Breadcrumb Navigation

School Board Recognition Month - Sarah McMurrough shares enthusiasm for Arlington ISD
Posted in on January 11, 2022

Sarah McMurrogh is a Bowie HS grad

January is School Board Recognition Month and this year’s theme is Rising Above. Our Arlington ISD Board of Trustees has been rising to meet challenges throughout 2021 and into 2022. We wanted to get their thoughts on what they’ve learned in helping lead a district of more than 56,000 students and 8,000 employees.

Name: Sarah McMurrough

Board member since: May of 2021

〉What are your ties to the Arlington ISD?

My relationship with AISD started when I was a student! I graduated from Bowie High School with the best education and school memories imaginable. I was raised most of my childhood by a single mom, and it was actually my teachers here in AISD that opened so many doors for me and even inspired me to be a teacher here. After graduating with my elementary education degree from Texas State University, I zoomed right back home to start my teaching career here. I taught fourth grade in AISD for 12 wonderful years (seven years at Hale Elementary and five years at Little Elementary), served as a family engagement liaison, supported our curriculum and instruction department as a member of the cadre, and sponsored after-school student organizations. Today, I am a proud mom to a second grader in AISD and a school board trustee serving the first year of my first term!

Why did you run for the school board?

I genuinely wanted to give back to the school district that gave so much to me as a child and as an educator. Given my passions and past experiences, serving on the board was the route I believed would increase my capacity to influence the lives of children and the adults that mold and shape them. What also pushed me was the timing. We were facing so many unforeseen circumstances due to the pandemic, and I knew that providing insight straight from the classroom into the boardroom would help our district grow. I heard the calling louder and louder until I finally asked my husband, “Do you think our last name would be too long to fit on a campaign sign?” (It was a tight squeeze, but it all worked out.)

The theme for School Board Recognition month this year is Rising Above. How are we as a district rising above, even as we face unprecedented challenges?

If you are reading this and you are part of Arlington ISD, you are most definitely rising above! Two years ago, the words SeeSaw, Canvas, Zoom, synchronous and asynchronous took on totally different meanings. In fact, we didn’t even know the meanings to some of those terms! When the pandemic hit, our teachers, staff and administrators pulled out all the stops to keep our kids’ bellies and brains fed: free meal distributions, Zoom lessons, learning what Canvas is via Canvas course, surprise porch drop-offs, you name it. I mean it when I say that I am in awe of our teachers and staff. Not even a global pandemic could stop them from reaching and teaching our kids. We also couldn’t have pulled it off without the incredible support and flexibility of our parents and families or our invaluable community partners. We don’t always see it this way, but these times have brought us together even more than they’ve kept us apart. Although this school year is still far from “normal,” we can now take the silver linings, lessons learned and simple blessings within our daily lives to not ever take it for granted again and move forward together for the sake of our kids. We do it because we’re strong enough, and we do it because that’s what they deserve. 

The board has been working on a new strategic plan for the district. Is there an aspect of the plan or planning process that you are particularly excited about?

I love that our new strategic plan prioritizes our people. It’s people, not programs, that will ultimately drive the success of our school district. From reducing teacher burnout to ensuring all students have access to specialized programs to prioritizing the overall well-being of our students and staff, the components of our strategic plan are truly special because it’s all about growing and supporting our people. I’m also excited about the fact that our new strategic plan is a living document. If something needs tweaking within this five-year span, we’re ready to monitor and adjust. I can’t wait for the work to take flight and do my part as a trustee to ensure that it all funnels down into what’s best for our people (especially our students)!

As you have visited schools and attended district events this school year, what has inspired you?

There’s nothing quite like having a front-row seat at our high school graduations. Seeing the look on each graduate’s face as they cross that stage is something that will always stay with me, and I’ve even had the pleasure of being reunited with some of my former fourth graders as they achieve this milestone! I watch them as they walk, hear their family members cheering them on through happy tears and think, “This is what it’s all about!” I so enjoy sharing this experience with my colleagues, my hands get sore from all the clapping and I dream of when I’ll get to see my own two sons cross that stage. I’m reminded that those days will be here before I know it, and as a parent, I want to make every moment count. I don’t know if I’ve ever been more inspired! 

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

Serving the Arlington Independent School District in this capacity during this critical time is a high honor and a great responsibility that I don’t take lightly. I honestly believe that there are no limits to what we can accomplish if we work together. I wake up each day feeling beyond blessed with the opportunities to support students and staff through my profession and through my service as a trustee, and I look forward to a wonderful year of giving it my all!