New School Leader Always Wants to ‘Make My Mark’

Meet Your Principal: Molly Burnett

New Murray Lake principal Molly Burnett with a poster of the tagline she conceived for the school

School: Murray Lake Elementary

Previous job: Student support administrator, Lowell Area Schools

Degrees: Bachelor’s in elementary education, Hope College; master’s in reading, Nova Southeastern University; education specialist, educational leadership, Capella University

Other positions in education: kindergarten and first grade teacher, literacy specialist, academic support teacher

What are you most looking forward to as principal here? Working with the awesome staff and families at Murray Lake.

What kind of kid were you at the age of students at this new school (your personality, interests, hobbies, activities)? I was a hard-working, dedicated kid. I loved playing with my friends, learning and playing sports. I loved playing basketball on the playground and being outside.

Spouse/children: Husband, Ryan, who is a teacher; Addison, 7; and Brady, 6. They both go to Murray Lake.

Hobbies/Interests: Playing and watching sports, spending time with my family, being outdoors and traveling.

What inspires you, both in your educational role and in your own life? I’ve always been a big proponent of making my mark wherever I go. This is my theme this year at Murray Lake. I want to send the message that wherever you are, wherever you go, you can always make your mark someplace. I start each day thinking “What I can do today to help someone else and make my mark in their lives?” Kids can make their mark anywhere. It could be at school, home or at sports practice. It also goes well with our PBIS motto at Murray Lake: We are Safe, Respectful, and Responsible. When we do those things, we can make our mark in the school.

What makes you laugh? I’m a pretty easygoing, laid-back person, so lots of things make me laugh. Kids would be my No. 1, though.

Tell us about a non-professional book you recommend and why: This summer while trying to prepare for my new job I did manage to read one great book while spending the week on the beach. It was called “What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty. I recommend this book because it really makes you step back and think about how you treat people and how your actions can really make a mark — positive or negative — on people’s lives. Alice didn’t realize how her actions were affecting the ones who loved her until she had an accident and forgot the last 10 years of her life.

Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio

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