Teaching Ambassador Fellowship
2011 Alumni Washington Fellow
Bio/Overview: Woods-Murphy teaches Spanish at Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale, New Jersey. Following a year promoting collaboration with educators across New Jersey as the 2010 State Teacher of the Year, Woods-Murphy spent her year as a 2011 Teaching Ambassador Fellow working primarily with the Secretary’s Senior Advisor for Labor/Management collaboration and designing direct outreach to teachers. After completing her undergraduate education, Woods-Murphy decided to spend four years in Spain with her husband, where she taught English as a second language. This experience inspired her to become a Spanish teacher upon her return to the states. Prior to her employment in Allendale, Woods-Murphy worked in a variety of roles in New York City schools: she taught Spanish and language arts at various grade levels, and also worked as a multicultural coordinator and an academic coordinator. In addition, for ten years, Woods-Murphy was a founding teacher at Bergen Academies in Hackensack, New Jersey, where she coordinated the World Language Department.
Educational Values/Philosophy: A key component of Woods-Murphy’s educational philosophy is emphasizing global engagement in her teaching by encouraging her students to connect to global issues, media and to each other. By creating interest in world language and culture, she hopes to improve her students’ chances of becoming bilingual bridge makers who will use 21st Century skills to connect the people on our planet.
Achievements: Woods-Murphy is the 2009-2010 New Jersey Teacher of the Year. In 2010, she was named the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Language Teacher of the Year and a Horace Mann Teaching Excellence winner for 2011. Woods-Murphy was named the N.J. New Leader’s Council, Person of the Year as well as a Pearson Global Fellow. In 2010 Senator Bob Menendez named her an “Evangelina Menendez, Woman of Distinction” for 2010, in honor of his inspirational mother
Leadership Experience: As a 2012 Washington Fellow, Woods-Murphy organized 18 Teaching Ambassador Fellows to support the Department’s landmark Labor Management Collaboration Summit in Cincinnati and participated on the U.S. Team at the Department’s International Summit to Elevate the Teaching Profession. Throughout her career, Woods-Murphy has been a presenter for a variety of education topics, including cultural learning, language acquisition, technology as it relates to 21st century culture and social justice. Having participated in roundtable discussions, workshops, and regular media appearances (including a CBS education feature with Katie Couric), Woods-Murphy is experienced with community engagement in many different contexts. Currently, she directs a conference for teens called “Teens Talk About Racism” www.teens-talk-about-racism.org, held each May at Fairleigh Dickinson University, in Teaneck.Affiliations: Woods-Murphy is currently a member of several professional associations: The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), the Foreign Language Educators of New Jersey (FLENJ), and the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME), the NEA and NJEA.
Education: Woods-Murphy earned her bachelor’s degree, Summa Cum Laude, from Montclair State College with a double major in Philosophy and General Humanities, after which she received a diploma from La Universidad de Salamanca in Salamanca, Spain. Woods-Murphy earned her New York State certification in New York City, where she taught upon her return from Spain, though a program sponsored by the United Federation of Teachers. She went on to earn an MA in Spanish Literature at Montclair State University, with a year of additional coursework at CUNY, the Graduate Center, where she was awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship. Currently, she is enrolled in the Doctoral Program in Teacher Leadership at Walden University.
Areas of Interest/Expertise:
- Labor management
- Language education, International/cross cultural education
- Race relations work with youth
- Veteran Teacher Issues