With nearly a half-century of experience as an educator, Vicki Marty had a difficult time walking away from the only profession she had ever known. But for personal reasons related to the rising pandemic, she announced her retirement from teaching late last spring.
Mrs. Marty soon discovered, however, that although she may have decided to retire from Old Trail, the school community wasn’t quite ready to let her go yet.
In fact, as she was finishing up what she thought was her last day at OTS last summer, Associate Head of School Joe Vogel approached her with a proposal that immediately caught her attention.
“As I was finishing up the last day of my work in the library, I stopped by Joe Vogel’s office to thank him for the opportunity to work at Old Trail,” said Mrs. Marty, who had served the previous six years as Old Trail’s Storyteller and Library Assistant. “Joe asked if he could walk me outside. We were literally six steps out the front doors when he proposed the idea of working online with Primary School distance learners this year. I think it took me about three minutes to say I’d be happy to help in any way I could.”
Mrs. Marty’s teaching career began when she was just 17 years old, teaching a four-year-old preschool class. That was 46 years ago. In her current position as Old Trail’s Primary School Distance Learning Cohort Dean, she fills a critical role as an advisor and advocate for distance learning families and ensures continuity of curriculum and care for children learning from home.
“In this role, I am able to interact with children ranging from kindergarten to grade 2 and build a sense of community in what would seem like an isolating situation,” Mrs. Marty said. “Our cohort works really well together across all grade levels. Every day, I tell them how proud I am of them and how much I love them. I love the sense of community that we have nurtured.”
Mrs. Marty works with the rest of the Primary School Distance Learning team – including Kathy Novak, Jodi Johnson, Stephanie Smith and Kristen Fearon – to implement the curriculum of the classroom teachers. But that’s not all.
“We also make sure there are opportunities for movement and mindfulness, socialization, interactive fun, and the development of the Core Values of Old Trail School,” Mrs. Marty added. Mrs. Marty’s peers call her the “kid whisperer” and marvel at her ability to easily connect with children, even remotely. Said one colleague, “Vicki is a gift to our distance learning program.”
Although Mrs. Marty says there is so much to love about working at Old Trail School, it’s the students who bring her the greatest sense of joy.
“I love the relationships that I have established with students over the years,” she said. “The children who are in eighth grade now were in first grade when I first started working at OTS. I was their storyteller and can still see their faces sitting there as six and seven-year-olds.”
Throughout the years, Mrs. Marty and her husband, Dan, have hosted eight AFS foreign exchange students and have maintained close connections with each of them. She also enjoys researching her family’s ancestry and once discovered that her grandfather, ten generations back, was Sir Richard Hawkins, an explorer serving under Sir Francis Drake. When it is safe to do so, she and her husband enjoy traveling to Chile, their “home away from home”, where three of her exchange students currently live.
Thank you, Mrs. Marty, for your big heart and commitment to ensuring the best possible experience for our Primary School distance learners and their families!
#TeacherFeatureFriday is a series that aims to help the OTS community get to know our faculty and staff better. On select Fridays throughout the school year, we will use this space to highlight some of the amazing individuals who make Old Trail such a distinctive place for children to learn and grow.
~~~Past Teacher Features