By MEGAN STROUP
After 26 years in the Columbia Public School District, Craig Martin is retiring from his position as principal at Smithton Middle School.
Before working at Smithton, first as an assistant principal for eight years and then as the principal for the last six, Martin taught science at West Junior High and at the high-school level in Dallas.
His favorite experience, however, has been at Smithton with his middle school students.
“Middle-level kids are neat in a lot of ways,” Martin said. “They’re little kids trying to be adults. They’re learning about abstract thinking and making adult choices. They’re just fun to be around.”
Smithton science teacher Meera Sood said Martin’s preference for middle school is clear, and she calls it one of his strengths.
“He likes the whole package: social, emotional and academic,” Sood said.
A Columbia native, Martin attended MU to obtain an education degree after graduating from Hickman High School. He later obtained a doctorate in education from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He completed coursework through a satellite campus and visited Florida for classes each summer of the program.
Looking toward his retirement, Martin said he would have no problem staying busy. He looks forward to playing golf and said there are always plenty of things to do around the house.
Martin will stay in the Columbia area after retirement. His wife of 25 years, Nancy, continues to work at the Boone Hospital Center. The couple is taking their two daughters — Heather, 23, and Becky, 19 — on a cruise to Mexico this summer as part of the celebration of their 25th wedding anniversary.
Jean Selby, the acting principal at Oakland Junior High, will assume the position as principal at Smithton in the fall.
“Jean is a fabulous person to step into Craig’s shoes,” Sood said. “She has the ability to make changes and make everyone feel like they’re a part of the change.”
Sood added both Selby and Martin have research backgrounds and similar ways of presenting new ideas, which will make the transition easy.
“I think the teachers will enjoy working with her,” Martin said.