Dr. Murray received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Mars Hill College in 1984. He then received a Master of Arts in Education in 1988, Education Specialist in 2005, and Doctor of Education in 2008, all from Western Carolina University.
Dr. Murray grew up in the mountains of western North Carolina and graduated from North Buncombe High School. He spent the first 20 years of his career in Buncombe County where he taught physics, chemistry and biology for four years and then served as an assistant principal and principal for 16 years. He served as the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and later the Associate Superintendent of Operations for McDowell County Schools for six years.
His current work with schools in Jackson County has provided the opportunity to build relationships with various members of the educational family including Southwestern Community College and Western Carolina University where he serves as an assistant professor in the WCU doctoral program.
Dr. Elliott's career began in 1987 when she taught adult education at a local community college. She then transitioned to a K-8 environment where she taught elementary education, special education, arts education, K-2 continuous progress primary, and middle school students. After her time in the classroom, she served as a school-based assistant principal and principal and then assumed the role of Regional Consultant and Teacher Recruitment/Retention Specialist with the NC Department of Public Instruction. She has served two school systems as the K-12 Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and two systems as Assistant Superintendent supporting all departments.
Dr. Elliott was named Director of Rural Education and Teacher Recruitment at WCU in 2005 where she was able to pursue her research interests in teacher recruitment, college access, science education, and educational interventions for students. Dr. Elliott received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education in 1986, Master of School Administration in 2001, Educational Specialist Degree in 2002, and Doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2008, all from Appalachian State University. She has also studied at UNC-Charlotte, Alverno College in Wisconsin, and Western Carolina University.
Dr. Elliott is focused on student success and educational interventions partnered with professional learning communities. She is relationship-driven and believes strongly in the use of collaboration with families and communities to create school systems of excellence.