Merrill Murphy first joined Avenues New York in the fall of 2013 and served for two years as a head teacher in an English section of kindergarten. In fall 2015 she moved up to the 2nd grade, where she became the head teacher of an English classroom. In fall 2016, she became an associate division head in the Lower Division, working with the 1st grade. Merrill will be joining the Avenues Sao Paulo team as an associate division head in the primary division.
Prior to her time at Avenues, Merrill worked as a special education teacher at P.S. 89 in a 2nd grade integrated co-teaching (ICT) classroom, in which children with and without disabilities are in the same classroom. Merrill was responsible for all aspects of classroom life and worked to develop a positive and safe classroom environment using Responsive Classroom techniques, as well as developing individualized education plans (IEP) targeting specific individual needs, both social and academic. She also used parallel and small-group teaching and modified lessons to meet the needs of her students.
During her five years at P.S. 89, Merrill also held a number of other positions—interview committee member to review potential teaching candidates; second grade cabinet representative, working with colleagues on school-wide issues; and kindergarten and 2nd grade teacher in both general education and ICT classrooms. Prior to this, she was a 2nd grade teacher at King’s Highway Elementary School (Westport, CT) for five years, using Responsive Classroom and IEP goals for her students, as well as various assessments, both formal and informal, to drive her instruction. She was also a grade-level leader and facilitated meetings with administrators, grade level colleagues and enrichment teachers.
Merrill received a B.A. in early childhood education from Wittenberg University (Springfield, OH), where she received the Wittenberg Honor Award, which recognizes students for outstanding citizenship, community contributions and leadership both inside and outside the classroom. She also has an M.S. Ed. in early childhood and special education from Touro College (New York City).
Merrill grew up in Connecticut, just outside New York City, and is the youngest of four. Outside the classroom, she spends much of her time with her husband, Dan, as well as friends and family, including her seven nieces and nephews. She and Dan welcomed their first baby, a girl named Penelope and affectionately called Poppy, on December 24 of last year. An avid birder, she greatly enjoys looking for and identifying the birds in and around the city. She also loves to read and be outside in nature.
Merrill knew from a young age that she wanted to work in education. Her mother is a retired teacher, which played a big role in her love of children. Merrill began teaching straight after college and looks forward to her fourth year at Avenues.
- 1st Grade
- 2nd Grade
- Associate Division Head
- Primary Division