Retiring – Cathy Martell

Kai Hemingway, Editor

Cathy Martell is a special educator at Bellows Free Academy and was employed on 4 September, 1984.

While Martell started work at BFA in 1984, she actually started her teaching career four years earlier.

“I have been teaching at BFA for 36 years in roles as a Special Educator, Co-Teacher, and   Coordinator for Regular Education Support Services.  I began my teaching career at Richford High School in 1980 and taught for two more in years at the Cold Hollow Career Center in Enosburg Falls before coming to BFA,” Martell said. 

Martell finds her favorite aspect of teaching in the emotional side of things.

“My favorite thing about teaching is the relationships that I have with students and watching them grow as learners and develop as individuals.  I enjoy supporting students to overcome their challenges, take risks and to reach their potential,” Martell said. 

The memories that hold a special place in Martell’s heart are the ones that involve the success of students.

“My favorite memories from teaching are seeing student’s smiles when they’ve achieved the smallest and the biggest accomplishments. From the “aha moments” when a student masters a skill to them receiving their high school diploma, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing and celebrating these moments with them,” Martell said.

Martell finds her greatest achievement in both her heart, and the hearts of others.

“My greatest achievement during my time teaching has been being part of the BFA community for the last 36 years and having the opportunity to work with amazing students and a great staff.  I will truly miss my relationships with students and my colleagues!” Martell said.

Along with her other responsibilities involving her job, Martell finds joy in teaching other subjects as well.

“I have had the opportunity to teach/support students in many content areas.  I have enjoyed teaching math, especially the concepts and skills taught in Algebra classes,” Martell said.

While looking towards the future, Martell looks forward to the relaxing things in life.

“I look forward to not being on a schedule and the school calendar, so that I can have more time for many of the activities I enjoy, such as running (may even train for another marathon), hiking, hot yoga, and to have the freedom to travel throughout the year.  I also look forward to relaxing  in my new home and having time to read for pleasure!” Martell said.

Because of the constant drive for improvement, Martell looks at what she wanted to do before retirement.

“In education there are always things to learn, to do, to improve and to accomplish!  I wanted to continue to do more to improve the practices and programs to enhance student learning,” Martell said.

Martell jokes around when thinking of what she wants to leave behind at BFA.

“I want to leave the mounds of required paperwork and “remote learning” behind,” Martell said.

When planning for the future, Martell thinks of her family and the great outdoors.

“My future plans are to spend more time with my family in Vermont and Colorado.  I hope to have a second home in the Rocky Mountain town of Fraser, Colorado and enjoy the outdoor activities during the different seasons.  I also plan on spending more time traveling, especially exploring the National Parks in the West,” Martell said.

When asked what she would like to take from BFA with her on her future journeys, Martell thinks of the spirit of the school.

“The one thing I would take from BFA is the pride in the traditions that unites the “Green and  Gold” community.  I’m proud to have been part of these traditions!” Martell said.

If you’d like to leave a personal message for Cathy Martell, send her an email at [email protected] or send a letter to BFA at 71 South Main Street, St.Albans City, in care of Cathy Martell.