Dr. Lane Murray of Huntsville became the pioneer of the school district concept within a state prison system when she was named superintendent for the Windham School System, Department of Corrections in 1969. Dr. Murray developed this school program from little more than an idea into one of the most highly respected correctional education programs in the nation. With no model to follow, Dr. Murray recognized the need for an innovative, nontraditional approach to the education of the incarcerated adult felon. She identified and implemented a competency-based approach to instruction in a prison setting.
Under her direction and leadership Windham’s staff grew from eight teachers in 1969 to a staff of over 600 in 1988, which serves an annual student population of 40,000 inmates. Dr. Murray kept educational excellence as her goal and administrative integrity as her rule. Her leadership skills are recognized throughout the nation and state.
President Gerald Ford appointed Dr. Murray to serve on the National Advisory Council for Adult Education. In 1978, she became a professor of criminal justice on the interim faculty of Sam Houston State University. In 1984, she became a professional advisor to the National Business Council for Effective Literacy, Inc., and, in 1987, she became a member of the Texas Interagency Coordination Council’s Dropout Reduction Program.
Twice elected President of the Correctional Education Association, USA-Canada, Dr. Murray was a life member of its Board of Directors.
Recognition of her outstanding professional contributions included the E.R. Cass Correctional Achievement Award, the American Correctional Association’s most prestigious award conferred in recognition of outstanding professional service and dedication to the correctional community and the public. She also received distinguished recognition for the creation of an educational filmstrip series on using the library, a documentary film describing Windham School System, and a docudrama film depicting Windham’s inmate student’s creative writing project.
A native Texan, Dr. Murray began her teaching experience in 1941. She served as a consultant to the Department of Corrections in Oklahoma, South Carolina, to the Illinois Legislature, and to the Ohio State University.