Hayley Murphy – second grade teacher, St. Thomas the Apostle School
Nominated by: Jack Mansour
How long have you been teaching at St. Thomas?
I have been teaching for two years at
St. Thomas and I absolutely love working with this age group. I attended St. Thomas from kindergarten to eighth grade. I actually replaced my second-grade teacher, Mrs. Mills, when I accepted this position. It’s been a full circle for me to come back to STA as a teacher.
How do you feel about becoming a Teacher We Love?
I was very surprised and feel incredibly honored to be recognized. When I heard what my student wrote about me, it was a very special moment in my career and I will never forget it!
How long have you been a second grade teacher?
I have been teaching second grade for two years. I have been blessed with meeting so many wonderful families and working with their children. There is something really special about second grade. The children are so loving and impressionable. You truly make a difference in their lives and can be an incredible role model to them.
Have you taught anywhere else?
I taught kindergarten for four years in a small charter school called Benchmark Elementary. I will always have a special place in my heart for kindergarten and the students that I taught there.
Where did you grow up?
I am a born and raised Phoenician. My family grew up in the central Phoenix area where my sisters and I attended Catholic school from kindergarten to 12th grade. I graduated from Grand Canyon University too, so I never left my hometown.
What is your favorite part about being a teacher?
As a teacher, it’s rewarding for me to witness the independence, curiosity and growth that takes place from the beginning to the end of the year with their reading, writing and math skills. My greatest joy is understanding my students’ individual personalities and how they learn best in the classroom. It’s my personal mission to make every student feel valued.
Do you have any unique techniques you use for teaching?
My style of teaching is connecting the material to real world experiences. I think it’s important for kids to see how all subjects relate to one another. I always enjoy putting together lessons that are engaging and creative.
Did you always know you wanted to teach?
Yes, there was a part of me that always knew teaching was my calling. I have a few educators in my family that have shown me the skills it takes to be a great teacher; specifically, the virtue of patience, having a sense of humor, and creating a safe environment. I was very fortunate to have had many amazing teachers that left a lasting impression on me and I’m grateful to all of them.
What is your favorite part of Arcadia?
My husband Jeremy and I live near the area and we love riding our bikes to all the fun restaurants and admiring the beautiful neighborhoods.