff at Jessup, Roberts, whose husband retired from the United States Air Force after 30 years of service, lived in Connecticut, South Carolina, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii, Virginia and Germany. During that time, she served as a family advocate, paraprofessional and worked in behavior support with students in preschool through high school.

Roberts holds an associate’s degree in therapeutic recreation from Northwestern Connecticut Community College.

“Receiving this award has made me think of all the people along the way that believed in me and taught me how to be a better person and educator,” Roberts said. “I think of all the students I have worked with and hope that I have impacted them in a positive way. I feel blessed to have loved what I do every day. I want to thank Dr. Leiseth and all the people at Jessup and LCSD1 for your support and look forward to many more years in this amazing job!”