Wendy Murphy Gross has been a lifelong community resident and proud educator in the William Floyd School District. She began her education at the Little Red School House where she attended kindergarten and graduated from William Floyd High School in 1984. She studied music at SUNY New Paltz receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Therapy in 1988 and received a full scholarship for her Master’s degree in elementary and special education in 1989.
Wendy worked as a music therapist and special education teacher at Just Kids Learning Center from 1984-1995. She was then hired by William Floyd as a kindergarten teacher in 1996 and worked in Tangier Smith, William Floyd, and Moriches elementary schools. In 2017, Wendy began working as a special education kindergarten teacher at the William Floyd Learning Center.
Working to improve the community that Wendy was raised in has been a priority in her life. Coming from a family that is very active in the community, Wendy participates in many organizations. In 2011, she became of member of the Board of Trustees at the Mastics, Moriches, Shirley Community Library and serves as vice president. In 2012, Wendy organized the Teachers Story Corner which promotes improving and maintaining literacy skills over the summer. She also has served as a volunteer for the 5K Run for Literacy since its inception which has raised thousands of dollars for family literacy services. Wendy can often be seen volunteering her time as a tutor in the community library.
Over the past 15 years, Wendy has volunteered her time with the music ministry at St. Jude’s Roman Catholic Church in Mastic Beach. She has worked with the children’s choir, adult ministry and provides music for mass with her daughter, Sarah. Wendy was a religious education instructor for five years and worked as a volunteer for more than 15 years at the St. Jude’s golf outing.
Wendy works very closely with her husband, Ron Gross, who is president of the William Floyd United Teachers Union. Together, they help fundraise for community organizations such as Colonial Youth and Family Services, student scholarships and work to provide food and school supplies for community members in need. Wendy has been active in the teacher’s union for more than 20 years and is part of numerous committees to better serve the teachers, families and students of the William Floyd School District.
Wendy also serves on the Board of Directors for Ocean Arts which is a not-for-profit organization that helps fundraise, produce and provide theater experiences for students in the William Floyd community ages kindergarten through 12th grade.
Wendy has served more than 500 students and families in the William Floyd School District since 1995 as a kindergarten teacher. Wendy’s love for music and the arts has always been something that she incorporated into her classroom each day over the years. Organizing and performing with students at Moriches Elementary School and Tangier Smith Elementary School annually has always been a highlight for Wendy and her students. Recognizing military veterans at the annual Veteran’s Day concert each year is important not only for those who have served, but also for the students to be able to thank them for their service.
Being an educator at William Floyd has been a rewarding occupation. Working alongside colleagues who have the same passion and commitment to their students is something that has made her career at William Floyd truly special. She is a member of numerous committees to help improve the services and experiences for students and their families such as PTO teacher representative, SEPTO teacher representative, Parent Involvement committee member, teacher leader and ambassador for Mathematics and English Language Arts Curriculum Development, and teacher representative for Teacher Center Policy Board. For her efforts, Wendy was nominated by the William Floyd School District for the SCOPE Education Services award in 2016 for excellence in education.
Wendy feels very fortunate to have lived in the William Floyd community since birth and from an early age she found herself wanting to be a person that participated in making the school a better place. Staying involved in all the school had to offer such as playing sports, being a class officer in student government, playing flute in the band, orchestra, marching band and pit orchestra, captaining the ‘Green and White” team and building floats for homecoming in her garage are just a few of the activities Wendy committed herself to as a student at William Floyd. These experiences served as the foundation of how she lives her life today. She met her husband, Ron, when they were in biology class in 1981 and have been together ever since. She is proud to have raised three children in Mastic Beach and each of them, Ronnie, Michael and Sarah, have now since graduated from William Floyd. The friendships she forged at William Floyd are as strong today as they were in high school. “The Loop” of friends she has are a constant reminder of how William Floyd played an instrumental role in the success all of them have had in their lives and created the strong unbreakable bond that they have for one another.
Wendy would like to thank the William Floyd Alumni Association for bestowing this honor upon her. She credits her family, friends, colleagues and the hundreds of students she has taught to have allowed her to live her life doing the things she enjoys the most in the place she has always called home.