Discover Your Island

Usha Gurumurthy

An Outstanding Islander

Photo of Usha Gurumurthy

Always Rise Up

Known as the no-nonsense “Ms. G” to her students, Usha Gurumurthy overcame personal obstacles when she left India to come to Corpus Christi in 2003. Because she was new to the classroom, her students did not trust her at first, so she had to work even harder to earn their respect.  She did this by understanding the individual needs of her students and creating lessons to fit their specific needs.

“The first couple of weeks were hard, and the kids totally rejected me,” said Gurumurthy, currently an English teacher at Ray High School. “I was shocked and called my dad who said I could come back to India if I wanted to, but I wanted to stand my ground and prove to the students that I was a good teacher.”

Gurumurthy, a Texas A&M University– Corpus Christi Ph.D. student in Curriculum and Instruction, not only had to overcome personal strife with her students, but she also had to prove herself to her fellow teachers.

Gurumurthy was recently named Corpus Christi Independent School District (CCISD) Secondary Teacher of the Year for 2014. She was chosen out of other talented teachers in the district for this honor because of her balance, kindness, and success of her students.

"As an English teacher, there are so many life lessons that I can teach,” she said. “I always use my own life story to tell how difficult life is, but you should never give up. Always rise up, and look inside yourself.”

These days, many of Gurumurthy’s students return to her classroom to thank her for preparing them for their first semester in college. Her students are scoring higher on international standardized tests than many other contemporaries.

Gurumurthy speaks nine different languages and is a published author on grammar books called “Milestones in English” for 6th, 7th, and 8th grades in her home country. She feels most comfortable sharing her stories with her students, mixing life lessons with grammar lessons.  

“Believe in yourself, and success will follow,” she said.