Nantucket Select Board member Melissa Murphy announced Wednesday night that she is stepping down from her elected position with less than a year left in her term.
Murphy said she is shifting her focus to attending law school, and has enrolled in classes at the Massachusetts School of Law in Andover. She told her fellow Select Board members on Wednesday that it was "an opportunity I simply couldn't pass up."
Murphy's final in-person meeting will be Aug. 17, after which she said her intention is to attend meetings remotely until Nov. 8, when she hopes a special election will be scheduled to elect her successor.
"Becoming a lawyer has been an aspiration of mine for a very long time and I now have the time and resources to dedicate to it," Murphy said. "I'm beyond excited for this new adventure. I want to thank the community for your support in electing me to serve on the Board in June of 2020. It has been my honor to serve, especially during the unprecedented pandemic with so many new challenges facing the community. I grew up on Nantucket and from a very young age I've given my time and energy to make Nantucket a better and healthier place for all of us. My motivations for service have been very simple: I want to give back to the community that has given me and my family so much."
Murphy's fellow board members thanked her for her service on the board, and even had some jokes to share.
"I thought you'd be smarter than wanting to become a lawyer, but," Matt Fee said while laughing following Murphy's announcement.
"Thank you Matt, that means a lot," Murphy replied.
A graduate of Nantucket High School who went on to study at Eugene Lang College, Murphy has served in several key leadership roles over the years, from being on the Nantucket School Committee for nearly a decade, to overseeing the reopening of the Dreamland as the theater’s executive director, to serving as the Town’s Culture and Tourism director. Most recently, Murphy co-founded WE CAN (Women Engaged in Civic Action on Nantucket) and led an island-wide book club designed to empower women on the island.
The board is considering holding the special election to replace Murphy on Nov. 8 in order to coincide with the state election, which will include the gubernatorial contest.