SLA’s PE and Health Teacher’s Retirement: What’s Next?

Valeria Escobar Staff Writer

PE and Health teacher Pia Martin — who has taught for 30 years and has been part of the SLA community for 14 years —  has announced her retirement at the end of this school year.  

Even though she will be missed by many students and staff who have worked with her, she explained in her interview that she will be subbing at SLA and keeping in touch with the staff and students while still being able to accomplish all her future goals and plans. 

Ms. Martin has influenced the SLA community in more than one way, but one that English and Journalism teacher Larissa Pahomov brought up was Ms. Martin’s influence on SLA’s fitness culture. 

Ms. Pahomov explained how SLA’s old building didn’t have a gym, but Ms. Martin still found ways to get all the kids to engage in her class. “She really made fitness culture a part of the school in a really integrative way, which was great.”.

Ms. Pahomov also mentioned how Ms. Martin is responsible for most proms happening, especially last year’s senior prom, in which she had a personal connection to the person who owned the space where prom was held. Ms. Martin also organized and managed a lot of proms and graduations. “She knows how to make a party happen,” she explained.

In an interview I had with Ms. Martin, I asked about her future plans after her retirement which she said include, “Eventually some travel, a lot of working out, i’ll be subbing here, and I have desires to, in my volunteer time doing some volunteer work.”. 

When asked about her experience at SLA, she said that the best part about her job here was, “That I’m capable and have the opportunity to laugh every single day.” she said. 

“She’s a good example of someone who doesn’t have a different teacher persona, she is her authentic self both inside of school and outside of school.” Ms. Pahomov said. 

Math Teacher Sunil Reddy also said “I think she is definitely the same person in school as she is out of school.”.

“I think Ms. Martin is good with following the school’s principal ethic of care, so rather than worrying more about rules, and what students are supposed to be doing, and more of the administrative side of things, she worries more about the student’s wellbeing and the community’s well being, and how to make sure the whole community is taken care of.” Mr. Reddy said.

Ms. Martin has played a big role in the SLA community, but when she leaves, who will take on her job? I asked SLA’s principal Chris Lehmann, to which he responded with “There is no replacing Ms. Martin, she is one of a kind in all of the best ways.” He then added, “We’re narrowing down candidates but we’re still trying to make a final decision.”.

In addition to Ms. Martin’s job as the only health and physical education teacher in SLA, she’s also a huge support to students and the SLA community overall, so I wanted to know what were some specific requirements that candidates need to meet to be able to become SLA’s next health and PE teacher.

“Her Health class I think is a foundational experience for kids at SLA, it’s such an important class so for me making sure that we have somebody who can do a wonderful job as a Health teacher is a big piece of the puzzle.” Mr. Lehman said. “I think that one of the challenges is that someone is gonna be able to work as a discipline of one.” He said. 

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