For Immediate Release
November 25, 2013

Des Plaines School Board President receives Thomas Lay Burroughs Award

ISBE presents Brenda Murphy with statewide honor at education conference in Chicago

DES PLAINES – The Illinois State Board of Education named Brenda Murphy of Des Plaines Community Consolidated School District 62 as the 2013 recipient of the Thomas Lay Burroughs Award. The ISBE award annually honors an outstanding school board president in the state. Murphy has served nine years as president of her local school board and 14 years total on the board.

“We are honored to present this award to Brenda, who stood out among some very strong candidates for this year’s award,” said State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico. “Under her leadership, the Des Plaines district is helping students make academic gains, and importantly, closing the achievement gap with improved technology, an emphasis on early learning education and many more initiatives.”

From 2004 to 2012 in CCSD 62, the percentage of enrolled students from low income families increased from 28.9 percent to 46.4 percent. In 2004, 50 percent of the district’s low-income students met and exceeded standards in reading, compared to 78 percent of their counterparts from non low-income families. The ISAT scores in 2012 chronicle a story of improvement and achievement. In 2012, 76 percent of low-income students and 90 percent of non low-income students met and exceeded standards in reading. Similar results have been achieved in other subgroups.

“Brenda Murphy is a visionary who leads the board with the utmost courage, integrity and tenacity,” stated CCSD 62 Superintendent Jane Westerhold in her nominating letter. “She has developed a board that shares the belief that the focus most be on student achievement.”

Community Consolidated School District 62 is an elementary district in Cook County serving the Des Plaines and Rosemont communities, northwest of Chicago. The district serves more than 5,000 students in grades pre-K to eight.

Murphy is also credited for her high involvement in school events and activities on a weekly basis, her efforts to boost access to technology for all students and being a strong proponent of early childhood education. Under Murphy’s leadership and direction, an Early Learning Center was constructed and now serves more than 600 early learning students, including English language learners, special needs students and at-risk students. Since 2004, the district has significantly boosted its bandwidth and introduced hundreds more computers, Smart Boards and personal devices into the classrooms.

ISBE created the award for school board presidents in 1991 to honor Thomas Lay Burroughs who served as chairman of the State Board of Education and the Board of Education for the Collinsville School District. The award recognizes extraordinary educational leadership at the local level, including leadership:

Brenda Murphy received the 2013 Thomas Lay Burroughs Award on Sunday, Nov. 24, during the joint annual conference of the Illinois Association of School Boards, the Illinois Association of School Administrators and Illinois Association of School Business Officials in Chicago. State Board of Education members Curt Bradshaw of Naperville and Dr. Vinni M. Hall of Chicago were on hand to present the award to Murphy.

“Under Brenda's leadership, one can see that she supports our millennial learners with the substantive increase in technical student support during her tenure,” said Hall, who serves as secretary for the nine-member State Board of Education. “The students can't help but achieve with her knowledge of what it takes to learn for the next century.”

Recent winners of ISBE’s Thomas Lay Burroughs Award include:


Ron Moehring

Illini Central School District 189


Shelly Marks

Homewood School District 153


Paula Dupont

Burr Ridge Community Consolidated School District 180


Fred G. Huddlestun

Jasper County Consolidated Unit School District 1


Joanne Zendol

Berwyn South School District 100


Mark C. Metzger

Indian Prairie Community Unit School District 204


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