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Military veteran a finalist for UArizona teacher of the year

A military veteran is now the Junior ROTC instructor at Cienega High School. He is a finalist for the Arizona Athletics Teacher of the Year Award.
Posted at 6:54 AM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 08:54:05-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Arizona Athletics and KGUN 9 are proud to present the nominees for the teacher of the year award. Lieutenant commander George Murga of Cienega High School is one of the nine finalists.

"Effective leadership is based on personal example," Murga instructed his classroom filled with cadets.

Murga is retired from the Navy, but still active in the classroom. He heads up the Navy Junior ROTC program at Cienega High School.

The four year program includes students from the entire Vail School District. With over 200 Cadets, it's the largest Junior ROTC program in the state.

Murga comes from a family of teachers and has always wanted to teach.

"My supervisor at my last command, before I retired, said you should really teach something you've been doing your whole adult life," explained Murga. "It sounded interesting and that's how I kind of fell into it."

Murga says he is really enjoying his second career as a teacher.

"The best part about teaching is you get students who come it that you have taught and they tell you there success stories. A lot of students that I have taught here have joined the military, have become officers, some of them are pilots, some of them are on ships."

Murga has been teaching Junior ROTC for 10 years and says it's an honor to be nominated for this teacher of the year award. But he says teaching his students is reward enough.

"Not only just the academics, but just how to get through life," Murga said. "Academics is a part of being in high school, but how you grow up to be a responsible adult."

Lieutenant commander Murga is one of nine finalist for the Arizona Athletics Teacher of the Year Award. The winner will be announced March 5.