The community advisory committee that is reviewing the name of Virginia L. Murray Elementary School is urging all members of the school community to participate in the review process. The committee has designed and published an online survey that asks residents for suggestions for names, including retaining the school’s current name. The survey can be accessed at https://survey.k12insight.com/r/jmyol1 and will remain active for three weeks.
The committee will use the results of the survey to conduct an online community meeting on the evening of Wednesday, February 10. The committee will publish the results of the survey prior to the meeting and will seek public comment during the meeting, which will be conducted via the Zoom platform.
Following the February meeting, the committee will reconvene to select up to 10 of the suggested names, which will be the subject of a second community survey and community meeting. Based on this feedback and their subsequent deliberations, the committee will choose three names as finalists, eventually recommending one name to Dr. Matthew Haas, the school division’s Superintendent. In turn, Haas will make his recommendation to the School Board, which ultimately will decide on the school’s name. If different from Virginia L. Murray, the new name would take effect on July 1.
“The community response to our mission has been extraordinary,” said Teller Stalfort, the parent of a Murray student and the committee’s chair. “We have 17 representatives serving on our committee, including those with direct ties to the school, school alumni, and those who do not currently have children attending Murray Elementary. We are hoping the survey will add to the diversity of the opinions we receive and to the quality of our process and decision,” she said.
As noted on the school’s website, the school was named for Virginia L. Murray in 1960. Ms. Murray was born in Albemarle County in 1897. She attended school in the county as an elementary school student and later began her teaching career in a one-room schoolhouse in Cobham, Virginia. She served as demonstration teacher until 1931 when she was appointed as the first black supervisor in Albemarle County.
If the advisory committee selects the current school name as one of its three finalists, the school division’s naming policy requires the committee to examine if Virginia L. Murray made contributions of local, state, national or worldwide significance. It also requires committee members to determine if her personal and professional conduct exemplified the school division’s values of excellence, young people, community and respect.
“When you name a school, you are highlighting what is important or inspirational about its community. We'll ask ourselves what is meaningful about our school, our community, our area, our commitment to education, our values,” Stalfort explained.
Two members of the school’s faculty, Hollins Mills and Laura Richardson, are leading a student committee that will design activities to keep their peers informed of the advisory committee’s progress and to elicit name suggestions.
“Our student committee, representing all grade levels K-5, parallels and supports the work of the community committee,” said Richardson. “Students are exploring our school’s history and working on survey distribution and maximizing community engagement. This is an excellent opportunity for students to be active citizens in their community,” she added.
Updates regarding the Murray Elementary School Naming Review are accessible on the school division’s School Naming Review website, along with current information on all school naming reviews. Community members with questions or suggestions about the Virginia L. Murray naming review can email the advisory committee at SchoolNamingReview@k12albemarle.org.
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer