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Shannon Murdoch, 2019 Pesky Award for Inspirational Teaching recipient

Boise State University’s College of Education and the Lee Pesky Learning Center will continue the annual tradition of honoring inspirational K-12 teachers at Boise State’s winter commencement ceremony on Dec. 21.

Shannon Murdoch from Mary McPherson Elementary in Meridian, is one of the four recipients, and was nominated by Jessica Willis. The awardees will be recognized on stage during the winter commencement ceremony. Each teacher also will receive $2,000 and their schools each will receive $500.

Willis remembers that her first grade teacher at Ponderosa Elementary always made her feel cared for and special as a student and as a person outside of the classroom.

“Mrs. Murdoch created a safe and positive learning environment that helped me establish a love for learning at a young age,” said Willis. “I would ask her to watch me go across the monkey bars on the playground and she always happily watched and cheered, then put bandaids on my blistered hands after recess.”

Willis returned back to Murdoch for advice as she advanced through school, always knowing her first grade teacher was there for her regardless of her age. As a pre-service teacher, Willis has been placed for her teaching internship at Mary McPherson Elementary where Murdoch is now principal.

“Mrs. Murdoch continues to create that same safe and positive learning environment that I remember in her first grade classroom,” said Willis. “I continue to feel her love and support as I am now pursuing my career in education.”

The Peskys founded the Lee Pesky Learning Center in 1997 in honor of their son Lee, who passed away in 1995 at age 30 from a brain tumor. As a child, Lee had to learn skills to overcome processing dysgraphia, a problem with organizing letters, numbers and works on a line or page. The nonprofit center, headquartered in Boise, serves mainly children and some adults with learning disabilities, as well as those from economically challenged homes. The center also provides educational services for Idaho teachers.

To see previous recipients and learn more about the awards, click on the link below.

Pesky Award for Inspirational Teaching