Meet Momentum Series:
Our incredible educators are dedicated professionals from all over the world working together towards one goal: The health, happiness, and success of our students. We invite you to get to know us better! In our Meet Momentum Q&A series, we introduce members of our diverse, talented staff, who collaborate to create an educational program immersed in different cultures, customs, languages and experiential learning.
Meet: Ryan Murray, Momentum Principal
What makes a great leader? Confidence, integrity, passion and focus are just a few characteristics that come to mind when we consider our Momentum Montessori team captain, Ryan Murray. Our principal, who worked as a classroom teacher for 10 years before taking on his role at Momentum, leads our school with a spirit of open-mindedness, empowering our staff to create exceptional learning experiences for our students. Ryan holds a Master of Education degree from Niagara University and continues to build his credentials through York University’s courses for experienced educators. He has taught in both the public and private streams, including posts in the Bahamas, Alberta and Kashechewan, located near James Bay in Northern Ontario. During his time up north, he adopted his dog, Whiskey (named after Cree legend Wesakechak), a seven-year-old Husky-Rottweiler. Ryan and Whiskey love hiking together in Toronto, and making trips out to the Rouge River to chase fish. Ryan knows a lot about being part of a team. Outside office hours, you might find him representing Canada as a member of the Canadian Wolverines Rugby League, or playing hockey or beach volley ball. As a triathlon competitor, our principal understands that we all can achieve our goals with persistence, hard work and patience. He brings his diverse personal and professional experiences to Momentum every day, with a smile.
What inspired you to become a principal? What are some of the things you love about your role at Momentum?
I’ve always had an interest in continuing my education and professionalism and I’ve always believed that the best principals were once teachers, because they bring their experiences in the classroom to running a school full of classrooms. Taking on my role at Momentum was a wonderful opportunity to be able to put my theories, research and experience into practise to create an educational program that embraces exploration, discovery and diversity. I enjoy being able to see all of my years of experience and research being brought to life. Seeing that vision taught to young students and being able to witness their joy of learning; watching them grow and flourish. Our school is always full of laughter. It’s been a real adventure.
What makes Momentum different from other schools?
Toronto has many Montessori programs, but we are different because we offer what many other programs do not: Free early drop-off and late pick-up care, SMART Board technology, multiple language classes, piano lessons, swimming, physical literacy, catered lunches from Real Food for Real Kids, small class sizes, weekly excursions to some of the best venues in Toronto, and much more. The program we offer is the future of education in Canada. More than 300,000 immigrants arrived in Canada last year and providing an educational system that welcomes and embraces that diversity is the way forward. As education, business, finance and culture evolve, being able to communicate with and understand one another is critical to the global economy. Being able to connect through common interests, such as music and dance and language and athletics is how we can build trust and friendship.
Share a story about something memorable that has happened at Momentum…
Seven months ago, we had a young student arrive who spoke only a few words of Romanian. Now she is able to speak English with confidence and express her emotions, sing songs, identify colours, and numbers in Mandarin, Spanish, and French. She enjoys her time at Momentum so much that the only place she wanted to spend her 3rd birthday was with us! We threw her a huge party and now all of our students want their birthday parties here. We are very proud of her accomplishments, but more importantly we are proud that she is proud of her accomplishments.
What were your favourite school subjects growing up?
Science, mathematics, physical education and technology.
How do you foster a strong sense of community at Momentum?
Our school community is built on a high level of respect and communication. We have high expectations of professionalism and achievement, but also embrace empathy, compassion, and understanding. We support each other through challenges and I continue to push our professionals to excel and explore their passions, and then share it with their students in the classroom. I encourage and support our staff in any way that I can. We have a monthly meeting where we connect and share ideas. We recognize birthdays and teacher appreciation week. And if a member of our staff has an important event happening in their lives outside of the school – a concert, performance, or sporting event, for example we support that as much as possible. We’re a big family here.
What does a typical day at the school look like from your perspective?
My day starts by communicating with parents who have questions about the day or programming. When I arrive at the school I make sure that food and snacks are all fresh and greet the staff and students. My focus is mostly on connecting and communicating with our teachers, but I see the students when I make announcements about new things happening in our classrooms or present the student of the week. They go to the treasure chest and choose something special. Our student is selected based on characteristics, not academic progress, and it’s uplifting for everyone.
– Momentum Montessori is a private pre-school located in Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood, providing before and after school childcare. Our exceptional educational program embraces diversity, discovery and child-led learning. –