Jacqueline Moray was born and raised in Ann Arbor, the daughter of David and Michelle Moray, and sister of Katie Moray. Growing up on Ann Arbor’s southeast side in the Buhr Park neighborhood, she attended Allen Elementary, Tappan Middle School, and Pioneer High School.
After graduation in 1997, Moray studied massage therapy at the Ann Arbor Institute of Massage Therapy, and nannied for families in the Ann Arbor area. After realizing that massage therapy was not her passion, she was encouraged to pursue her degree in education by one of the families for which she nannied. She decided to take her love of working with children to the next level and pursue her degree in elementary education in 2006, graduating from Eastern Michigan University in 2010 with a degree in elementary education, with a major in reading. She did her student teaching at Mitchell and
then worked as a teacher’s assistant for two years at Mitchell and Carpenter before getting a lead teaching position in Ypsilanti in 2013. She returned to AAPS this school year.
Moray lives in Whitmore Lake and plans on pursuing her master’s degree in reading later this year. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, listening to music, dancing, traveling, doing puzzles, and learning more about holistic healing techniques.
How did attending AAPS K-12 affect your decision to become a teacher? Attending AAPS affected my decision to become a teacher because growing up I had many phenomenal teachers who impacted me in one way or another. I had several teachers who encouraged me and supported me in both good and difficult times growing up. I want to be able to do the same for my students.
Compare your experience as a kindergarten student at Allen with that of your students today: When I attended kindergarten, we only went to school half days. Most of what I can remember about kindergarten was fun and play. Honestly, all I remember doing was playing with toys, doing arts and crafts projects, and playing with friends. Nowadays kindergarteners have a lot more academic expectations placed upon them. It is a lot less play-based then I remember it. Also, we didn’t have standardized testing when I was in kindergarten.
Which teachers/principals most inspired you? There were several teachers who inspired me growing up. The three that stick out were Mrs. Atkins, Mr. Fred Karr, and Mr. Jim Robert. Mrs. Atkins was my 6th grade Language Arts teacher at Tappan Middle School. She made me feel valued when I was in her class. I remember she always took time to meet with her students and help them work through personal and academic challenges. She showed she truly cared about her students.
I also remember Mr. Karr, my driver’s education/health teacher in high school. He was one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. He always greeted his students with a smile and taught me valuable lessons about life that have stuck with me to this day.
Lastly, there was Mr. Robert, my Middle Eastern Civilization teacher who challenged me to get out of my comfort zone and have conversations about issues going on in the world. What inspired me the most about him was he was respectful and open to learning about different cultures. All of his students had a voice, and he listened. Something that stands out to me to this day is he would fast with Muslim students during the month of Ramadan. This speaks to his character and compassion for people. I have so much respect for him to this day.
What was always written on your report card in grade school? “Jackie loves learning!” I still love learning and try to learn something new every day.
What are your three best memories of high school? I actually didn’t enjoy my high school years very much. However, I do have some of the best memories of my best friend, Hoa Huynh, who passed away in 2008 from cancer.
What would have made those years better for you? In high school, I was going through a lot of personal struggles at home. Looking back, I wish I would have gotten into sports or joined more clubs to gain more of a support system and tap into my talents. I always loved playing sports, but gave them up when I entered high school.
In your three years in AAPS, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned about teaching? About learning? I’ve learned that the curriculum and teaching practices will change from year to year. The one constant that will always take president are the students. Teaching is about building relationships with your students and creating a space that makes them feel safe and valued. Once students feel safe and valued, they will be much more invested in their learning.
Describe an average workday. An average workday begins with me waking up at 5:30, enjoying a cup of coffee while watching the news. I make it to school between 7:30 and 8 a.m. The bell rings at 8:53 and it is pretty much nonstop for the day. I am fortunate to have a lunch break and a planning time during the day, which I spend time catching up on emails, texting parents, and setting up for afternoon lessons. The school day ends with me walking my students to meet their parents at 3:55. I usually stay at school for about an hour to get organized for the next day. Once I am at home, I am usually still doing something school-related for about an hour or so. I’ve tried to get better over the years at not letting work trickle into my personal time. However, when you’re a teacher it is really hard to not bring your work home.
What advice would you give to a first-year teacher? Make sure you find time for yourself and your loved ones. You have to find a balance between your personal and professional life. My first year I did not have that balance.
Favorite websites: I use Pinterest and Teacherspayteachers for teaching resources and Facebook to stay connected to family and friends and unwind from my day.
What did you learn while working as a teacher in Ypsilanti Community Schools that helps you in your work today? I learned so much working in Ypsilanti Community Schools. I was hired into a school that was in “priority status,” meaning test scores were in the bottom 5 percent in the state. This meant that as a staff we were required to follow a turn around plan that involved some very strategic and intense work. We were all working together with a sense of urgency to help students become successful and get our school off of the priority list. A lot of the work we did involved collaboration. I worked closely with two phenomenal veteran second grade teachers and exceptional Title 1 and special education support. Together we were able to close achievement gaps and increase student growth. It was the work that I did at Holmes Elementary that taught me the importance of collaboration, differentiation, teaching with intention, and not being afraid to teach outside the box. We saw incredible gains from our students and ultimately were able to get our school out of priority status. Another valuable lesson I learned is that all children can be successful when they have teachers who believe in them and hold them to high expectations.
How do you stay organized? I find that binders and plastic bins are a great way to help stay organized. Every year, my goal is to get more and more organized.
What is the most rewarding part of teaching? The most rewarding part of teaching is building lasting relationships with my students and families.
What do you wish everyone realized about the work of a teacher? A teacher’s work is never done! We are working after school, on weekends, on vacations, and believe it or not, during our summers.
How do you recharge? I spend time with my family and close friends on the weekends. It is important to balance your personal and professional life. I also enjoy meditating, dancing, and a night out on the town in the Ann Arbor and Detroit area.
What’s most exciting about your professional life right now? Right now my professional life is exciting because I am back in Ann Arbor where I grew up. I love Ann Arbor and couldn’t be happier working in my hometown.