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Barr Elementary School Principal Named 2019 JPS Administrator of the Year

January 25, 2019

Linda Murray
Linda Murray

Linda Murray, who has served as the principal of Barr Elementary for the past five years, was named the 2019 Administrator of the Year during a surprise celebration on January 23. Her motto "Educate Scholars on Purpose with Purpose," has transformed the culture at the school.

"Due largely to her steadfast leadership and her willingness to enter the playing field as a servant leader, Mrs. Murray gets excellent results," said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Otha Belcher. "In her current position as principal of Barr Elementary, she has led the transformation of the school into a place where students and staff love to come and into a place where high performance is the expectation."

Under her leadership, the school's performance rating increased from a D to a B and has sustained a B rating for two years consecutively. Similarly, the passing rate for Barr students taking the 3rd Grade Summative Assessment improved ten percent in the four years since it was first administered. Additionally, the school has been recognized as a Model PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) School by REACH Mississippi and for School Success by the Mississippi Secretary of State's Office.

Murray has instituted three programs to improve achievement at the school. The first of these is SWAP, or Students With Amazing Parents. As the name suggests, it is a parent involvement initiative that gives them a chance to experience the school-day life of an elementary student. The BackPack Program, a partnership with the Mississippi Food Network and Christ United Methodist Church, provides backpacks filled with food to every student every week. In doing so, it addresses academic risks brought on by food and housing instability. I Read to the Principal makes Fridays at Barr very special. Students are randomly selected to spend time reading with the principal and, in the process, bonding with her. The programs Murray has implemented have resulted in improved self-esteem and sense of community among students. Student attendance rates have increased and behavior referrals have decreased.

Otha Belcher, Linda Murray, Errick Greene, Freddrick Murray
Participating in the Administrator of the Year Ceremony at Barr Elementary School on January 23 were (from left) Assistant Superintendent Dr. Otha Belcher, honoree Linda Murray, Superintendent Dr. Errick L. Greene, and Deputy Superintendent Dr. Freddrick Murray.

Over the course of Murray's 22-year career, she has served in Jackson Public Schools as a teacher assistant, teacher, literacy coach, instructional specialist, and building administrator. She was named the Teacher of the Year at Oak Forest Elementary in 2004 and was named Division Assistant Principal of the Year in 2013.

As the 2018-2019 JPS Administrator of the Year, Murray will be considered with other outstanding administrators across the state for the Mississippi Administrator of the Year.

Thanks to the generous support of our community, Murray's Administrator of the Year gift package included the following:

  • The Administrator of the Year plaque, sponsored by Trustmark Bank.
  • A complimentary overnight stay at The Residence Inn at The District.
  • Two complimentary tickets to the Mavis Staples concert on March 22, donated by Thalia Mara Hall.
  • A $50 gift card to Fine and Dandy Restaurant at The District.
  • An assortment of office supplies courtesy of the RECH foundation.

Jackson Public Schools had three additional outstanding finalists for Administrator of the Year. They were:

  • Lekeisha Sutton, Principal of Lake Elementary
  • Vicki Conley, Principal of Dawson Elementary
  • Quita Breland, Principal of Kirksey Middle

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