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Winston Baccus
Posts By Winston Baccus

2014 Martin Institute Conference - June 10-11


On June 10 and 11, the Martin Institute 2014 Annual Conference will investigate the theme of Learning Forward.


For us, learning forward means that, as teachers and school leaders, we are always learning professionally and reaching forward toward excellence in advancing student learning.



June 10–11, 2014


Early Bird: $95 ( Until April 15)
Regular Price: $150 ( April 16 - June 10)

Presbyterian Day School

The Martin Institute is housed on the campus of Presbyterian Day School (PDS), an independent school deeply committed to sharing and leveraging its resources to enhance education for all children and teachers. 

PDS is located on a 29 acre campus in the heart of East Memphis. The campus and facilities are among the largest and finest for an elementary school in the country and include $20 million of very recent expansion. PDS alumni constitute a large portion of the leaders in the Memphis community and beyond, and they include FedEx founder Fred Smith and Autozone founder J.R. “Pitt” Hyde.

To find out more about Presbyterian Day School, visit pdsmemphis.org.

Teacher Residency Program

The Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence provides a year of quality professional development and mentoring for highly motivated and talented individuals in the early stage of their education career.

The Teacher Residency Program prepares Mid-South educators early in their teaching careers to impact students in a powerful way. We train our teachers to become life-long learners by exposing them to best practices in education.

The Martin Institute utilizes a competitive selection process to recruit residents nationally.

Residents receive:

  • Training - Participate in seminars with outstanding teachers, curriculum leaders, innovative administrators and exceptional researchers
  • Teacher Observation - Spend time in the classrooms of exceptional teachers in public and independent schools in the greater Memphis area
  • Mentoring - Expert educators will provide feedback, guidance, advice to help fine-tune teaching practices
  • Educational Resources - books, articles, videos, colleagues
  • Conferences - Plan and participate in Martin Institute conference and events
  • Job Assistance - Help in securing a teaching job upon program completion


Testimonies from Past Residents

The most important way that The Martin Institute impacted my career was by showing me where to set the bar for myself in teaching. Because of MI, I am acutely aware of what profound and meaningful teaching looks like. This can be both a blessing and a burden. I am constantly striving to meet this standard. I know what needs to be done to push my students to higher levels of thinking- past where most school principles and teachers rest. At the same time, when things in the classroom get difficult, I am very aware that I am not where I need to be. This mind set doesn’t lend itself to peace of mind! The Martin Institute laid the foundations for me to be a constantly changing, reflective teacher that always pushes the boundaries of both my students and myself. -Julia Porter, Upper School English Teacher, Gestalt Community Schools


The Martin Institute has impacted my teaching in more ways than I can think of at this moment. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be a resident first and foremost because it solidified my passion for teaching. Without the MI, I would probably be in a different field right now. I applied for this residency program straddling the fence about teaching and thought "what a great way to make sure this is for me (or isn't)". The MI gave me real world experience, something my professors couldn't teach me in my Masters classes. For an entire school year I was a "teacher in training" and was able to learn through hands-on experiences. This experience came in many forms- writing lesson plans, classroom management, learning to get out of my comfort zone, and much, much more. I have been able to transfer all this knowledge to my SK classroom. I use technology constantly- they love the iPads and don't even realize they are learning. I differentiate and individualize my instruction with 4 small groups that change often. Finally, I have a student-centered classroom. They take responsibility for their learning (as much as an SK'er can) through "workshops". Depending on the day and the lesson, there are 2-4 hands-on activities in the classroom and we rotate until each child has every workshop. The groups are leveled as are the extensions for after the workshops are completed. Every day I remember things I learned through the MI and try it in my classroom. One of the most important lessons I learned overall was if it doesn't work the first time, try it a different way! -Renee Norris, Kindergarten Teacher, Grace St. Luke’s School


I honestly believe that the time I spent working with the Martin Institute was the best year of my life. Not only because I met many wonderful new friends and teaching peers, but also because I was reminded as to why I wanted to teach in the first place. My first experience in my own classroom was not the most positive of starts. I struggled and really didn't know if this was the right career path for myself. I left teaching for two years and did something completely different. After a while, I found myself more interested in seeing and working with the children of my clients that would come in, than anything else. I knew then, it was time to go back to the classroom; it would be the only thing that would fulfill me. I knew I wasn't ready to jump right back in, still afraid of failing, but I had to do something. Somehow, the last teaching fair that I attended and the last booth I stopped at (filled with Laura's smiling face) was for the Martin Institute. It was just what I needed! A year of professional development. I would get to go back into multiple classrooms, learn all the new and improved methods that I really didn't feel I received in undergrad, and have a chance to see if it was really the right thing. Like I said above, best decision of my life, hands down. I learned a ton, gained confidence back in myself as a teacher, and eventually fell back in love with education. Now I have a wonderful job teaching pre-k in Tipton County, with an amazing principal that I would have never met if not for a Martin Institute movie screening, and the drive to take on education one student at a time. For that I say THANK YOU! -Ciera Carr, PK Teacher, Tipton County Schools