Rita Murphy Honored as a Teacher of Excellence

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High school art teacher Rita Murphy was honored at the second annual Teacher of Excellence Awards ceremony, hosted by State Sen. Phil Boyle at the Bay Shore Fire Department on May 4.

“We celebrated the achievements of 16 outstanding educators and school professionals who have dedicated their lives to teaching and helping their students learn, thrive, and reach their fullest potential,” said Boyle. “Our school communities are so very fortunate to have such passionate educators.”

Murphy, who is retiring this year, began her teaching career in 1990 as a substitute art teacher for both the Comsewogue and Longwood School Districts, before being employed full time with Smithtown High School West. She began teaching in Deer Park in September 1991. 

“I have been teaching for just under 28 years, and I have loved having the privilege and honor of teaching,” she said. “My philosophy has always been that art is ‘play with a purpose.’  I am fortunate to have lived my philosophy, and so I tell students daily: when choosing a career, choose what you love. If you choose what you love, you will always be successful because of your passion.  As I retire this year, I look back on an incredibly and wonderfully fulfilled life.”