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2024 Top 20 Impact Makers Honorees

Melissa Williams Murphy
2024 Top 20 Inspiring Woman Impact Maker Award


Awards Presentation

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Four Seasons Hotel Houston

Melissa Williams Murphy is a museum executive director, author, and publisher who is passionate about children’s literacy and education.

A native Houstonian, Melissa is the Executive Director of The Bryan Museum (for Texas History Education). She is also the author of 12 books for children and young readers, a publisher of dozens of other children’s authors, and the founder of iWRITE. The latter is a nonprofit organization Melissa founded in 2009.

During a year-long book tour in 2008, elementary school students asked Melissa the same question: “Can kids be authors, too?” That question sparked the idea for the I Write Short Stories by Kids for Kids Annual Publishing Contest. Now in its fifteenth year, the contest gives students the opportunity to become published authors and illustrators. Thousands of kids from all over the world have been published through the program and have walked the red carpet at iWRITE’s annual book-signing event. 

Melissa has presented to hundreds of thousands of students in over 300 schools across Texas and California in addition to being a guest speaker at education conferences for the last fifteen years. Her graduate work in psychology and counseling influences the framework to her programs, giving students a voice and giving educators the tools they need to build student confidence through writing. Melissa makes learning fun for kids while aligning lessons with TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) standards for Texas education.

Melissa created the fictional character, “i” The Guy, who appears in all of her iWRITE resources for teachers and students, including writing workbooks in English and Spanish, a Texas history journal, online curriculum, and television programming. There is even a life-sized “i” The Guy mascot who visits schools across the Houston area and gets students excited to write. Today, her organization also publishes the “by kids” quarterly iWRITER Magazine, hosts a monthly youth club, and just recently launched its alumni association.

In 2021, Melissa assumed her role as the Executive Director at The Bryan Museum, which allowed her to bring literacy and history together through a nonprofit partnership and grow the museum’s educational focus. After establishing the museum’s education department, her most memorable project was breaking a world record with her team at iWRITE and The Bryan Museum. Together, they created the largest published book in the world called, I Am Texas. One thousand students were published in the giant book, which stands seven feet tall and weighs 496 pounds.

I Am Texas contains 400 pages of stories, poetry, and artwork … all about Texas. The book has traveled all over the state with previous stops at the State Capitol, Alamo, and the Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade. It has garnered much interest resulting in August 10 officially being declared “I Am Texas Day” in Houston by Mayor Turner and being featured in the Guinness World Records 2024 book.

As well as being the founder of iWRITE, Melissa has served as the president of Rotary Houston Skyline. In recognition of her service to the community, Melissa and has been named a Houston Chronicle “It” Girl,  a  Houston Treasure by The Social Book, a Houston Sweetheart, an LCA (Lights, Camera, Action) Houston International Mother’s Day Honoree, and one of Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women 2024 by Houston Woman Magazine.

Melissa and her husband, Matt, are the proud parents of two little boys, Jackson and Colton. They love spending time outdoors, playing with monster trucks, and, of course, reading bedtime stories together.

It is for all the reasons mentioned above, and many more, that Melissa Williams Murphy has been named a Top 20 Inspiring Woman Impact Maker for 2024.  

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