Tom Murray

June 18, 2020

  • Sayville Middle School Community Says Goodbye to Principal Thomas Murray

    A bittersweet goodbye to retiring Middle School Principal Thomas Murray was no less memorable despite COVID-19 social-distancing restrictions. “Surprised” by an outdoor ceremony, Mr. Murray was humbled by both the car parade in his honor and the applause of the masked guests from Sayville Administration, colleagues, family, and friends who lined the bus loop. Words of fond farewells were shared by Assistant Principal Brian Decker and Superintendent Dr. John Stimmel.

    “Mr. Murray, or Tom as we know him,” Mr. Decker began, “has been our Assistant Principal and Principal for fifteen plus years. He came to us from Sayville High School where he was the Dean of Students, and prior to that, worked in Deer Park. According to all of his war stories, he served there as a bouncer, student-chaser, fight breaker-upper, teacher, dean, and enforcer to some pretty tough kids. Whatever and wherever he worked, he always put his students first.

    “When Tom came to the Sayville Middle School, he was big and intimidating, but as we all got to know him, he was a big mush. He liked to dress up at Christmas as an elf, a snowman, a Christmas tree, and whatever costume he could find, sing in the commons, goof around with students in the hallway, and sharing laughs with the ladies in the cafeteria. He would purchase lawn games and different types of challenge games for students to play with during lunch. His love for these games was where he got his idea for the Student Center, which I will get to later. I also remember him playing pranks on teachers, some that lasted for days and even weeks.”

    Brian Decker interspersed his speech with musical scores to emphasize comic elements of his retrospective about Tom Murray, as well as to draw out the laughs, but as he wound down his words of farewell, his sincerity reflected the Middle School community’s sentiments. “So as this year and your career come to a most unusual end, we here at Sayville Middle School will never forget you. You may be a little quirky, but your vision for the Sayville Middle School was always clear. You always adapted to whatever came your way, and you did it with the student first. We hope you get a chance to relax and enjoy some spare time with your family and friends. Please do not be a stranger and know that you will always be welcomed through those doors here at Sayville Middle School. 

    “The Sayville Middle School would also like to take this time to dedicate our newly created—by Mr. Murray—‘Student Center’ on the second floor of the building. We will continue to expand and improve your vision and give our students a place to relax and unwind from the challenges that school sometimes brings. We will hang this plaque in honor of you…”

    Sayville Superintendent Dr. John Stimmel had previously nominated Tom Murray for a 2020 Scope Award, citing his "patience, kindness, and compassion..." and acknowledging him for being "a loyal friend and colleague." Tom has been known to keep "an open door for the concerns of staff and parents," so it was fitting on this special day to see the respect and admiration of the Middle School community who came to share the moment, including Dr. Stimmel who added his well wishes to celebration. 

    The send-off culminated with the presentation of a specially crafted wood plaque of the American flag.

    With nineteen years of dedicated service in Sayville, Thomas Murray first joined the district in 2001 as a Secondary Dean at the High School. He was appointed to the Middle School as Assistant Principal in 2006 where he rose to Principal in 2010. Under his watch, the Middle School was both a fourth- and fifth-time award recipient of the NYSED Schools-to-Watch: Essential Elements program, recognized for providing an exemplary, education environment.


    The Sayville community will miss him and bids Tom Murray best of luck in his retirement.   

    Photos courtesy of Laurie Luby

King Murray
Dr. Stimmel
car parade
car parade
Happy Retirement
retirement commitee

The Murray Family

The Murray Family