Voice Recognition

KSBA News Article

Beyond the Board

Beyond the Board

Robin McMurtrey, Metcalfe County Schools

Kentucky School Advocate
May 2023

Q. This is your 29th year of teaching. Can you tell us why you decided to make teaching your career?

From an early age, I thought all my teachers were wonderful. I was so impressed, but also respectful. My sister was my 2nd grade teacher. It was her first year of teaching, and everything about her was what I wanted to be. As I got older, people were like, ‘Oh, you’ll change your mind.’ But I’ve always wanted to help people, and I love children. I always felt that teaching is the most important job in the world because nobody could be anything without teachers.

Q. You’ve taught several grades – 1st, 2nd and 4th – and now you teach kindergarten. Tell me why it is important.

Kids have to start with a good foundation, and it’s a fun and exciting time. A lot of people don’t like teaching kindergarten because they think it is tiring, but every five minutes you’re rewarded with a light bulb moment where you can see, ‘Oh, they’ve got it!’ You can actually, physically see it happening. Everything excites them because it’s all new.

Q. Apparently, you have a lot of energy because your work in education goes way beyond the school day. For one, you coach girls’ volleyball.

I have been coaching high school and middle school volleyball for 29 years. In the past, I coached three girls’ sports – basketball, softball and volleyball – but, when I transferred to Barren County, I decided to take a break and just coach volleyball. We have three levels at the high school and then 7th and 8th grade teams at our middle school.

Q. Why is being a coach as well as a teacher important to you?

Girls need somebody who’s had the same pathway as they’ve had. They need to be empowered and to feel like somebody’s on their side. We may not win every game, but we’re going to be successful and be good human beings and good citizens. I want them to get more out of it than ‘I can play a sport.’

Q. In addition to coaching, you serve on the Metcalfe County school board. How does teaching in Barren County help you as you serve as a board member?

I believe every school board should have an educator. An educator knows the ins and outs, the lingo and acronyms, how to read reports and what somebody means when they’re asking a question. We have great board members but they don’t have the ins and outs of everyday education. So I can say, ‘Here's what this means, this is what they’re asking, this is what this report is telling us.’ They’ll always ask me, ‘What’s your professional opinion.’

Q. You also serve on the alumni association board for Midway University. Why is that important?

I had the best college experience. I played three sports and traveled to every state. We had so many exchange students. My friends were from all over the world. I was so welcomed and so well educated. I need to do what I can for them also. I still have two years left before I have to get off for a year or two and then I can get back on. I send a lot of my kids, my high school kids, there for tryouts.

Q. So how do you find time for all these commitments?

I don’t really sleep a lot. I’m not married and don’t have children so that helps. I do have an English bulldog that I love dearly. Her name is Eleanor, for Eleanor Roosevelt, and she goes everywhere with me. She spends a lot of time in the gym.

Getting to know

Kindergarten teacher, Hiseville Elementary (Barren County Schools)

Hometown: Summer Shade

Family: Five sisters who all live near me and are my best friends

Favorite subject: Science      

Hobbies: Hiking, reading and acting

Book recommendation: Every teacher should read “The Thread That Runs So True” by Jesse Stuart. It was written long ago but people really aren’t any different. Our world is just different. School board members should read “Wooden on Leadership” by Coach John Wooden. It’s not just about basketball but how you interact with and lead people.

Interesting fact: I have acted in community theater since 1986 in plays at the Barn Lot Theater in Edmonton. I’ll be in a show this coming February. I try to do at least one production a year. I love comedy, and my favorite role has been Annelle in Steel Magnolias. Also, on weekends, I run Ralphie’s Fun Center in Glasgow. My friends own it and I’ve worked there since it opened 11 years ago. I had planned to quit after I helped them get started. Tomorrow, we have 22 birthday parties. It’s a fun place.

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