Jackie Murray spent a portion of her day earlier this week typing and preparing an agenda for the Clinton City Board of Education meeting. As the administrative assistant to the superintendent and the board, Murray has attended many meetings and typed up many agendas.
But on Friday that will all end with her retirement. “I’m passing the gauntlet, sort of speaking,” she said.
After 35 years of work in administration, Murray is officially retiring Aug. 1. Nacole Hayes will take over the duties of the position. Some of it includes providing assistance to the superintendent, setting up board agendas and corresponding with board members to keep them abreast of things going on in the district.
“I really like working in education, knowing that it helps our children to get what they need to be successful in life,” Murray said. “I know it’s not a direct instruction kind of thing, but I know it takes all of us to do our part to help that process.”
She has loved her job, she said.
“I used to tell people, I’m a secretary to the bone,” she asserted. “I know we’re called administrative assistants now, but back then we were secretaries.”
But the goal is to help administrators become successful.
“That’s the way I always felt,” she stressed. “I want to do the best job I can to make whoever I’m working with look good and be the best they can be.”
That philosophy goes for the school system too.
“I love Clinton City Schools because I’m a product of Clinton City Schools,” she asserted. “I think we have a great office here and our staff is just wonderful. It takes all of us working together to get the job done.”
Murray said she wants to spend more time with her family and provide more assistance to her parents, A.E. and Velma Spell.
“I will miss the people here,” she noted about her coworkers at the central office. “With my years of working with Clinton City Schools, I’ve seen a lot of people come and I’ve seen a lot of people go. It’s like my extended or second family.”
She is married to Charles Murray and together they have one daughter, Heather Watson, who is married to Derek. Jackie and Charles are the grandparents of Gabby, 13, and Gloria, 11.
“We all live in the same general area,” Murray said. “They go to the county schools so sometimes I help them get on the bus in the mornings.”
The grandmother plans to watch her grandchildren’s sport activities more as well, something retirement will afford her the opportunity to do.
The Sampson County native was raised on Clinton’s Ferrell Street and graduated from Clinton High School in 1973. Her education continued at Sampson Community College (SCC), where she earned a secretarial science degree, studying under the executive secretary program.
“The executive secretary had to learn shorthand,” Murray said while discussing the college’s programs. “When I was in school, that was a big thing. But people don’t need that anymore because people type their own stuff in the computer. I’ll say it’s a dinosaur.”
Prior to the Clinton City system, she worked with SCC for five years as an administrative assistant in the business department. Next, she worked in an attorney’s office before heading to CCS in 1982.
After living in other areas, she returned to Clinton City Schools in 1989. About 28 of her 35 years were spent with the city school system.
Murray and her husband took a hiatus from Sampson County after living briefly in Morehead City and West Virginia, where Charles pastored at churches. She provided assistance to the schools in Morehead City.
“But mostly I’ve been right here in Sampson County,” she said.
When she’s not spending time with family members, she enjoys scrapbooking, knitting, cross stitching, Sudoku and attending The Church of God.
“I’m looking forward to retirement, but I will miss the people here at Clinton City Schools,” Murray said. “I really enjoyed it and having a set structured day. It’s going to be different. Everybody is telling me that I’m going to be busy, and I expect I will.”
After working with Murray for the last time during a Monday work session, new school board chairman Jason Walters said she will be missed.
“She certainly is a vital part of our school system,” Walters said. “She’s one of the people who make everything work. I’m pretty sure Nacole is going to be able to step in, but we’re really going to miss her.”
Superintendent Stuart Blount said he’s going to miss Murray, too.
“Mrs. Murray has provided a tremendous amount of expertise in her position,” Blount said. “She’ll be sorely missed, but we wish her the best in her new endeavor.”
(Chase Jordan can be reached at 910-249-4617. Follow the paper on Twitter @SampsonInd.)