Marty Erskine G’11 is the AIG Specialist for Lawsonville Elementary and Sandy Ridge Elementary schools in Stokes County, N.C and was recently named Teacher of the Year.
By Taylor Sharp ’16
For Marty Erskine, there is no final destination in education.
“Education is a constant journey,” he said. “You always have to evaluate both the things you do well and the things on which you can improve. We are always striving to find the best way to empower our students.”
He is certified in gifted education and special education, and is a graduate of Elon’s Master of Education program.
But Erskine was not always a teacher. He graduated from Clemson University in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial management. He pursued a career in engineering for many years, only deciding to teach in 2006.
“I think the thing that set him apart from other students is that he came in after a previous career,” said Judith Howard, retired Elon professor and director of the M.Ed. program. “He really wanted to know everything he could about education and about teaching. He came in with purpose. Everything he did, he did with purpose. He didn’t just complete assignments, he made his work meaningful for himself.”
Marty was not the only Erskine interested in education. His wife, Marsha, graduated from Elon’s M.Ed. program in August of 2004 and now teaches at Stoneville Elementary School. His son, Clark, entered and graduated the program at the same time as Marty, and now teaches at McMichael High School.
Marty’s son Grant is an Elon University Law student.
Erskine credits much of his success to an Elon education that was both research- and practice-based. “We had a research basis behind everything we did,” Erskine said, “That made me think very differently about entering the classroom every day. Until the Elon experience, I was a ‘reflective practitioner’, but I was only reflective on what I thought should happen in the classroom. Elon’s emphasis on research helped clarify and polish my teaching methods.”
Proper teaching methods combined with a philosophy that education extends beyond the classroom define Erskine’s style of teaching. “I want my students to leave me with a better hope for the future,” he said. “We’re a Title I school, there’s a lot of poverty. I see myself as an instrument to help my students see brightness in their futures.”
Erskine says that being named Teacher of the Year will push him to continue to excel. “It’s a huge honor and a humbling experience,” he said. “With it carries a lot of responsibility. People will expect me to be a model educator. And as human beings, we’re not perfect. There’s no final destination in education. We keep learning and try to adapt and improve.”