Marti Holley and Norah Murray



About Marti, by Norah~

Teaching children is Marti’s passion; I see it every day in her interactions, in the way she prepares herself and the lessons, and the environment she creates. Marti is devoted to our students and their paths, attending carefully to every little detail of our school days from songs to stories to lessons to games. She guides them with gentleness, precision and patience. She has high expectations for our students, which they happily rise to meet.      

At the beginning of my teaching career I took education classes at Naropa University and Marti was a guest speaker in one of them. I was so inspired by her and I wished so much to know her. Once I got to know her my appreciation for her grew even more.  When I was offered the chance to work with her at Eastern Sun Academy I took it, though I was quite happy where I was.  When ESA closed and the idea of starting Ziji came up there was no question in my mind that this is what I wanted to do and who I wanted to do it with.

The depth and breadth of Marti’s knowledge constantly amazes and inspires me.  I can honestly say that every single day I learn a little (or big!) something from Marti. I love working together at our school, a lovely place where I learn and grow every day too.

About Norah by Marti~

Norah is the heart of our school, she radiates warmth and good cheer. When she is around the world seems brighter. Norah has a silly sense of humor that puts both shy and rascally children equally at ease. A while back one of our parents emailed other parents about getting together and having drinks with ‘our dear Ms. Murray’. This parent mentioned that she was looking forward to having a little ‘Norah time.’ Now I tease Norah about having a little ‘Norah time’ myself. Sometimes that is exactly what I need.

Norah is an artist with an artist’s sensibility. She embraces the small details of our world. Our children’s special word boxes are made of handmade paper and have red velvet interiors. Norah is devoted to deepening and expanding our children’s play experience. She is a craft master. Having worked with so many other teachers in my life, I know how important our relationship is. Young children are little sponges and live inside the relationship the adults in their world have with one another. Norah and I share a common discipline to greet each moment with mindfulness, ever-expanding kindness, and joy. Working with Norah makes this so much more possible to accomplish.

Marti Holley has been teaching young children since 1977.   She has a teaching certificate in Waldorf Kindergarten and Waldorf Elementary Education.  Marti organized and implemented childcare programs at two three-month Buddhist seminaries and was the child care coordinator at Karmê Chöling Retreat Center in Barnet, Vermont for four years.  Marti was a co-founder of Blue Sky Kindergarten and Eastern Sun Academy, both in Boulder.  She attended two sessions of training in the Inquiry Method used in International Baccalaureate Schools.  She has certificates from two Linguistic Remedies phonics training courses and spent two years in a Sensory Processing Study Group.  Over the years Marti has attended a multitude of workshops and trainings in Contemplative Education through Naropa University’s Early Childhood Education department.  Outside of school Marti enjoys reading, movies and aimlessly wandering around McGuckins.

Norah Murray has been teaching young children since 1988.  Norah taught preschool and kindergarten at Alaya Preschool and kindergarten at Eastern Sun Academy, both in Boulder. She has a BFA with concentrations in printmaking and pottery.  Because of Alaya Preschool’s connection with Naropa University she was lucky enough to take many Education classes there.  Norah was the Director of Shotoku Children’s Center at Shambhala Mountain Center for six years, and directed Bodhi School at the Boulder Shambhala Center and taught children’s classes at the center over the years. Norah has taken workshops and trainings in contemplative education, social/emotional learning, giftedness, sensory processing, inquiry method and various art and crafts.  Outside of school Norah enjoys painting, sewing, and making things.

Marti and Norah became friends while on the Board of Shotoku Children’s Center.  As board members they helped with the design and the securing of the funds that brought a new building for children to completion.  Marti and Norah are intern supervisors for the Naropa University Early Childhood Education Department so they often have an intern in the classroom for at least one semester each year.

Both Marti and Norah began practicing meditation at the beginning of their teaching journeys and have found that the two paths inform each other in a very unique way.  They are inspired to bring their years of training to a manifestation that nurtures children, families and themselves.