Skip to main content

The City Journals

Murray School District’s six employees and a volunteer receive honors

Mar 20, 2019 02:43PM ● By Julie Slama

Murray School District’s five teachers, an employee, and a volunteer are recognized with Murray Education Foundation’s Pinnacle awards.

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Murray High skilled and technology education teacher Quinn Drury was teaching his first period advanced woods class, going over their planning sheets — a cost breakdown of their projects — when in walked the administration, followed by school board and foundation members, and his family.

“I didn’t know if I was in trouble or if I was good,” he said. “They all just kept coming in, and coming in, and coming in.”

Drury’s advanced students, many who were planning night stands, dining tables and dressers, were included in the announcement that he was one of five teachers, a classified employee and a volunteer, who Murray Education Foundation will honor at its 16th annual Pinnacle Awards.

“It’s way kind, nice, humbling,” Drury said. “There are a lot of good teachers at Murray. This really sets me back.”

The seven Pinnacle award-winners were slated to receive a statuette, $500 and a gift basket of items from area community and business leaders at the invited-guest dinner, created by Murray High ProStart students, at a gala on March 14 at the high school. Murray Chick-fil-A franchise owner Andrew Allman will be the emcee.

The Pinnacle award-winning teachers, in addition to Drury, include Riverview Jr. High English teacher Jen Duehlmeier, who has taught in the district for 13 years; Hillcrest Jr. High math teacher Crystal Fish, who has taught in the district for 18 years; Parkside Elementary kindergarten teacher Rachelle Peterson, who has taught in the district for 31 years and McMillan Elementary third-grade teacher Christy Vuyk, who has taught in the district for 21 years.

The Pinnacle classified employee winner is Fidel Garcia, who is the head custodian at Grant Elementary and worked in the district for 25 years and the outstanding volunteer is Jamie Hunter who helps at Liberty Elementary.

Drury, who has taught for 23 years and has received teaching awards for teaching concurrent enrollment and carpentry, said that he was inspired by his former Bingham teachers Lynn Demill and Clay Butterfield, to become an educator. Now, he finds his passion in his students.

“I like empowering kids to find success and teach technical and life skills to do just that,” he said.

Last year, Drury’s student, Jeb Price, was a state Skills USA winner, who competed nationally. Drury has taught five state winners, who have placed in the top 10 nationally – two which finished just off the podium in fourth place. 

Drury also has overseen nine completed project houses, where students gain real-world experience from scheduling, estimating and subcontracting to learning how to build the home each step of the way – framing, cement work, roofing, drywall, painting, putting in hardwood floors and cabinetry. 

Drury is just one example of many of the dedicated educators selected this year, said Superintendent Jen Covington.

“We are so proud of each of our Pinnacle Award recipients,” she said. “In their own individual ways, they have each challenged our students, encouraged our students and supported our Murray schools. We thank them for seeing the faces of our students in all that they do and giving them positive opportunities to learn and grow. They are a vital part of our ‘We Are Murray’ spirit.” 

Jeanne Habel, Foundation executive director, said each Pinnacle award winner is nominated by a Murray community, family or school district member. A committee of community members selected the winners based on the nomination. 

“Recognition through Pinnacle Award nominations is a great opportunity for the community to be actively involved in showing appreciation to highly deserving individuals,” she said. “Pinnacle Award winners are incredible professionals and volunteers who make a huge a difference for so many in the Murray City School District.”