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Committee will start Murray Elementary School naming review Tuesday

The fourth school name review in Albemarle County will begin Tuesday.

An advisory committee made up of 16 school and community members has been selected to review the name of Virginia L. Murray Elementary School. They’ll hold an organizational meeting Tuesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

The committee will hold two public meetings to solicit input on potential names for the school, though they can decide to keep the current name. If Murray is among the three finalists, the committee will have to examine her contributions to the community as well as determine if her personal and professional conduct exemplifies the School Board’s current values of excellence, young people, community, and respect, according to the board’s policy.

Following Tuesday’s meeting, the committee will release a survey where school community members can suggest names.

The school opened in 1960 for Black students in first through seventh grades and was desegregated five years later. Virginia Murray was a longtime Black educator in the school system and served as a demonstration teacher until 1931. She then was promoted to supervisor of elementary education, the first Black supervisor ever appointed in Albemarle County.

Murray was born in Albemarle County in 1897 and graduated from Howard University in 1927. At 56, she received her master’s degree from New York University.

Teller Stalfort, the parent of a Murray student, will serve as the committee’s chair.

The other members of the committee include Murray principal Alison Dwier-Selden, social studies lead coach John Hobson; teachers Hollins Mills, Laura Richardson, and Shannon Mueller; parents Miles Davis, Robert Brandt, Anita McGinty, Tolu Odumosu, and Kate Shooter; community members Leslie Ratan and Linda Perriello; and Murray alumni Lorenzo Dickerson, Roosevelt Barbour, Davina Jackson, and Cindy Shepherd.

Barbour was among the first class of students in 1960, the division said in the news release.

Some of the teachers will lead a student committee that will closely work with the advisory committee, will design activities to keep students informed of the process and elicit name suggestions.

The committee will make its recommendation to schools Superintendent Matt Haas, who will then recommend a name to the School Board, which has the final say.

Murray Elementary is the first school in the western feeder pattern to go through the naming review, a process created in 2018 at the direction of the School Board. Of the division’s 25 schools, 14 were named for individuals at that time.


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