She has a kind heart and a generous smile. She cares for her students and colleagues as if they were her own family. She embraces new research ideas and is open to new teaching challenges. These are just a few of the reasons first-grade teacher Carrie Martens was singled out for January’s Staff Spotlight.
“She brings happiness to all around her,” remarked Barb Currey, who nominated Martens for this recognition. Currey recalled students’ amazement on Science Day when Martens delights them with a kid-sized bubble lab and Engineering Day when she runs the “Rain Gutter Regatta”. “In summary she embodies what we want to develop in all of our students. And that is an enthusiastic quest for life-long learning,” said Curry.
This past summer, Martens, whose passion for teaching students to read is well regarded, inspired the staff to read a book titled, “The Knowledge Gap”. The book study had a ripple effect when multiple grade-level teachers piloted a new strategy to teach reading with a focus on knowledge acquisition and vocabulary built on content-rich material. “Our school is a better place because of her,” added Currey.
Martens has been with the school district for twelve years and has taught first grade for the past three years. Prior to that she was a teaching assistant (three years), Title 1 Reading (five years), and a second-grade teacher (one year). Martens says the thing she most likes about her job is the terrific staff, students, and families she is able to work with. Her years of teaching have also taught her a thing or two, including to “always be flexible because things will never go quite as planned,” said Martens, “but there is always a reason to smile.”
When she’s not in the classroom, Martens enjoys running, walking her two “very active” Weimaraner dogs, reading, and swimming. Always physically active, she competitively ice skated on a synchronized club team from grade school through high school. She confesses that if she weren’t a teacher she'd like to be a Metroparks trail guide and that if she could live anywhere in Northeast Ohio it would be “ near a beach.”
She and her husband, Bob, have two sons, Colin and Braden. Braden is a freshman at The Ohio State University and Colin is a junior in high school.