Moving on: testing clerk adapts to career change


CHASING A DREAM. Murphy draws closer to her ambition of teaching as she works managing the testing center. Above, she helps senior Jennifer Nguyen turn in her English III test. “She’s a lot of help considering we only have one person in here,” Nguyen said. Photo by Krista Lutrick

The cool air and northern winters in New York are very different from the  hot and humid weather associated with Houston, Texas. Most people would not dream of transferring between the two states frequently over an extended period of time; but for Ebony Murphy, changing states was just a part of her childhood. Murphy is originally from Harlem, a neighborhood located in New York City, but she spent her childhood traveling from Harlem to Houston.

“I would stay in Houston for a couple of years, and then go back to New York,” Murphy said.

Moving around so much enabled Murphy to adapt to whatever life threw at her.

“It helped me to adjust to different situations and places,” she said. “I can adjust to pretty much any situation now because I’m used to it.”

Murphy had to adapt once more as she left both states to attend Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. She graduated with a degree in business and marketing in 2006.

“When I was younger, I always wanted to own my own business. [My major] was just a way of helping me learn my ins and outs of what to do,” she said.

After she graduated, Murphy worked at different jobs. She first managed a Party City for about three years before starting at Power Doc. Marketing Firm as the marketing and advertising director in 2009. After three years, she realized that the business world wasn’t for her. She then began to pursue a job in the field of education.

“[Education] was always something I’ve wanted to do. Growing up, I always wanted to teach students and make a difference,” Murphy said. “It’s a stable career field, and I’ve always enjoyed working with kids.”

As a child, Murphy tutored others, and so has already had experience with working with students.

“I did [tutoring in] literature, English, and biology. I started when I was thirteen. When anybody needed help, from then up to college, I would help tutor.”

Murphy dreams of one day becoming a teacher of English since she herself has a passion to write.

“I write poetry and short stories,” she said. “Everything [inspires me to write]: nature, people’s personalities…pretty much everything around me. I can look at the lockers or at [students] and something creative will pop in my head.”

But for now, she holds the position of counter clerk for the testing center, waiting to pursue her dream of teaching.

“I just want to learn about how education works,” she said. “[I chose Kerr] because I wanted a change in career field, and I love it. It’s the path I want to take now. I intend to get my accreditation this summer [as wells as] my Master in Speech Therapy.”

Her adjustment in careers has made Murphy happy. She greatly enjoys working at Kerr.

“It was different, very different, from what I expected, different from other high schools I went to, different from my own high school,” she said. “I love it. You guys are so nice and respectful.”

When not at school, Murphy balances her time between her four-year-old daughter, writing and school.

“It’s difficult and time consuming [to balance everything.] You have to have everything organized to get everything done,” Murphy said.

But she has learned she can handle any situation she comes against. Right now, her main priority is her daughter.

“[I want] to make sure she has a better life than I had.”