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 Poway Unified Educator Selected as a California Teacher of the Year

​​​State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson named Poway Unified middle school teacher Martin Reisert as one of five California Teachers of the Year at the State Board of Education meeting on November 8.

Martin was selected as Oak Valley Middle School​’s Teacher of the Year last spring and was chosen as a San Diego County Teacher of the Year in October. He has held the position of sixth grade Basic Education teacher at Poway Unified for 11 years. Martin taught at Bernardo Heights Middle School from 2001 to 2004 before going to Oak Valley Middle School where he is presently teaching. Previous to that he worked as a reading and mathematics Impact Teacher at Chaparral Elementary School.

PUSD Superintendent John Collins said, “Congratulations to Martin on being named a California Teacher of the Year. The award honors Martin’s passion and commitment to helping all students find excitement in learning, a new confidence in themselves, and awareness about how they can make a difference through helping others. Martin represents the outstanding quality of Poway teachers and the teachers recognized as San Diego County Teachers of the Year.”

Martin is the second Poway Unified teacher to receive the state award. Karen O’Connor, third grade teacher at Adobe Bluffs Elementary School, received the honor in 2000 when she was at Sunset Hills Elementary School.

Martin said, “I feel very honored and blessed to represent Oak Valley Middle School, PUSD, and San Diego County at the state level. This is a dream come true!”

Martin wrote in his application, “I have based the core of my teaching philosophy on these four words, ‘I believe in you.’ When children know I believe in them, learning occurs, and they begin to believe in themselves.”

Once a reluctant student himself, Martin still remembers the teacher who inspired him in fourth grade. Jack Ryan, a hands-on, involved educator, encouraged him to try, and then celebrated his successes. Mr. Ryan celebrated the catch Martin made during a lunchtime football game. Then, while it took some time to achieve, Martin finally made the 100-Second Club for mastery of multiplication facts, earning another celebration from Mr. Ryan. Even now Martin often thinks, “What would Mr. Ryan do?”

As a teacher with his students, Martin shares the challenges he had during his days in middle school, working with them to establish expectations for learning and sharing tips for success through organization and goal setting. It’s all about establishing personal connections, and encouraging middle school youngsters to be involved in their learning. Martin tries to model by example, and give them opportunities to reach out to others. He says that helping students discover and participate in something bigger than themselves has been his biggest accomplishment.

During Martin’s first years of teaching he participated in the Poway Professional Assistance Program (PPAP). Poway Unified has a teacher evaluation system that provides support and review by experienced teacher consultants under PPAP, a partnership of the Poway Unified School District and the Poway Federation of Teachers. The consultants (who are master teachers) frequently visit classrooms, observing, coaching, and modeling lessons as well as evaluating teachers. PUSD has received national recognition for educational quality and is known for its excellent teachers.

Martin was presented with a Permanent Motivation Award by the teachers of Bernardo Heights Middle School when he transferred to Oak Valley, and special recognition by Channel 10 News for initiating a recycling program at Oak Valley and in the community which recycles over 10,000 pounds of paper and more than 25,000 bottles and cans annually. He has helped students and parents at Del Norte High School and several elementary schools to establish recycling programs.

Martin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Science degree in Education from Dowling College, Oakdale, New York.

Oak Valley Principal Casey Currigan said, “Becoming a San Diego County Teacher of the Year is a great honor for Martin and for Oak Valley. He is an exceptional teacher and we are very fortunate to have him.”

Mark Vitti, sixth grade Oak Valley teacher said, “Martin´s a world traveler who brings education alive for children when teaching Social Studies and Science. He shares artifacts from his trips, dresses in cultural clothing, and captivates students with the attention bubble he creates through his passionate presentation lessons. Martin believes in his students, and they know and feel it. He´s an educational super hero!”