Sen. Fred Martin, R-Boise, has visited the schools in his District 15 at least four times each. He’s met multiple times with the 14 principals and he’s personal friends with most of them; many either taught or coached his own children.
On Thursday, Martin spent part of his morning at Summerwind STEM Academy, a K-5 elementary school within the Meridian School District. He was there as part of American Education Week activities, an event sponsored by the National Education Association and the Idaho Education Association.
Martin, a first-team lawmaker and former teacher, was comfortable with the students in Kelli Cullen’s fifth-grade class as he walked them through a quick state government lesson.
Do you know how many Idaho senators there are? Do you know how many representatives are elected? Do you know what Idaho senators call the governor? Who is the president of the Idaho Senate?
The students were engaged with Martin’s questions and his message of being respectful and committed. The message he teaches is also the message he shares with educators.
“The Legislature has not conveyed the simple message of support and concern,” Martin said. “We are committed to education, we appreciate teachers and we support families and kids.”
Meridian Education Association president Luke Franklin invited Martin to Summerwind.
“I reached out to him because I know he appreciates teachers and he listens,” Franklin said. “I want people to be aware and understand this is Education Week and we care.”
Martin has lived in the same house for 40 years with his wife Darla. Their six children attended the schools that he now represents. He has years of institutional knowledge.
One of Martin’s favorite stories is when he asked an elementary principal if he used all of his rooms. One room, confessed the principal, was not for kids but was instead turned into a store and filled with donated basic needs such as soap and toothpaste. Teachers “shopped” on Fridays for things they could give to their students to take home for the weekends.
“I was so impressed by the way they took care of themselves and filled a need,” Martin said. “I come to schools because I need updated and so I can truly understand what’s happening.”
Here are the answers to Sen. Martin’s questions: 35; 70; the gentleman on the second floor; and the lieutenant governor.