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Angela Murphy: Building new spaces and knocking down walls

Year: 2020 — Province: New Brunswick
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

North and South Esk Regional High School
English, social studies, health, language arts, math, technology, grade 8
Sunny Corner, New Brunswick

When she dreams up something beautiful for our school or her students, she attacks it with the determination of a sprinter locked in a dead heat right before the finish line; the 'Rocky" theme song is definitely playing in the background.


When Angela Murphy sees a need, she steps in to fill it—whether she is applying for grants, petitioning administrators for laptops, or supervising sports teams or a school dance. She also encourages others to follow in her footsteps, as she did when she guided students to research economic development and then present their ideas to the local municipal review planning committee.

Teaching approach

With a master's degree in education in information technology, Angela embraces opportunities to help students build creative products and address real-world issues. She is also a keen advocate for personalization in education.

STEM in the classroom

  • Supports online learning: has acquired classroom laptops, an interactive TV, iPads and dual-monitor computer stations; those devices underpin a more expansive online learning program than would normally be possible in a small rural school.
  • Developed personalized math curriculum: pre-tests students to assign relevant outcomes; once they master outcomes, they move to the next at own pace; approach makes it easier for teachers to identify learning gaps; Grade 7 students had highest scores in the district on provincial assessment.
  • Ran a cross-curricular social studies unit on Atlantic Canada: students built interactive map with lights and voice recordings; learned to solder, code and wire and were so engrossed in their work that they missed breaks; they hit multiple outcomes and Angela learned new skills, too.

Outstanding achievements

  • Created a school makerspace: retrofitted science lab with equipment for 3D printing, soldering, sewing, button-making, virtual reality programming, vinyl cutting, heat pressing and coding; supports entrepreneurial classes and project-based learning.
  • Fosters teacher collaboration: middle school teachers prep together each day and brainstorm in common space; Angela had walls between classrooms knocked down so teachers can co-teach; renovated rooms and bought flexible seating.
  • Focuses on student mental health: built a wellness room with soft light and puzzles as a calming retreat for students.
  • Initiated a school community garden, securing a $50,000 grant to do so; students and community members built greenhouse, sheds, garden beds and a water catchment system; students plant and harvest produce, while learning about and addressing local food security needs.

Get in touch!

North and South Esk Regional High School
40 North West Road
Sunny Corner NB  E9E 1J4

Facebook: @North-South-Esk-Regional-NSER-354105531388617/

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