A teacher for 13 years, Brent Martinson saw an opportunity to reach out to even more students.
Taking the leap from the classroom to administration, Martinson is finishing his second year as principal at Hobart High School.
"The biggest difference between a teacher and a principal is that as a principal, I get to interact with all of the students on a daily basis," he says. "Also, working with all of the teachers and sharing what others are doing on a daily basis is inspirational."
Though the decision to leave the classroom came with much consideration, Martinson says becoming a principal gave him a chance to build the next generation of young leaders.
"I feel that we need to train our future leaders to model a strong work ethic and challenge others to take initiative in leading others," he says. "I feel that as an educator we need to put our young leaders into leadership positions and situations to help them develop strategies that they can use to influence others. If we can get our students to believe in themselves, then they can achieve excellence."
Prior to taking on the role as principal at Hobart High School, Martinson spent the first nine years of his career in education as a social studies teacher at Tolleston Middle School in Gary, followed by four years at Pierce Middle School in Merrillville. He also served four years as assistant principal at Hobart High School.
"When I was teaching at Tolleston, I had an assistant principal encourage me to go into administration. And when I began the course work, I started to see how we could make an impact on more students," he said. "I feel I have the greatest job on earth and just want to get better every day."
Dr. Peggy Buffington, superintendent of School City of Hobart, said Martinson has already made an impact on the lives of his students and the educators around him.
"Brent Martinson is an incredible leader who facilitates a climate where every student, teacher and parent believes that all will succeed by building positive relationships," she says.
This mindset started with his vision of Mission Possible, an initiative that encourages students to succeed by meeting their needs.
"Mission Possible is displayed throughout the school with banners, but more importantly, it is displayed by the positive attitudes of all stakeholders," Buffington says. "If you ask the students, they will recite Mr. Martinson's creed, 'If you believe it, you can achieve it.'"
Martinson often inquires about academic progress as he interacts with students, opening his iPad and looking at grades before sending students on their way to success with a cheer, she says.
"The students and staff know he genuinely cares, which is the model for them to all follow," Buffington says. "It makes Hobart High School a unique place for students that impacts families and has a positive effect on the community of Hobart."
Since taking over as principal, Martinson has also looked for ways to help students better be prepared for college or a career upon graduating high school.
"We have implemented a College and Career Readiness Homeroom to focus specifically on this area," he says.
The school also has implemented a Positive Behavior Program that focuses on students who are exhibiting positive behaviors on a regular basis, and recently introduced a new Work Ethic Certification Program through The Center of Workforce Innovations that will go into effect next school year. This program promotes behaviors that will help students be successful beyond high school, Martinson says.
"The greatest reward of being a principal is seeing the students accomplish their goals," he says. "Whether they are short-term or long-term goals, they feel a sense of accomplishment, and seeing the joy on their faces is worth every late night and stressful moment."