Faculty of Education instructor Lee Martin (BEd ’12) motivates children to reach their full potential and change the world around them on a daily basis.
His work inside and outside the classroom caught the attention of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), and he is now featured as part of Team Canada’s Tokyo 2020 ‘Glory From Anywhere’ campaign. It showcases the achievements of both Canadian athletes and community heroes who achieve glory every day by inspiring others.
“The campaign aims to showcase that everyone is capable of inspiring others to be their best,” said Martin, a graduate of Brock’s Teacher Education program. “It was a huge honour to be asked and also a recognition I share with my fellow educators making a difference everyday.”
While he doesn’t consider himself an athlete, Martin has coached sports from diving to volleyball for most of his life and incorporates lessons from sporting events like the Olympics into his elementary school classroom at Central French Immersion Public School in Grimsby.
“The kids and I talk a lot about what goes on behind the scenes,” he said. “Before the match, the big race, before the fans and celebration begin; I want them to understand the hard work, dedication, support systems and passion that leads to it all.
He also tries to teach them that mistakes make people stronger, and that win or lose, there are still powerful lessons learned.
“Those skills and understanding empower us all in any situation,” said Martin.
His goal is that every child he teaches will find a greater love of learning and the confidence that they can make a difference in the world.
Martin’s impact extends beyond his classroom. After seeing the need for more technology resources at his school, Martin founded the charity Computers4Change with the Education Foundation of Niagara. The organization has raised more than $150,000 and supported schools across Canada. He also created Canada’s largest coding conference for children to help students and educators better understand coding and computational thinking.
Martin has been recognized a number of times for his contributions to students, communities and Brock. He received the Faculty of Education Distinguished Graduate Award in 2020 and, in 2018, received a Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence. He was among the first to be recognized with a new category of awards honouring science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) teachers for engaging students in STEM learning and contributing to a culture of innovation in Canada.