Congratulations to Lisa Murray for being named a Building Bridges Outstanding Educator Award through the Grant Wood Area Education Agency (GWAEA)! Lisa is one of four educators from across the GWAEA area recognized for demonstrating exceptional knowledge and use of assistive technology with students in the classroom. Lisa is a Special Education Teacher at Vinton-Shellsburg Community School District’s Tilford Elementary School.
The award was given to Murray on Tuesday, April 21, during a Grant Wood AEA Facebook Live presentation.
The Grant Wood AEA staff awards recognition to general or special education educators or building teams that promote access for all students using accessible and assistive technology and augmentative communication. Murray follows the lead of fellow VSCSD colleagues, Patricia Lough and Jane Stolen, who have also received this honor in past years.
“Lisa thoughtfully considers her students’ needs and what strategies and tools should be used to support learning across curricular areas. Lisa’s leadership skills are most impressive as she guides her paraprofessionals on the use of appropriate strategies as well as the importance of using students’ augmentative or alternative communication (ACC) systems across daily routines” stated Julie Freed, M.S., CCC-SLP who is a GWAEA AAC Resource Team Lead. (ACC includes any form of communication other than oral speech.)
Freed continued, “Lisa’s high expectations for her students, paras, and herself have manifested in amazing gains in communication for her students. Lisa has led her team in learning and modeling of AAC
systems across activities, communication partners, and settings. Lisa has made core vocabulary boards available all over Tilford Elementary and AAC systems are sure to be with students at all times. Lisa is thoughtful and wonderful to collaborate with. She has a desire to continue to learn best practices when it comes to communication supports and implements these practices with fidelity. Lisa is an advocate for her students and an amazing teacher and colleague!”
Mary Jo Hainstock, VSCSD’s Superintendent, said, “Our students and their families have benefited from Mrs. Murray’s expertise and passion for serving. Even during our current closure, she meets with her students and their parents to support their learning.”
Murray graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) from ISU and went on to receive a Master’s in Special Education. Her endorsements include Strategist I and Strategist II. She has taught ECSE for 19 years, including time in the Audubon and Storm Lake school districts, as well as her time at Tilford Elementary.
Murray says, “I am passionate about my students and love to see them learn! With our move to Humboldt, I will now be teaching Early Elementary Special Education at Mease Elementary in Humboldt.”
Congratulations to Lisa Murray on this well-deserved honor!
For more information about the Vinton-Shellsburg Community School District, please visit www.vscsd.org.