Dr. Shelia Martin (Torchbearer of Culture Award)
Executive Director of Special Programs...Mobile County Public School System
Dr. Shelia Martin approaches each challenge with her intrinsic professionalism, optimistic flair, and sound morale to make valuable decisions to increase the improvements in the Special Programs' identification processes and to decrease inappropriate labeling of students as special needs.
Education, she obtained her Bachelor of Science at the Univ. of South Alabama in Mobile, Al. Earning her Master of Education in Learning Disabilities in 1985. During the late 1990s, Shelia gained certification in technology from Springhill College of Mobile, Al and administration/ principalship from Alabama State University in Montgomery, Al. By 2003, she proudly completed the Nova Southeastern University Doctoral program in Education Leadership, thus earning the title Dr. Martin.
Dr. Martin established and implemented the first middle-high special education classroom at Fruitdale School. In her six years working for the Washington County School System, she was appointed to devise and execute the state mandated plan to transition at-risk and disabled middle and high school students into a vocational setting or career. For 18 years, she provided special needs students and their families with compassionate understanding, straight-forward documentation via successful lEPs (individualized education programs), and progressive resources for improvement. From 1996 through 2004, Dr. Martin entered the administration field as a Special Education Resource Teacher in order to train, monitor, and evaluate special education teachers at designated schools throughout Mobile County. For the past seven years, she has served as the Executive Director of Special Programs. Presently in this capacity, she supervises over 600 special education employees.
Dr. Martin has been a contributing author to the "Whitewater Leadership: A Handbook for Educational Leaders and Policymakers" published in 2002. In 2006 she received the Margaret Vann Award for Outstanding Special Education Coordinator in Alabama. She currently serves as an advisory board member for The Special Education Advisory Panel, The Little Tree Preschool of Mobile, Al, and the Project Choices Advisory Panel for the USA-College of Education. She is a member of the Alabama School of Math and Science Board of Directors and a board member for Autism Avenue, Inc.