Dan Martin ’72, Teacher, Coach, Banker, Volunteer

Mr. Dan Martin class of 1972, was welcomed back into the hallways of West High School (WHS) in 2008, appointed to the leadership position by the Superintendent of the Columbus City Schools (CCS). Having spent his life growing up in the district, the alum was honored to claim his association with WHS as a student, leader, athlete, teacher, coach, and eventually principal. Were it not for the lessons he learned and developed throughout his education in the CCS system, particularly his accomplishments at West, he believes he would not have been afforded the success and experience in life that brought him full circle back to those WHS halls.

Mr. Martin’s return to West High School was almost inevitable. Growing up in the Hilltop schools, Dan was encouraged by his middle school Secretary, at the time, (Mrs. Haynes) to work in the middle school office. Dan’s leadership and interest in school operations continued when he was co-chairman of the West Safety Club and member of  “Future Teachers of America.”

No education is complete without sports – and Dan was a standout at West and beyond. As a student, he participated in Track, Wrestling, and Football. His sophomore year he was on the 1969 City Reserve Championship Football Team and also earned a letter in Wrestling as well as receiving awards in track. During his senior year, Dan excelled in football as a defensive linebacker and offensive fullback. That same year, he received his second letter in football and was the second-highest award winner of Stars For Exceptional Play as well as being designated the team’s Most Improved Player. For his hard work on the gridiron, Dan received All-City Football Honors after the 1971 season. During high school, he also was a member of Varsity W, Student Council, and served as the treasurer of Hi-Y. It was by way of football that Dan earned the financial aid necessary to attend The Defiance College in northwest Ohio, where he would go on to earn a degree in Comprehensive Business Education. While at Defiance, his leadership continued as a member of the Student Senate and the Football team. Dan was a four-time letterman and received both league and district Football honors during his sophomore and junior years.

Upon graduation from Defiance in1976, Columbus City Schools hired Dan to teach business classes at North High School. He spent several years teaching Office Education and coaching both football and wrestling. Due to the busing issue, North closed, so Dan decided to try something new – bank management. As a management trainee, his training included volunteerism within the community in the way of a three-month stint as a Loaned Executive with United Way. His performance was at such a level that United Way persuaded his employer to allow him to continue his assignment for an additional three months. Upon his return to working as a banker, he was assigned as an assistant manager to a branch where duties were given to lead the branch office to be the first to come “online” with technology, then train other offices to install the system within the organization. The opportunity presented itself to learn about computers and data processing. Dan ultimately found his way back to teaching in the CCS district in1985. The advanced computer skills learned allowed him the chance to teach his newly found knowledge at Fort Hayes, where he remained until 2004.

As an instructor of Data Processing, Business Computer Information System, and Cooperative Office Education, Dan planned curriculum, cultivated employment worksites, placed students in entry-level work positions, and provided daily instruction to students in the use of personal computers for business applications. Dan developed a hands-on shadowing experience for students within the Office of the Secretary of State, The Limited, the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation, and The Columbus Dispatch, to name a few. In addition, he taught adult education computer classes in the evenings, as well as conducted keyboarding training as an instructor for Columbus State Community College for members of the American Bankers Association.

Dan remained active in the schools and his community by serving as the President of Columbus and Metropolitan Area Coordinators (CMAC) and President of the Columbus Ohio Federal Teachers Credit Union. As a community volunteer, Dan became an active member of the Charity Newsies Organization serving underprivileged school children. Their mission states, “no child shall be kept out of school for lack of adequate clothing.” Dan served as a board member, officer, and eventually President. Through his work in the classroom and with Charity Newsies, Mr. Martin was recognized by the CCS Board with an “Apple Award”, presented for developing classroom shadowing work experience for students and by providing assistance for vocational uniforms by way of Charity Newsies. Dan recently completed a three-year stint as President of his church council, but he continues as the Treasurer of his church’s Men’s Club. Also, he has recently become President of the West High Alumni Association.

Throughout his career, Dan has held tight to the historic WHS Motto, “Wisdom, Honesty, Sincerity”. Upon his “full circle” return as Principal of West in 2008, Dan’s daily goal for staff and students was to share and instill this Motto with the student body and increase academic achievement. He was often heard stating: “Bring Your Best to West Every Day” as an encouragement to foster daily academic success and future lifelong learning. He increased classroom participation and attendance at sporting events by creating classroom incentives using opportunities to earn “Cowboy Bucks” for academic achievement to purchase admittance to school events as well as at the concession stand and school store.

All the while, implementing safety measures to make the school a more student-friendly and safe environment for both students and staff. Mr. Martin’s vision and plan to move the students of West to personal success saw a fifty-percent increase in graduation rates during his tenure as Principal.

Under Dan’s leadership, WHS and staff received a 4-million dollar grant to provide equipment and professional development to assist staff to transform student success by creating, following, and changing into a school of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Additionally, Dan was nominated for and received the White Castle sponsored Ingram Principal’s Award. Also, his leadership led to several projects to update the building ascetically as well as becoming technically advanced to generate student success. The academic programs implemented led to West being designated and featured on Channel 6 news feeds as a “Cool School”.

The CCS Motto is “Each student is highly educated, prepared for leadership and service, and empowered for success as a citizen in a global community.” The history and life’s work of Dan Martin as a Columbus City Schools’ student, athlete, educator, principal, and as an empowered, productive member of the Central Ohio community exemplifies what it means to be a CCS success, and he is a most proud member of the West High Cowboy legacy.

Dan retired from education in 2013; is married to Beverly and is the father of four and the grandfather of four, as well.

Mike Miller, Class of 1970, nominated Dan.