MNPS Voices: Kay Martin, Secretary-Clerk at Pennington Elementary School

Kay Martin has officially worked at Pennington Elementary for 13 years but most would say it has been much longer. Over the years, her children and grandchildren attended Pennington and, although unpaid, she was always willing to volunteer. And then opportunity came knocking.

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“Finally, the previous principal of Pennington encouraged me to apply for a job,” Martin said. “She said- ‘since you’re here so much you might as well get paid!’”

She started as a part-time general assistant for Pennington and Crieve Hall before she moved to the full- time role of secretary-clerk. Martin now does a wide span of tasks for the school including truancy, enrollment and medication paperwork and purposeful interaction with the students daily.

“My favorite part is working with the kids—they really are super cool,” Martin said. “We have some very special kids here.”

Second only to the students, Martin loves working with the other school staff—individuals she refers to as ‘family.’ She said they are co-workers who value teamwork and will stay late and do whatever is necessary to get the job done. Most recently, Martin was the one who stepped in to fill a need she did not expect—becoming the panther mascot at the School Choice Festival. Her time spent in that warm and confined mascot head paid off resulting in Pennington winning the “Best Booth Contest.” Martin is motivated by the support of her co-workers and principal and, most importantly, she knows everything she does is to benefit the students.

“To be able to work where you are fully appreciated is amazing, it helps a lot,” Martin said. “It is a team so we all work for the same purpose to do what’s best for these kids. It is not your job or my job just whoever is available to take care of the situation.”

Even on the weekends, Martin is often working when she is not spending time with her grandchildren. When needed, she helps at a friend’s catering company and always seems to help out when those she cares about ask.

“Ms. Martin is one who is always willing to assist wherever needed,” Pennington Principal Jaqueline Kinzer said. “She gives so much more than the hours she works. Ms. Martin is dependable, hardworking, dedicated and helpful.”

Pennington staff, including Kay as the mascot, with their winning booth and Dr. Shawn Joseph.

Pennington staff, including Kay as the mascot, with their winning booth and Dr. Shawn Joseph.