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Ruston High’s Martin makes state Teacher of the Year finalist cut

Wednesday, June 9, 2021
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Ruston High School math teacher Courtney Martin, now a finalist for Louisiana High School Teacher of the Year, teaches a lesson on exponential functions to one of her classes.

Ruston High School math teacher Courtney Martin has been named one of the nine finalists for Louisiana’s 2022 Teacher of the Year.

The Louisiana Department of Education announced the finalists live during a conference last week and published the names Friday, selecting Martin and eight others from among 24 semifinalists named in April. The winner will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony later this year.

From being selected as Ruston High’s Teacher of the Year, to gaining the same honor on the Lincoln Parish level, and then making the semifinalist and now finalist cuts, Martin said she has continued to feel surprised, excited and humbled by the recognition.

“It almost seems strange to be honored for something that just comes so naturally,” she said. “Teaching is what makes me me.”

Billing herself as the “ACT prep queen” while working as an ACT tutor for hire in addition to her teaching duties, Martin has a passion for helping students navigate standardized testing and be the best they can be academically.

She strives to break down and change the negative perceptions of mathematics that many students bring into her classroom based on past experiences.

When COVID-19 forced changes in education last spring, Martin was one of the teachers across the district who helped develop the virtual learning plan and taught other teachers how to use the remote platforms.

All Teacher and Principal of the Year finalists and semifinalists will be celebrated and honored at the 15th Annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Awards Gala, which will be held virtually on the evening of July 16.

Cypress Springs Principal Mary Wilks-Kilgore made the semifinalist cut in April for statewide Principal of the Year and will also be honored at the event.