Spearfish PE Teacher Reflects on 43 Years of Service

After 43 years as an educator, Nancy Martin of Spearfish, SD has decided to retire. The Minot State University graduate reflected back on her more than four decades in the education system.

Martin admitted that she had always wanted to be a teacher, but a trip to Minot State for a high school track meet confirmed her desire. She said a snowstorm prevented the track meet but the students were invited to tour the campus and swim in the pool. “I thought, this would be a good career, being a PE teacher,” she said.

Martin began her career in 1973 as a junior high PE teacher in Mitchell, SD where she also coached gymnastics, cross-country and women’s track. Next came a two-year stint at Augustana College as head coach for women’s cross country and track.

Martin returned to Mitchell to teach PE at an elementary level. After starting a family in Spearfish with her husband, Jim, Mitchell decided to focus on teaching and stopped her coaching activities.

Sponsored Content

She said she loved seeing the excitement the kids had coming to her classes which in turn motivated her to add a wide variety of activities. Martin, with the help of Kay Burke, a former principal at two area elementary schools, expanded the physical education classes. Classes met three times per week and were 30 minutes long. Additionally, a 10-week swimming program was implemented, allowing the kids unique learning opportunities.

Martin said her life was made fun because she had a fun profession. But now after 43 years, she is ready to move into the next phase of her life which includes time with her grandchildren and a variety of outdoor activities. She admits though that a volunteer opportunity or part-time job is not out of the question to ensure she continues to have a purpose in life.