Murray-Zimmerman sees firsthand how technology impacts education

Morgan Murray-Zimmerman has been working for the MCSD for 15 years. The past nine years have been spent providing technology services for the district, working alongside Curt Tauke and Michael Robertson. Murray-Zimmerman said she enjoys seeing how technology adds to the students’ education. (Photo by Kim Brooks)
Panther Professionals
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Panther Professionals is a weekly series highlighting educators, administrators, staff and aides who are dedicated to the future of the Monticello Community School District.

     A change in career choices, both working with youth, brought Morgan Murray-Zimmerman to her 15-year career with the Monticello school district. For the past nine years or so, she has provided technology assistant district wide.

     “We’re a tight-knit group,” Murray-Zimmerman said of the MCSD technology staff of herself, Curt Tauke and Michael Robertson.

     Working primarily out of the middle school, Murray-Zimmerman said she also heavily relies on Heather Hansen and Kim Carlson for their technology expertise in other district buildings.

     “There’s a lot of collaboration and eyes and ears throughout the district,” she said.

     Murray-Zimmerman’s job covers helping students, parents, and staff with computer and technology questions, especially now that the MCSD has rolled out its one-to-one technology program, providing every student access to a laptop/tablet. Murray-Zimmerman fields a lot of questions primarily at the start of the school year, as well as during registration.

     Now that the district utilizes e-registration during the summer before the school year begins, Murray-Zimmerman said she’s on hand to assist when needed.

     She also arranges back-up technology needs for students who might experience issues with their laptops or when they may break.

     “I basically do all of the computer in-takes,” she said.

     Murray-Zimmerman spends time contributing content to the district’s website as well. When there’s a new staff member or student, she creates their e-mail accounts and gets them up and running in PowerSchool.

     A new and exciting project Murray-Zimmerman is working on alongside Curriculum Director Gretchen Kriegel on the digital version of Iowa Tests of Basic Skills.

     “It’s pretty cutting edge,” said Murray-Zimmerman.

     Murray-Zimmerman also serves on the district’s technology steering committee, which is a given.

     “We talk about what’s working throughout the district, ways to improve our technology and what we can implement,” she said.

     Before coming to work for the MCSD, Murray-Zimmerman worked at JRMT (Four Oaks) as a youth counselor.

     “I was open-minded when it came top looking for a change in my career,” explained Murray-Zimmerman. “And that’s how I landed here.”

     A full-time associate job opened up with the Monticello schools and that’s how Murray-Zimmerman got her foot in the door.

     “I started out as a paraeducator at Shannon with the preschool,” she said. “I then crossed over to the middle school and it just evolved from there.”

     As for how she got into the district’s technology world, it all started when Kriegel needed some help with computerized MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) standardized testing.

     Murray-Zimmerman then took over the middle school computer lab when her predecessor retired.

     “As time went on, I changed job duties, titles, and job descriptions,” explained Murray-Zimmerman.

     At times, Murray-Zimmerman works with staff and students; other times, she’s secluded in her office in the middle school. Students know where to find her, though, in case of a laptop emergency.

     “I visit every building at least once a week,” she said. “Every day I’m in a different building depending on the needs.”

     That’s the best part of the job for Murray-Zimmerman, getting to be in a different setting every day. “I like seeing the different teaching styles involving technology,” she said.

     Now that every student has access to technology is one form or another, Murray-Zimmerman said teachers are able to specialize their lessons.

     “We’re more individualized with special apps to make learning so much better,” she said. “We’re on the cutting edge here.”

     Murray-Zimmerman commends the district leaders and administration for always striving to get out in front of the latest and greatest in education.

     “We strive to get the kids to the next level with the opportunities we provide here,” said Murray-Zimmerman. “We do a good job looking at what’s best for the kids.”

     Working for a school, she said she likes having the same schedule as her own children, Will, 7, and Maggie, 4. She and her husband Kalvin reside in Monticello. The family enjoys spending time outdoors.



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