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Dr. Murray juggles concerns of the Grady community

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Dr. Murray juggles concerns of the Grady community

Dr. Murray reviews state standards with Ms. Stovall, the social worker.

Dr. Murray reviews state standards with Ms. Stovall, the social worker.

Dr. Murray reviews state standards with Ms. Stovall, the social worker.

Dr. Murray reviews state standards with Ms. Stovall, the social worker.

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Dr. Murray reviews state standards with Ms. Stovall, the social worker.

Dr. Murray reviews state standards with Ms. Stovall, the social worker.

Megan Cramer

Feature Editor (1995)

Walking into Dr. Vincent Murray’s office, one might see a cluttered haven of papers, books, and more papers. Towering stacks of papers are on the table behind his desk, and stray stacks lie haphazardly all over the room, forcing the principal to climb his way to and from his desk like a mountain climber scaling a cliff. In an effort to clean up, folders and stray papers have been thrown into a box on the side of the desk. Behind that desk sits the soft-spoken but decisive man that runs Grady High School.

Before 8:30 AM on an average Tuesday morning, Grady’s principal has already dealt with many problems. Custodians had not swept or cleaned the second floor, and science teacher Ms. Delphia Bryant came down to Dr. Murray’s office to complain.

A memo on Dr. Murray’s laden desk reminded him he was asked to find two student to participate on a calendar committee being formed by the superintendent to design the next school year’s calendar. He called Ms. Pat Kelly to his office to suggest two students.

While Ms. Kelly was in the office, Dr. Murray wanted to discuss specific student. He was very concerned with a student who he described as “very articulate and bright” but was stuck in the wrong classes. He knew the student needed a stronger English teacher, so he searched the list of English classes but was not satisfied with his options, and turned away with disgust. “I have to go back to the drawing board,” he said. He wanted to give the student the opportunity to be “nurtured.”

Right as Ms. Kelly left, Ms. Judy Powell, Volunteer Coordinator, rushed into the office wanting to know what information to give the PTSA. He told her to talk about Grady’s nomination as a National School of Excellence, the Grady Forensic League being the named the top National Forensics League in the chapter, and the schools of excellence banquet.

Waiting in the lobby were two women from CINS (Council of Intown Neighborhoods and Schools). They were interested in organizing a staff development day with math and science teachers from middle and high schools. Dr. Murray was very excited about this prospect. “We need the dialogue because if they don’t know what we’re doing over here, they won’t know how to prepare them. . . . I’d like to see a math and a science teacher teaching class together,” Dr. Murray said.

The next guests to the office were a mother and her son. The boy had been suspended for five days for gambling and was appealing the decision. All appeals come to the principal. After listening to the boy’s story attentively and checking with Coach Douglas Slade and Mr. Robert Robbins, both in charge of discipline, Dr. Murray overturned the suspension because the charge was not airtight. The alleged dice had not been seized. Dr. Murray gave the student a “control card” so his conduct could be documented and Murray could keep track of his behavior.

Another student came in and requested readmittance after being dismissed for fighting. Dr. Murray re-admitted her and again assigned a control card.

The rest of the morning included a trip to the library to get state standards that he must update, followed by an authoritative walk through the halls before second period. Then back in the office, he distributed memos to faculty members. Finished with what was on his desk, Dr. Murray sat at his lap top computer (he doesn’t have a big computer, even though he has applied to the system for one) to type a letter to terminate the employment of some custodial workers.

At the beginning of third period Dr. Murray climbed to the second floor to slip into Mr. David Strickland’s ecology class for an observation. Of the formal and informal evaluations that principals are required to do, this was an informal one. One of the most important things Dr. Murray looks for in a classroom is stimulation: “If I get bored, I know the kids must be getting bored.” However, in Mr. Strickland’s class, he was slightly distracted by the fact that the filing cabinet was blocking the doorway, creating a hazard.

Before going to lunch, Dr. Murray had to go into Mr. Robbin’s office to deal with two young men who had been charged with stealing a coat. Dr. Murray knew the situation was not really in his domain because it was so cut-and-dried, and began to leave, but before doing so, he suggested separating the boys into different schools.

After lunch (Dr. Murray usually doesn’t eat lunch), a formal evaluation was in order for Mr. Alexander Giller, German and Russian teacher. Dr. Murray wrote comments and suggestions about teaching style and how the teacher related to the students. He writes up his comments and meets with teachers later for suggestions.

After coming back to his office, his day was not even beginning to come to a close. Dr. Murray was approached by a student who asked for a nomination. Afterwards, Ms. Powell came in again  to discuss what the school wanted to do for the Georgia School of Excellence interview. Dr. Murray mused over incentives for students’ mid-semester performances. His eyes lit up as he explained excitedly his plans to reward people for earning high mid-semester grades. He suggested giving T-shirts to students who show academic improvement at Grady.

At the end of the day, Dr. Murray sighs deeply and turns out the light. The desk hasn’t improved, but the problems of the day have taken a step towards resolution.

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Dr. Murray juggles concerns of the Grady community