Dr. Kay Martin
Dr. Kay Martin (PHOTO BY / JAMES EVANS)

By KEITH RYAN CARTWRIGHT
Rutherford County Schools

Dr. Kay Martin is among nine finalists for the 2020-2021 Tennessee Supervisor of the Year award, per an announcement from the Tennessee Department of Education.

To qualify, candidates must demonstrate a record of implementing innovative programs and managing and motivating students and faculties. Additionally, the nominees must have a minimum of three years’ experience as an administrator and a minimum of five years’ experience in public schools, according to the release.

Martin, who has been an educator since 1999, has served as Rutherford County’s Secondary Coordinator since 2017. RCS is the fourth largest district in Tennessee with about 48,000 students.

“I am proud and honored to serve Rutherford County and to give back to the community that has been so good to me all my life,” said Martin, a Rutherford County native and graduate of Oakland High School.

Martin added, “There are many people in our district deserving of this nomination.”

She began her career as an eighth-grade language arts teacher at Walter J. Baird School in Lebanon before joining Rutherford County Schools in 2002, where she served in the same role at Siegel Middle and later LaVergne Middle and became an assistant principal at the school in 2006. Three years later, in 2009, she was named principal of Walter Hill Elementary School and in 2013 joined Central Magnet School — which serves both middle and high school grade bands — as an assistant principal.

In 2010, Martin was named the DNJ Ruthie Favorite Principal of the Year.

With more than 14 years of administrative experience at all three grade bands — elementary, middle and secondary — she twice has been a leadership mentor with Lipscomb University and Tennessee Tech University for aspiring administrators.

“I’m a product of Rutherford County,” concluded Martin, who said teachers and administrators have impacted and influenced her as a student as well as a teacher, administrator and now as a district leader.

Her mentors and heroes, who have always been educators, provided professional examples and, later, have shown confidence in her to become a mentor for new and emerging educators.

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