Martin chosen as PSU’s Outstanding Secondary Educator 

  Monday, April 13, 2020 10:00 AM
  News, People and Society, Alumni

Pittsburg, KS

Josey Martin

When Josey Martin was a high school student at Liberal, Missouri, math was his least favorite subject. But his math teacher, Robert Williams, was his favorite teacher. 

“The way he built relationships with his students his classroom, as our FCA chapter advisor, and on the field as a football coach, was actually what inspired me to become a teacher,” Martin said. “Relating to students was to him the most important part of education, and that’s been my approach, too.” 

Martin was inspired to pursue a teaching degree at Pittsburg State and is this spring’s choice for the College of Education’s Outstanding Secondary Educator Award. (Ordinarily, the award is presented in a ceremony held on campus; this year, that won't happen.) 

After graduating from PSU in December 2014, Martin soon found himself back on the football field alongside Williams — this time as a coach for Bronaugh, Missouri, school district, tiny neighboring district that co-ops a football team with Liberal. 

“I’m the social studies teacher for grades 7 through 12, so I have the same students year after year,” he said. “I’m also the Student Council Advisor and the FCA chapter advisor, so I get to see students grow and mature over the years, which is really neat. It's small and there are higher paying jobs, but I’m so attached to the students, the community, my co-workers – it's a wonderful place.” 

Which makes it even harder, he said, to not be in the classroom as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds; he was right in the middle of World War II in his high school World History and American History classes, and the Civil War in his 8th grade U.S. History class.  

They’re my favorite topics to teach, and I love being in the classroom, I like being able to see them face to face,” he said.  

He still is doing his best to emulate Williams, but he's having to do it at a distance. He’s learning new technology, navigating Google classroom, and figuring out how to create online lessons that will be considered by the district to be enrichment, not completed for grades. 

He looks forward to the thought of returning to school this fall, he said, and meanwhile, his hopes are lifted by the award. 

“It’s humbling to receive it,” Martin said. “I’m grateful to the folks who nominated me. I love being a Gorilla, so this is icing on the cake. I had a wonderful experience at Pitt, made friendships that have lasted. The education program is phenomenal, the way they put us in the classroom early on in classes like Explorations in Education, and the interpersonal relationships you can build with professors. All of that was instrumental in making me the teacher I am today.”