Special Education Teacher – Sage Elementary
Sage Elementary’s Leslie Murray has taught special education for 35 years, six in Washington State and 29 in Redmond. Before jumping into the special education world, Leslie was originally interested in pursuing animal science, but as she explains it, “one visit to a pediatric residential facility changed that path. A career as an educator had not crossed my mind until spending time with a little boy with big barriers.”
Leslie notes that a former professor once advised her to “get a general education license, the burn-out rate for special educators is five years.” She is proud to have defied the odds by some 30 years.
Nominated by her colleagues, Leslie was recently honored as an “Outstanding Teacher Leader” for the 2018-19 school year at the district’s annual Educator Leadership Banquet.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
Without sounding altruistic, we have the most important asset in our care, the next generation of our community members. When those members are presented with barriers to personal success and independence, it is our priority to ensure that their growth firmly places them on a path of success. The indication of positive progress toward that growth is what I call the “oh moment”. When the word “Ohhh!” is spoken, or shown, that is the most rewarding part of the job.
What are you proudest of at this point in your career?
Watching students grow in academic and social/emotional skills and witnessing their realization of that growth is the fuel that keeps the teacher “engine” flowing. Without doubt, visiting with former students who are now successful community members is the most rewarding, even if they don’t necessarily remember your name. You know, and hope, you have had a part in contributing to that success. It is an honor to serve.
Hmmm, where to begin. Spending time with my family is the biggest enjoyment for me. We all spend time gardening, caring for animals, animals, animals, oh did I forget to mention, animals? I guess the animal science part of me is still there.
We also enjoy camping, sewing, crafts and riding around in classic cars.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Together with my husband, I have had the honor and privilege of raising two amazing young woman who attended the Redmond School District. I have often said, the best thing that happened to me as a teacher was to become a parent and the best thing to happen to me as a parent was to be a teacher. We have many fond memories of school events and have made special lifelong teacher friends in the Redmond Schools. Through the dedication of some amazing folks, we can now say, these future leaders are successfully launched.
What they had to say about Leslie
Diana Poe – Sage Elementary School ERC EA
Great Integrity! Diligent, thoughtful, compassionate, kind, very organized and structured. High dedication to her students, her job and her family.
Aurora Smith – 1st Grade Teacher & Sage Leadership Team Member
She is one of the most eloquent women I know. She has a way of speaking where everyone stops and listens. She can say “what needs to be said” without offending or talking down to colleagues and parents. It has been a privilege working with her.
Heidi Hall – Sage Elementary School Head Secretary
Leslie devotes her day to making every individual feel treasured. She treats every student equally and makes sure they have what is needed to be successful. She is a true blessing to so many.
Sandy Stevens – RSD IEP Support Specialist (formerly Sage Elementary School ERC EA)
She is one of THE BEST role models and mentors out there!