Ted Murcray

Ted Murcray

  • A lifetime of serving underprivileged children
  • Former teacher and school principal; current Associate Dean of College of Education
  • Extensive knowledge of educational leadership and administration to the H.E.R.O. Board

Travels from California

Contact Forte Speakers for keynote fee

 Dr. Ted Murcray has dedicated his life to serving children from underprivileged backgrounds across the country. He has been an elementary and middle school teacher and assistant principal, and for several years served as the Lead Principal at a middle school Metro Nashville Public Schools,  Nashville, Tennessee. While there, he led the staff to decrease suspension rates, increase attendance, and promote rigorous academic and arts programs.  As a result of the successes of his school, he was selected to be a district mentor principal. He also served on the board of the Tennessee Principals Association. Prior to serving as an administrator, Dr. Murcray worked as a coach for instructional technology – helping teachers determine the best way to use technology to help students learn.  He had the opportunity to teach elementary and middle school children in two different states, working with children who had a wide variety of needs – gifted, English learners, and students with learning differences. He is passionate about helping every child learn at high levels.

Dr. Murcray is also a lead instructor with a California-based education consulting company, and presents keynotes and workshops around the country on their research-based teaching and learning methodology. He currently serves as the Associate Dean for the School of Education at California Baptist University where he oversees the teacher preparation program.

In his free time, Dr. Murcray loves to read and play games with his children, all of whom have their own unique personalities and learning needs!  He also serves on the board of HERO, an academy for young children and orphans in Haiti that prepares their charges to attend universities in the United States.

Dr. Murcray has his doctorate from Vanderbilt University in Leadership, Policy, and Organizations.


Putting Joy into Teaching – While Increasing Learning – in an Education Reform World

The “pounding surf” of continuous education reform is causing teacher stress, staff turnover, and increasing frustration over high-stakes testing that some feel is robbing the classroom of joyful instructional and learning time, and negatively impacting classroom culture and morale. However, by focusing on some critical research-based strategies, we can measurably increase student engagement and learning, decrease classroom management issues, and create a positive, even joyful, learning environment. This session will demonstrate that joy and learning are not mutually exclusive. After all, we remember well what we loved learning, and the teacher who loved teaching it. Attendees will take away 7 powerful “how to’s” for increasing learning while dramatically improving classroom culture and morale.

 Motivation in the Classroom and Workplace

Both students and adults are motivated by two basic factors – Comfort and Competence. Comfort serves as the context for the work that needs to be done.  Important research has been done that showed humans have three basic psychological needs: significance, belonging, and sense of fun.  When we create these three pieces in our classrooms, schools and offices, we create a comfortable and safe space – context –  in which people feel good. No one wakes up in the morning and thinks, “Gosh, I really hope I am terrible at my work today!”  Everyone wants to do well.  Competence is formed when the expectations for the work are clear, the prerequisite skills have been developed, and there is a sufficient amount of time to be successful with the work. This is true with students, teachers and staff.

Being clear about the work doesn’t mean coming up with an exact rubric for what the work will look like.  It means being clear about where you have specific expectations as opposed to where there is freedom to be innovative.  In this presentation I include many stories where I have learned, some the hard way, about how to set clear expectations, teach skills, and provide adequate time for students as well as staff to be successful.

 Communication – A Key to Classroom and Workplace Productivity

Clear communication starts by knowing, better yet, understanding the people you are talking to.  The most important aspect of clear communication is listening. Communication gets muddied when we use the same words – and mean very different things.  This happens frequently because of basic differences – two key ones being differences in personality and generational differences. We’ve learned over the years through various personality profiles (such as DIRT, True Colors, Meyers Briggs, etc.) that there are four basic personality types with four different communication styles. A general understanding of these four types helps us to accept differences more readily, and learn to communicate more effectively with others who are different from ourselves.  Generational differences are also key.  In the workplace today, there are three generational divides represented: Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. Because of the differences of how individuals within these generations typically view the world, there will likely be some serious communication challenges in your organization. In this presentation I will share stories and applications to help us communicate more effectively with each other, and will provide opportunities for group practice and responses.

 Mentoring New Teachers and Leaders

Mentorship of novices by experts rarely works, claims John Hattie, because experts have forgotten what it is like to be a novice.  The advice they give rarely works, and is lacking, because the expert too often leaves out some of the most basic and important steps to success. They may even seem so obvious that s/he forgets to relay them to the novice. I strongly recommend having an intermediate mentor – one who has just recently stopped being a novice – to help the novice get through the first few steps.

There are so many books on leadership that if you started reading right now, you might be able to finish all of them just before you retire – and you can’t wait that long for help and answers.

This presentation (or more in-depth workshop) will cover the five critical keys, listed below, to effective mentoring of new teachers and leaders. Examples and challenges will be explained so that participants leave with real “how to’s” that can be implemented right away.

  • Be clear
  • Be reflective
  • Be transparent
  • Be brave
  • Be kind –


“Ted was such a dynamic presenter at our NAESP national leaders meeting that we immediately decided we needed for him to be a part of our mentorship program.” Gayle Connelly, Executive Director, NAESP

“I loved Dr. Murcray’ s presentation at the MASS annual conference. He was funny, engaging, and so knowledgeable about our issues and challenges. He had really done his homework.” Evelyn Wofford, Assistant Superintendent at Coahoma Agricultural High School District

“Ted is a fabulous presenter and workshop facilitator. We would love to have him back again.” Patti Yon, Principal, Metro Nashville Public Schools

“Ted is a joy to work with. He’s so dedicated and such a people person. Teachers love him, and principals want to be like him.” Kaye Herring, Regional Director, Quantum Learning

“Dr. Murcray kept our attendees engaged, laughing and absolutely loving his great presentation at the UEA conference. He was a huge asset to our program.” Karen Loveridge, Policy & Research/Education Excellence & Government Relations Associate


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