By Matthew Sockol
A pre-kindergarten teacher in the Upper Freehold Regional School District is retiring after more than 30 years of service in the district.
Andrea Murphy, a pre-kindergarten teacher at the Newell Elementary School, Allentown, will retire at the end of the current school year.
Murphy has taught in the district for 36 years and joined the school staff when the building was called the Upper Freehold Regional Elementary School.
“When I began teaching in the school 36 years ago, I never imagined how much fulfillment I would find here,” Murphy said. “Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life. Well, I have truly loved teaching here in this wonderful community.”
The Board of Education accepted Murphy’s retirement request on April 19.
“Mrs. Murphy has dedicated the past 36 years of her life to molding the minds of children,” Principal Kelly Huggins said. “She has taught children that learning is fun through meaningful hands-on activities that allow children to explore, express themselves and succeed.
“If you know Mrs. Murphy, you know she has never missed dressing for a holiday, never missed a day of singing with her students and teaching them valuable lessons that will last them a lifetime,” Huggins said. “The energy, laughter and love that Mrs. Murphy brings to her classroom on a daily basis will be greatly missed by all.”
“Mrs. Murphy has dedicated her entire career to bringing joy to the hearts of her students and colleagues,” Superintendent of Schools Richard Fitzpatrick said. “She has shared the joy of learning how to read, how to number objects, how to appreciate the world our children live in, the wonders of weather, kitchen chemistry, how plants grow and how animals survive.
“She has shared the joy of making new friends, learning how to make kids feel loved and comfortable away from home,” Fitzpatrick said. “She teaches them that even after a long day of learning, she will make certain everyone goes home happy and on the correct big yellow bus to take them home.
“She spreads joy in drawing pictures, singing songs and wearing special clothes to school that make all of us want to figure out what she is up to next. Mrs. Murphy spreads joy to little people, big people, friends, strangers and guests who surround her every day,” Fitzpatrick said.
“She can tease the superintendent, the staff, the secretaries, the principal, her fellow teachers and make all of us smile until we see her leave to get ready for important things like family bingo night, PTA meetings or St. Patrick’s Day.
“Most importantly, Mrs. Murphy brings joy to our hearts because she loves all of her students, all of her colleagues, all of her parents and every member of the school community,” Fitzpatrick said. “I can’t think of a bigger legacy in life than being known by everyone as the Queen of Joy. We will miss her and although she will be gone, she will never be forgotten.”