6307 Tobaccoville Road
Tobaccoville, NC 27050
Don Martin was first elected as Forsyth County Commissioner in 2014 after retiring from a long career in education that included 19 years as superintendent of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.
Commissioner Martin, who now resides in Tobaccoville, is originally from Athens, Georgia. He attended Duke University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Physics in 1973. He then entered a one-year Masters program in education at Duke he’d seen advertised that promised employment for its graduates. In 1974, he completed that program with a Master of Arts in Teaching in Math Education with the intention of only teaching for a little while.
He taught math and physics at a school in North Wilkesboro for four years where he found his career path in education. “Children are the future of democracy,” said Martin. “Our country is going to be dependent upon youth and how they grow up and what they can do.”
Commissioner Martin attended graduate school at the University of Kentucky to get his Doctor of Education in Educational Administration, which he received in 1980. He stayed in Kentucky for years and held numerous positions. He was the superintendent of the smallest district in the state with only one school with 180 students. He then became superintendent of a large school district just south of Lexington.
He returned to North Carolina to become the superintendent of the newly merged Salisbury City and Rowan County school district for five years. After that, he came to Forsyth County in 1994 to become the superintendent of its school system. It was a position he would hold until he retired in 2013. He said he enjoyed the challenges of managing a large district and had a good relationship with the school board during his tenure.
While he was superintendent of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, it grew from 39,000 students to 53,000 to become the fourth largest school district in the state while local high school graduation rate grew 16 percent. In a time of increasing educational choices, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools had the highest share of students of any urban school district in the state. He also oversaw four sets of bond projects with nearly $600 million in new school construction and renovation. He was honored as NC Superintendent of the Year in 2011.
Commissioner Martin ran for office after he disagreed with county commissioners for not approving a 2012 school board referendum. After he won the 2014 election, he successfully voted as County Commissioner to change the debt service policy to allow for more bonds.
Commissioner Martin said he likes to solve problems and is proud of his role in the approval of the 2016 county bond referendums, the new courthouse, the new Kaleideum building and restoring recycling pickup to unincorporated parts of the county.
Martin is currently an adjunct professor at High Point University. He’s also a board member of the Research Education Laboratory (REL) Southeast, Kaleideum and the Crosby Scholars. He’s also a Downtown Rotary Club member.
He’s been involved with many other organizations over the years including Education Commission of the States, NC Virtual Public Schools, Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, Forsyth Futures, United Way of Forsyth, Piedmont Triad Education Consortium, NC School Superintendents Association Executive Board and numerous committees at Mount Tabor United Methodist Church. He was also Superintendent Advisor to the NC State Board of Education from 2011-2012.
In his spare time he likes to read, play tennis, walk, and maintain the vegetation in his yard that includes blueberry bushes. Martin lives with his wife, Rita. They have three children, John, Tom and Ashley, and four grandchildren, Delanie, Sidda, Brooks, and Henry.