Humanities TeacherUniversity of California, Davis, MADickinson College, BA
email: jamie.murray [at] sonomaacademy.org
phone: (707) 545-1770 x3404
As Sonoma Academy’s very first Humanities hire, Jamie was able to design the curriculum from the ground up. Combining the study of literature, writing, history, social studies, and geography seemed natural to him, and it was his hope was that students would make connections between current events and the narratives of the past. “Every new teacher who has stepped in has interpreted Humanities in their own way,” he says. “It feels like a living, breathing entity, always adapting.” Jamie’s side gig is designing and building custom surfboards, and these days, he’s been spending quite a bit of time in our Fabrication Studio honing his making skills.
Jamie really enjoyed Shop class in high school—the teachers seemed to truly care about him and about the outcomes of his work. This experience helped shape how Jamie approaches teaching today: “When I started teaching, it really was a response to my high school experience. I want to see students as people and individuals. I want to be invested in their work.”
After earning his BA at Dickinson College, a four-year stint in the Rocky Mountains, and six months on the Appalachian Trail, Jamie returned to academics to earn his MA at UC Davis. During graduate school, he was approached with a promising teaching position at a new high school in development. Ellie Dwight, Assistant Head of School, asked him to present a possible Humanities curriculum and was thrilled with his ideas. To this day, Jamie works to ensure that the curriculum is relevant and engaging for students. He hopes that they see themselves in the material and make connections between current events with the narratives and history of the past.
Jamie still loves working in the shop. He makes hand-crafted surfboards when he is not teaching, and he is excited about using his making skills in our new Studios.
Jamie’s personal life is also heavily centered around Sonoma Academy. His wife, Kerry Hanlon, teaches Humanities II: “It’s great having Kerry at SA! It’s really wonderful seeing her every day and exchanging ideas back and forth.” They have two young daughters. Though they aren’t old enough to enroll yet, they have both grown up fantasizing about attending SA. “We really are invested in the school as a family. Our dog Ruby even loves it!”