by Amy Haggerty
They say English can be one of the hardest languages to learn. Jessica Martell has been teaching this subject for 14 years in Stockbridge and makes learning English look easy.
It helps that Martell teaches with ease and confidence and knows her subject areas well. Her classroom is always neat and organized, and she has an incredible work ethic. She is laid back and never appears frazzled or overwhelmed with day-to-day activities. Her students love her style and hardly ever misbehave in her classroom. They cherish every moment she gives them, every day.
Martell always welcomes a challenge. As an example, she is the testing coordinator for the junior and senior high schools. As coordinator, she spends months reading manuals and becoming an expert on the rules she needs to know to prepare all the Stockbridge 8th through 11th graders for the statewide and national tests they take in the spring. The district is fortunate to have her expertise, organization, and personable skillfulness to fill this huge job and massive responsibility.
Martell loves teaching English and works with students from grades seven through twelve. She also teaches several elective classes and has, on occasion, taught biology.
Having grown up in Jackson, Mich., Martell graduated from Albion College with an English major and biology minor. She also holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Spring Arbor. During college, she took a job working at Silver Foam Distributing. There she met her husband, Brad Martell, and they married in 2007. Martell has two cats, Penelope Buttons and Scooter Boots. She enjoys several hobbies during the summer and often posts golfing pictures. Golf has become a favorite pastime for her.
Martell has a long list of those she credits as the greatest influences in her life, namely her family, including siblings, parents, grandparents, and her husband. According to Martell, they have provided her with her worldview, work ethic, and sense of humor.
Stockbridge Schools has offered her exactly what she was looking for in a career. She wanted to teach in a “small, close-knit community, with an educational philosophy that encourages growth and innovation.” Martell says she feels incredibly well-supported by administration.
“We are treated as trusted professionals and experts in our fields. We are encouraged to try new things in our classrooms to keep current with skills students will need to be successful in our changing society,” she said.
Her greatest accomplishments include meeting her loving husband, building a warm home life, and pursuing an enriching career in a field that matters.
“I am happy with the life I’m living, and that seems like a pretty big accomplishment to me,” Martell added.
Martell tries not to worry about all the policy adjustments and laws that result in changes in the teaching profession. Her students are what matter the most to her. It’s very evident when you spend time in her classroom that she loves what she does and was born to do this! Her advice to Stockbridge students: “Hustle! The harder you work now, the better life will be later.”
Sounds like advice worth taking.