Inverness Elementary teacher receives Crystal Apple Award

Published 10:32 am Friday, October 1, 2021

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NORTH SHELBY – Inverness Elementary School teacher Tyler Martin thought she was going to a meeting on the morning of Thursday, Sept. 30, when she walked into the school’s front lobby and saw a group of people waiting for her.

A look of surprise on her face, Martin soon realized she had not been called to a meeting, but instead an award presentation at which she was the honoree.

Mark Achuff, owner of Birmingham Mortgage Group, and Diana Henry, business development director with WayFM, presented Martin with a Crystal Apple Award, an honor Achuff sponsors through the radio station to encourage and recognize dedicated teachers throughout the year.

Laura Royal and her daughter, Tyson, nominated Martin for the award after Tyson had a positive experience in Martin’s third grade class at IES.

“There are many reasons why I believe, as a parent, that Mrs. Tyler Martin deserves this award,” Royal wrote in her nomination letter. “I could write volumes about her kindness, not just to my own child but to all the kids in her class, regardless of their backgrounds, parental involvement, or even their intellectual abilities. I could describe how she has made my daughter love school by making learning interesting and relevant to her life.”

Tyson described Martin as both her teacher and friend.

“Mrs. Martin is the nicest teacher I have ever had #NOTKIDDING,” she wrote. “I have reactive arthritis and I was in a wheelchair at the beginning of school last year and couldn’t do recess or PE. She would sit with me on the playground so I was not by myself when my friends played so I did not feel left out or sad.”

Tyson said Martin also helped her stay on track with her school work when she was in the hospital.

“She is so nice and I hope she wins because she really should because she is a super good teacher, probably the best,” Tyson wrote.

Laura wrote about a night Tyson was struggling to understand a concept involving fractions, and Martin stayed on the phone with her for more than an hour until Tyson was able to complete the assigned worksheet.

“I could wax on and on about the millions of ways she, as well as every other teacher in this country, has had to pivot and adjust to COVID restrictions,” Laura wrote. “She has been our steady rock as she has addressed online learning and social distancing and all the parents’ questions about Google Classroom and mask breaks, and she has done all these things with a pleasant attitude and an encouraging word.”

Martin became emotional as she listened to the Royals’ comments about her.

“This is so sweet,” Martin said. “Y’all made my week. Thank you guys so much.”

Achuff said the WayFM team read through all of the nominations and was “moved” by Tyson’s and Laura’s nomination.

“I can speak as principal to what a wonderful job she does,” IES Principal Christine Hoffman said. “She knows the students and cares about them, and in her heart, she wants every child to be successful. Being a full-time mother with three little ones, she puts her heart and soul into teaching as well.”