MURRAY — “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. It’s been a powerful, fun journey – still going.”
Those are the words from Mary Klein, Murray's school nurse who has served the district for 50 years.
It's rare these days for an educator to have served for five decades, let alone all of them in the same school district. Many hit a certain age and retire. Not Klein.
“It’s been a fun ride," she said fondly while discussing her career.
You could call Klein a multitasker. She has a teaching certification and gives first aid and CPR classes to the seniors. She also teaches health occupations levels one and two, as well as medical terminology classes.
Klein sponsors the Future Nurses of America (FNA) club and stays involved with the Silver and Bronze Chord honor programs.
“She’s a tremendous addition to our staff and working with our kids, obviously in the health field because she’s got a lot of experience," said Murray Superintendent Alan Miller. "She’s a tremendous asset to our community for all the things she’s involved in."
Where it all began
What first brought Klein to Murray 50 years ago? Originally, she was raised in What Cheer. However, her mother accepted a principal position in the school district and Klein spent her freshman and sophomore years as a Mustang.
Then, Klein spent her last two years of high school in What Cheer.
What brought Klein back to Murray after that? In simplest terms, she married her high school sweetheart and started her career.
Throughout the next 50 years, students, staff and other motivations have kept Klein happy in her school nursing position.
Some of Klein's former students are now the parents and even grandparents of her current students. She’s had experiences of students saying their grandmother remembers her.
It's what she loves
One thing Klein really enjoys about her job is everyday there is something different going on. She recalled a recent school field trip of her students going to Brush College and touring the country school house.
“She’s got a heart of gold. She would give her last dollar for somebody who needed it," Miller said.
Here's an example of her caring spirit. Klein believes it takes 11 positive comments to offset one negative one. Therefore, positive reinforcement is important.
“If you can motivate someone to become more interested in whatever there is and encourage them to keep on trucking with whatever it is they want to do, you know, that’s so important to give them some positive examples and encouragement," she said.
Back for more
How long will Klein continue working at Murray? She has a simple answer to that question: “Only God knows.”
She has already signed her contract for the 2016-2017 school year. Miller said he was more than happy to receive her contract.
“It’s been a wonderful relationship," Miller said. "I’ve known her for seven years now because I’ve been here for seven. I’ve developed a tremendous amount of respect for her and what she does for our students, and more importantly, our community.”