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Thomas Lay Burroughs Award

Burroughs Award Goes to Des Plaines President

Brenda Murphy, board president of Community Consolidated School District 62, was named the winner of the 2013 Thomas Lay Burroughs Award.  

The Illinois State Board of Education’s Vinni Hall and Curt Bradshaw presented the award on Nov. 24 during the final day of the IASB/IASA/IASBO Joint Annual Conference. In introducing the Burroughs Award winner, Bradshaw commented on the difficult duties facing school board presidents.

“This is a position that requires tough decisions and many sleepless nights,” he said.  

Murphy was nominated by district Superintendent Jane Westerhold, district superintendent, and her fellow board members for the Burroughs Award, which honors the state’s top school board president. In their nomination letter, Murphy’s colleagues refer to her as a “visionary leader who exhibits the utmost courage, integrity, and tenacity.”

Murphy credits District 62 accomplishments to the strong teamwork exhibited by members of the local board of education who share her belief that their primary focus must be on student achievement.   Her formula for success is exemplified by the decline in the district’s achievement gap from 28 to 14 percent during an eight-year period from 2004 to 2012.

“This award may have my name on it, but it took a team to win this award. This honor is for the entire District 62 Board of Education,” Murphy said. “Over the years we have had to make some really tough decisions, but the input from everyone has allowed us to make those difficult decisions. We speak with one voice and we work together for our children.”

Under Murphy’s leadership the board has gone above and beyond required standards. The District 62 board of education has adopted Guiding Principles for Teaching and Learning, identifying 21 st Century competencies and skills that students should possess.

She said the district has also been ahead of the curve in putting in place the Charlotte Danielson Framework for evaluating teachers, the Professional Learning Communities Framework, and an early adopter of the Common Core State Standards.

A passionate advocate for early childhood education, Murphy led the way for the development of an Early Learning Center that now serves over 600 early learning students, including English Language Learners, special need students, and at-risk youth.

Murphy thanked her family, the District 62 board, and the Des Plaines community for the achievement. “We have such a wonderful district and community. It is so exciting to be involved with people doing such wonderful things for our children,” she said.

Brenda Murphy has served nine of her 14 years on the District 62 board as president.

CCSD 62 serves more than 5,000 K-8 grade students in the Des Plaines and Rosemont communities. The district educates students in 11 buildings and provides Early Learning Centers at three locations throughout the district.

The Burroughs Award for extraordinary educational leadership was created in 1991 in memory of the late chairman of the ISBE who also served as president of the Collinsville CUSD 10 board.  


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