Trustee McMurrough is also an Arlington ISD parent
Today, we’re catching up with board member Sarah McMurrough. The former Arlington ISD teacher has been on the board since 2021 and is the board secretary.
As a parent of current Arlington ISD students, do you think you see things through a different lens as a board member?
Although I’m serving in the role of a board member, I bring the perspective of an Arlington ISD parent, Arlington ISD alumni and former Arlington ISD teacher of 12 years. Our entire board is made up of (current or former) Arlington ISD parents, and it is a wonderful thing to serve alongside others with that genuine, vested interest in the success of our school district. The parent lens certainly has its benefits to board service, but I think it’s critical to couple that with continuous learning and intentional listening to other parents and caregivers. In addition to my two boys, there are 55,000+ other children who are counting on me to do so!
What is your excitement level with Dr. Smith coming in as the new superintendent?
It is a bit surreal to have finally found our fit after a yearlong search, but I have every confidence that he is indeed the very best person to lead our school district into our next chapter! In addition to his robust experiences as an educator, his qualities and attributes are spot on with the type of leader we need here in Arlington ISD. I am especially excited about his first order of business, which is to listen and learn.
How would you describe everything that happened in 2023 with the leadership transition?
When Dr. Cavazos shared the news that he’d be retiring, he told us that he had every faith that our board had what it took to make the right decision. At that time, it was honestly very hard (for me) to imagine Arlington ISD under the leadership of anyone else, but I knew deep down that we were up to the task. I felt it was important to involve our Arlington ISD employees and community at large, and we had our search firm facilitate several in-person and virtual opportunities for all stakeholders to provide input. The big win was that the board’s vision for our next superintendent really aligned with the large trends of the input we received, so we were strongly calibrated on the leadership profile before we even had candidates to consider! I did not anticipate the path getting to our destination to have all the curves, bumps and even roadblocks that it did, and I certainly didn’t anticipate the search taking a whole year! However, our teachers and staff were exceptional in how they handled the transition. Our board dared and cared enough to give the search all we had and keep our focus on what was best for our school district because we know how critical this decision was. I have to hand it to Dr. C; he was right all along.
You’ve been on the board for almost three years now. Has your perspective changed during that time?
I’ve always held the core belief that all children can learn at high levels, and my goal as a trustee is to ensure that each child has access to that experience here in Arlington ISD. I have always answered the call to keep our children at the forefront of my board service, but in my third year, I’ve gained more knowledge and experience around how to really fill my capacity in doing so. School board meetings are a small fraction of how an involved trustee’s time is spent, and I owe it to our kids and community to be heavily involved. (Also, I love it!) I’ve had the honor of advocating for our school district at our state’s Capitol, visiting dozens of schools and facilities, staying in close communication with our amazing teachers and staff, conversing with constituents through coffees and calls, facilitating Trustee Talks, learning through professional development, sharing moments with families that range from grief to celebration, team building with other board members, and of course, hiring Arlington ISD’s next superintendent. I’m aware of the implications our board service has on students, staff, the community at large, and our future, and the sense of responsibility and honor I feel has remained constant since day one!
The theme for the month is locally elected, community connected. How important is community support to you?
Each day I feel grateful to have been elected to serve, and when I think of community support, what I appreciate most of all is how our community comes through time and time again for our kids. Our students here in Arlington ISD thrive and reach incredible heights because of the community that surrounds them and supports them. This includes parents, grandparents, educators, support staff, local organizations, faith-based groups, neighbors, local businesses and beyond! From the passing of our 2019 Bond Package to Rotary Club chapters that adopt schools to our Arlington ISD Education Foundation to everything in-between, I am constantly inspired by the ways Arlington comes through for our youth. So, if I had to sum it up, community support means everything!