Carlan Martin has made his mark in Jackson County – but he did not take the path of many in the county took. Martin is what can be called a transplant Jackson Countian. I am sure he will appreciate that ‘title’. He was named the principal of Marianna High School a few weeks ago, following the resignation of Hunter Nolen. I can honestly say I don’t remember when that job has been offered to someone who wasn’t born and raised in Jackson County, but I’m sure it’s bee a few decades ago.
Carlan Martin has roots here in that he is married to DeeDee Hamilton Gardner Martin and they have daughter Lauren Martin, who will be a junior at MHS. They share four children, Caitlyn Martin Harris, Brice Martin, Brittany Gardner McCroan and Brandon ‘BG’ Gardner.
Martin came to Marianna High School in 2003 as the head baseball coach at Marianna High School. Martin left Marianna High temporarily for a head football coaching job in neighboring Holmes County but soon returned to what had become his roots. At the request of the superintendent, returned to the baseball diamond for one year before moving into administration. He began at Malone School as the assistant principal to long-time principal Doug Powell. He wore the orange and blue of the Malone Tigers well and students and faculty alike were sad to see him go. He moved to assistant principal at Marianna Middle School where this writer welcomed him with open arms. After two years, the opportunity for a move to the principal spot presented itself to Martin. He applied and was rewarded for his diligence as assistant
Malone staff and students sighed when Martin left with Ms. Gloria front and center with her goodbyes and well wishes, letting him know he could return any time, “The most wonderful person I have ever met and I am very proud to see him succeed. He is the right person for that job.”
Principal Doug Powell praised Martin’s attention to detail and to the individual students, “Carlan was a very capable assistant. He met the students daily and conversed with them, asked them how their day had been or how their night was, always had a high five for the athletes after a game and offered an encouraging word after a subpar game. I think he will do well at MHS.”
Marianna Middle School said its goodbyes to Martin earlier this month when he transitioned to MHS. Principal Eddie Ellis said, “He will be missed at MMS. He did us a great job and he always knew what to say to the students. He was firm but fair and I know he’ll do a great job at the high school.”
Marianna Middle School baseball coach Clint Brock saw a different side of Martin, “I enjoyed working with him. He was great with the kids knowing how to have the right balance of fun and discipline. I always enjoyed talking ball with him and seeing what his many years of experience had to offer on different issues that would arise. You can always find him playing some kind of trick on somebody to keep the day going. He will be missed at MMS.”
John Donaldson worked with Martin “He was always hard working and loved the kids. He is a worker and knows his stuff for sure. I’m proud to have him on board.”
Students remember Martin as a teacher and coach at Marianna High school in his ‘early days’. One student said, “Coach Martin was more than a coach to me. He was like a father to me and always had an ear to hear and his arms were always open with a hug. When he asked how you were, it’s because he genuinely wanted to know how you were.”
I had the pleasure of working with Martin both at MHS when he was head baseball coach and he was an administrator my last years at Marianna Middle School. If there was ever a word that shouted his name, it was consistent. Martin made sure everyone was talked to in the same tone and voice, everyone received the same high fives or punishment – whichever was appropriate. Martin found his niche for sure in administration – he found just the right mix of allowing students to enjoy their time in school while adhering to the rules in place to provide the best learning environment. As soon as the news broke of Martin’s appointment to MHS, those departing MMS for the next level were all smiles. One young man wasted no time in letting me know his excitement, “High school is going to be the best, Mr. Martin is the best at keeping things revved up.”
It’s not a rocket science to find an administrator who can adhere to what teachers want in a principal or to find one who can be the students’ favorite principal, but when you find one who has the knack to be the best at pleasing both and getting the job done, you’ve struck gold. MHS has definitely struck gold with Carlan Martin.