Lee’s Summit, Missouri
Ben Martin taught and directed educational theatre in Missouri for thirty-four years before retiring in the spring of 2010. He served in five different school districts, wrapping up his career with eighteen years in the Lee’s Summit School District, outside of Kansas City—and he taught thousands of students, while chartering two new Thespian troupes and reviving two that had lapsed. His students not only staged productions for local audiences, but also qualified for statewide tournaments, bringing home many awards over the years. Mr. Martin himself received Outstanding Teacher of the Year awards from the Lee’s Summit School District, the Speech and Theatre Association of Missouri, and Missouri State Thespians.
Mr. Martin served on the board of the Educational Theatre Association from 2009-12, and has spent four terms on the Missouri Thespians board, leading scholarship and advocacy programs. Fellow board members describe him as “a voice of reason” and “a constant source of wisdom for new and experienced teachers.” He has organized state conferences, presented scores of workshops, and directed a variety of productions featured at those events, including the 2001 Missouri all-state production of The Who’s Tommy. He has supported and advised other groups, including Kansas City Cappies, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, and The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, and he’s president of a new community theatre, Summit Theatre Group.
Since retiring from teaching, Mr. Martin has focused his energy and passion on arts advocacy. He is a member of EdTA’s Advocacy Task Force, secretary for the Missouri Alliance for Arts in Education, a frequent speaker for the Metropolitan Kansas City Arts Council, and has served as Missouri State Captain at Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, D. C.
He is the husband of Roxanne Martin, choral director at Raymore-Peculiar High School, and father to two daughters, Mary Beth and Jennifer.