Acushnet honors late teacher and Dartmouth resident Shane Martin
ACUSHNET — One of the most beloved teachers at Ford Middle School in Acushnet was Dartmouth resident Shane Martin.
Principal Michelle Silvia noted that former students would often stop in the sixth grade hall to say hello to their favorite instructor, or to ask a question during their lunch periods.
“But it’s not just the students — how many in the community have heard about Martin being the best sixth grade math teacher?” she said.
Martin passed away Friday, April 30 in his home surrounded by his family after a nine month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 44 years old.
To honor his memory, community members planted a tree outside Martin’s old classroom on May 3, followed by a brief ceremony reminiscing on how much he touched the lives of so many in the community.
Born in New Bedford, Martin was raised in Acushnet — even attending the very same middle school where he would later teach.
He graduated from New Bedford High School in 1994 and went on to graduate from UMass Amherst, returning to the South Coast to teach where he grew up.
“Behind his movie star good looks and million dollar smile was a caring, loving soul,” English Teacher Peter Quinn said. “He was someone you wanted to be around.”
Bailey recalled a student earlier in the day talking about how he once told Martin that one of his favorite drinks was Gatorade and that his teacher also enjoyed the sports beverage.
Every time the math teacher would bring a Gatorade to work, Bailey noted, he would always bring in an extra for that student.
The superintendent added that this was just one of many examples of the Dartmouth resident going out of his way to make sure each student felt like they were “his favorite,” saying that he regularly played basketball with them, wrote notes of encouragement, and told parents how well their children were doing in the classroom.
“Shane truly had a knack for lifting up all kids and families and making them feel special,” she said. “He really embodied the best of humanity.”
Coworker and Dartmouth School Committee member Chris Oliver agreed.
“He was one of the most stand out, genuine people,” he said. “They don’t make them like that very often.”
Former student Julian Pope — now a substitute teacher at Acushnet Elementary — said that Martin was especially impactful. He added that Martin even “made math awesome.”
“That was probably the best year I did in math — I got like straight A’s,” he said. “I feel like I didn’t want to disappoint Mr. Martin, he was so cool.”
Martin’s wife Angela said she was especially touched by the ceremony, adding that the family has been very thankful for the community support during her husband’s battle with cancer.
She noted that the family raised $85,485 through GoFundMe to help out with treatments. Acushnet Public Schools and the Friends of Jack Foundation also helped raise funds for one last family trip to Florida during April Vacation.
She added that Friends Academy — where she works as a second grade teacher — was especially accommodating during her husband’s illness, allowing her to spend more time at home with Martin and sending meals.
“Just so much love and support — it was overwhelming,” she said. “Nine months goes by quickly.”
Along with his wife, Martin is survived by parents Wayne and Dee Martin of Freetown and his two children Hallie, 14, and Christian, 11.