Oak Ridge teaching student wins Exemplary Educator award

Passion, sensitivity, shine through her work.
Published: Nov. 6, 2020 at 3:21 PM EST
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OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Alexis Alsup’s face lights up when she talks about a party hosted by her former teacher in the after-school program at ARC Anderson County. “Lots of cookies and watch an Elf movie.”

Her mother, Karen Alsup is grateful for the compassion of the young woman who just won the ARC Tennessee Exemplary Educator award even before finishing her college teaching degree. Describing Jenna Murphy, Alsup said, “Just not a teacher. She is a friend. And she’s just amazing, she’s awesome!” ARC advocates for people with special needs and provides educational opportunities.

Former ARC Anderson County Board President Ginny Miceli nominated Murphy for the award that was announced in a virtual ceremony this week. “She’s a wonderful human being and the kids absolutely love her!”

Organizers and parents all describe Murphy as a natural teacher who has a way of caring for students and being creative. “Patience of Job and then some,” said Alsup. “And she is just amazingly calm and is excellent at what she does. She’s able to reach these kids in a way that they think they’re having fun, but they’re really learning.”

Murphy said it’s the special needs students who inspire her, and she admires their tenacity. “Each day that I walked into those buildings I was learning something, they were teaching me and that’s what I loved about it. It wasn’t harder, it was just an extra blessing.”

Because of the pandemic, ARC Anderson County has been offering virtual programs for the time being. They have included Zoom lesson time with a teacher like Murphy, with supplies delivered to their homes for use in the lessons.

ARC accepts donations and volunteer help.

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