School History

Virginia L. Murray

She put the teaching of children in the fundamentals of both learning and religion above everything else, and dedicated her whole life to these ends.

Virginia Lee Murray was born in Albemarle County in 1897. She was one of 13 children -- 10 boys and 3 girls -- and all were raised primarily by their father, due to the untimely death of their mother. Murray received her elementary education in Albemarle County, but she graduated from Gloucester High School in Capahosic, VA. In 1927 she graduated from Howard University, and in 1953, at the age of 56, she received her Master's degree from New York University. She never married. In 1928, Ms. Murray began her teaching career in a one room schoolhouse in Cobham, Virginia, under the direction of Maggie Burley. She served as demonstration teacher until 1931 when she was appointed Jeannes Supervisor of Elementary Education. She was the first black supervisor ever appointed in Albemarle County. Because of her work to improve the quality of teacher and pupil education, the elementary school in Ivy was named in Murray's honor.

According to her nephew, Ms. Murray was an outgoing and loving person. It was said that you could not spend five minutes around her without learning something. No job was too small to gain her attention -- she was known to help till the 17 acres of their family farm and fix broken pumps when necessary. She was active until the age of sixty when she became ill and subsequently died in 1959, one year before the elementary school in Ivy was constructed that was to bear her name.

The History of Murray Elementary School

Murray School was built in 1960 at a cost of $200,000. Black children from grades one through seven attended the school which served the Greenwood, Crozet and Ivy areas. Otis Lee was the first principal of Murray School, from 1960-1966, followed by Ms. Ora Lee Starnes.

An addition of four classrooms was made at Murray School in 1964 at a cost of $50,000. The present capacity is estimated at 266 pupils, who live in Ivy, Glenaire, Kearsage, Flordon, Ednam Forest, Farmington, Bellair, and Buckingham Circle areas.