Reynoldsburg City Schools News Article

RCS' Martin, Coley are Columbus Parent Magazine Teachers of the Year!

For the second time in three years, Reynoldsburg City Schools has teachers who were Columbus Parent Magazine’s 2020 Teacher of the Year. This year, Mindy Martin, fourth grade teacher at Taylor Road Elementary School and Jim Coley, U.S. Government teacher at Reynoldsburg High School’s eSTEM Academy took the Elementary and High School categories, respectively. This is also the second time in three years a teacher from Taylor Road Elementary School has won the award.

Mindy Martin 

Photo by Tessa Berg, courtesy Columbus Parent

Those who nominated Martin spoke of her many contributions to both the school and the District. She has been at Taylor Road Elementary School for seven years and serves on committees for math, reading, science, social studies and most recently, the RCS Task Force which was comprised of parents, teachers and administrators who worked together to formulate Reynoldsburg City Schools’ Responsible Restart Plan to return to school amidst the COVI19 pandemic.

It’s not unheard of for her to be here at 9 o’clock at night,” Taylor Road Elementary School’s Principal Jamie Johnson tells This Week News. “She is for sure one of the hardest-working teachers we have, but along with that, she is one of the most effective.”

“She is tutoring students during their lunch hour and during recess if they want to stay in. She’s offering tutoring before school and after school for kids to help them learn things they might be having difficulty with. But aside from the academic stuff, she really just makes them better people,” concludes Johnson.

“My belief is that I don’t just teach math, reading, science and social studies. I teach the whole child,” Martin said in an interview to This Week News.

“Teaching the whole child is the framework for everything I do. My passion to drive them comes from what’s in the best interest of children. We’re always there for the best interest of the kids. I think that’s why my students enjoy the classroom, because they feel they’re being heard. Our community doesn’t run without them. I always tell them it’s my job to teach and their job to do everything else,” said Martin.

Martin was nominated by Lillian Van Horn, a former TRES student of Martin’s. She will be in eighth grade this fall.

Jim Coley 
Photo by Tessa Berg, courtesy Columbus Parent

Jim Coley, RHS eSTEM Academy U.S. Government teacher believes he has taught nearly every subject possible during his career, which began in the early 1990s. In addition to his teaching, he led the Robotics Team, Technical Difficulties from its inception in 2011 for five seasons as coach before stepping down in 2018.

“I love doing things like that, working with my hands. I like tools. It just lent itself to my love of that. I jumped right on that,” Coley tells This Week News. “It’s really complicated.”

Regarded highly among colleagues, students and parents, Coley was nominated by RCS parent Chris Strefelt, whose two sons had Coley as a teacher and were on the Robotics Team.

In an interview with This Week News, Strefelt says, “When you have 25-year-olds coming back to a robotics program, they’re not coming back to see the robots. They’re coming back to see Jim. The man has had an impact on a whole lot of young people.”

Scott Bennett, eSTEM Academy’s principal agrees. “(Relationships) are the key for him,” Bennett tells This Week News. “He does such a great job of developing relationships with students and getting to know them on a personal level. That makes the whole classroom experience so much better.”

Columbus Parent Magazine has shined a spotlight on Central Ohio educators for the past seven years through its Teacher of the Year Program. In partnership with This Week Community News, the project recognizes 15 finalists and three winners- one each at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Nomination information is emailed to members of the District, and urges them to nominate worthy teachers.

Nominations were open from Dec. 5, 2019 through Jan. 16, 2020 and came from parents, current and former students, colleagues and more from school districts across Central Ohio. Readers of Columbus Parent Magazine vote online to determine the winners.

Typically, the teachers are surprised at their school during assemblies, but due to the COVID19 pandemic, Columbus Parent Magazine hopes to honor the Teachers of the Year at a later date when state guidelines allow.

Click for links to the articles written by This Week News and Columbus Parent Magazine.

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