Murfield receives RISE Award


A staff member at Smith Elementary School was given the RISE Award Thursday by the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce.

When Smith School Aged Child Care (SACC) Site Manager Misty Murfield arrived to the schoolwide assembly Thursday afternoon, she believed she was there for a separate program at Smith, not to receive an award.

“I’ve heard of this award but never really had any expectation of that happening,” Murfield said. “I saw my family walk in and I was like, ‘What are they doing here?’”

Smith Principal Jake LeGros greeted students at the start of the assembly and introduced Dee Anna Chickerella from the Ohio Department of Education, who said she was there to present an award to a Smith staff member.

“I’m here because I represent celebration of all things in the schools around the state of Ohio,” Chickerella said. “You have someone who I think is a world changer.”

Chickerella presented the RISE Award and said the award stands for “Recognizing Inspirational School Employees.”

“This person really uplifts the light here at Smith for all the kids and people that know her,” Chickerella said.

During the assembly, Chickerella read some remarks from a letter about Murfield that was written by a parent, who said Murfield’s name topped their list when they think of “inspiring school employees.” The letter said Murfield took care of four of their children in the SACC program.

“She has this common denominator that she uses with kids every day. It’s consistency, structure, safety and love. This is a virtue that the kids she (works with) knows. She looks out for their well being, emotionally and physically, and helps them succeed academically and gives them her full, undivided attention,” Chickerella read on behalf of the parent before presenting Murfield the award.

Chickerella said Murfield is now a national finalist and will know in May if she advances to the next level of recognition.

Pam Stoyer, the district’s director of SACC, congratulated Murfield and praised her for her work in the program.

“The most exciting thing about (Murfield) is that she creates a fun and welcoming environment for all the students in her program,” Stoyer said. “She also tries to create a fun environment for their families and the staff.”

LeGros said Murfield is a “very integral part of our Smith Elementary family.”

“She truly believes that all students are capable learners and (wants everyone) to feel safe, feel welcome, and feel that they can succeed and achieve here at Smith,” LeGros said. “Misty embodies those qualities. (She’s a) great collaborator with student situations, she develops fun, engaging activities for our kids to participate in, she brings tenacity, eagerness and enthusiasm and really, really good dance skills. I don’t think you can stress that enough.”

After the assembly, Murfield said she was “very surprised” by the recognition.

“I’m absolutely honored,” she said. “It’s humbling.”

Murfield thanked her team and said she has “so much” appreciation for Delaware City Schools.

“I wouldn’t be here for 27 years if I didn’t think they were just an amazing group of people,” Murfield said.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903.

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