New English teacher settles into her position


In English teacher Stirling Korte-Murdoch’s family, teaching goes back generations–she grew up around teachers. It was the work of her mother writing children’s books, and her aunts, uncles and grandparents experience in education that inspired her to begin teaching.

Korte-Murdoch came to ELHS halfway through the school year, replacing Elena Espinoza as one of the Pre-AP English 3 teachers after five years at Everett High School. Switching schools half way through the year presented its challenges, but was an exciting opportunity for Korte-Murdoch.

“I have to leave my other students behind, which is sad,” Korte-Murdoch said. “And then I have to get to know all of my new students and try and figure out where everybody is and kind of how we need to readjust the curriculum.”

Korte-Murdoch has been wanting to teach at East Lansing since she grew up in the district and went to ELHS. When she saw the job opening in January, she jumped at the chance.

Korte-Murdoch has been teaching for 10 years, and before that was working in curriculum planning. Her teaching career began in East Lansing as a preschool teacher. After getting her degree at MSU in 2013, she moved to New Jersey and began teaching at a high school in Newark.

As it turned out, high school ended up being a great fit for her. She loved the relationships she was able to build with students that just couldn’t be achieved with younger kids.

“I think you can be more real with high schoolers and you can have a lot of really in-depth conversations and obviously there’s more teaching involved than with little kids,” Korte-Murdoch said. “You’re kind of trying to take care of them and things like that. Not that high schoolers don’t need that as well sometimes,”

Korte-Murdoch came to the district during a very disorderly time. Her first week teaching here was the week after the events of violence at the basketball game. Although coming during such a stressful time she has handled it well and been able to prioritize her students and teaching.

She has not always been so fortunate with the other schools she has worked at. When working in New Jersey, in an area just outside of New York City, she had to deal with gang violence and activity within the building.

“I mean, people would be shooting outside of our window and you would just close the window and turn up the volume of the music [and] we would always have to have music playing in the classroom to sound out the screaming from the hallway and shooting outside,” Korte-Murdoch said.

Although she has had unfortunate experiences in her past, East Lansing seems to be a good fit for her.  She is very grateful for the kind hearted staff and students she found at East Lansing.

“Everybody has been super wonderful,” Korte-Murdoch said. “People have come from all over the building to ask if I need help and like to introduce themselves, even students. So it’s really nice that the atmosphere, it’s very calm, it’s welcoming. I appreciate it. I really like it.”