SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — There was a buzz in the air Tuesday morning as Springfield teachers met to hear their new leader share her vision for the district’s future.
In a packed gymnasium at Thurston High School, Dr. Hertica Martin went face to face with more than 1,200 teachers from across the district.
She highlighted the many achievements the district accomplished last year, but she also told them that much work remains to be done and the goal is always to put kids first.
“Remember schools were created to meet the needs of students. They were not created to employ teachers, administrators, counselors, nurses, secretaries, cooks, bus drivers, or anyone else for that matter,” Martin said.
She said the district was filled with young men and women destined for success.
“They just need the opportunity, and we, we are the opportunity for our children. They are counting on us,” Martin said.
Before she spoke, there was a festive air in the school courtyard. Afterward, Martin said she loved the energy and attitude of the staff.
“I think they’re ready. Tomorrow the kids come, so come what may, we better be ready,” Martin said.
Nancy Bigley, Vice Chair of the School Board, said Martin’s tenure will be different from her predecessor’s, Nancy Golden.
“I do believe they will notice a difference. It’s not that the values have changed at all. But what is changed is how we will deliver our work,” Bigley said.
For example, starting this year the district will have Seminar Fridays, 15 days when teachers will get extra instruction on various subjects. After the speech, teachers praised Martin’s approach.
“I appreciated her directness. She just kind of hit the nail on the head with saying we are here solely for students,” said Amy Page, Library Media Specialist.
As for new teachers starting their careers Wednesday, Martin advised them to get to know their students well. She said though the work is hard, it’s still fun.
“And all teachers I think make it fun for kids. And they wouldn’t do this if they didn’t love what they do,” Martin said.
Martin, who was born on the small Caribbean island of Nevis, said she is settling into her new home in Springfield and looking forward to seeing her work through.