EDWARDSVILLE - Riah Martin may have developed a passion for working with children just six years ago, but that passion has led him to a third-grade teacher position at Albert Cassens Elementary in his first year out of college.

“I began working with kids as a summer camp counselor six years ago and loved every minute of it,” he said. “Following that summer I began coaching competitive gymnastics. Through these experiences, I developed a passion for working with kids. I wanted to continue in a career that allowed me to positively impact children. The rest is history!”

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Martin graduated from SIUE with a degree in elementary education this past May and student taught in a fifth-grade classroom at Wolf Ridge Elementary in Bunker Hill.

He’s the only new teacher at Cassens this year, but his fellow teachers have helped him settle in.

“I adore my class and my fellow teachers. The help and guidance I have received from the rest of the staff at Cassens have been incredible,” he said. “The people I get to interact with are a large part of what makes working in District #7 so wonderful.”

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Martin comes from a family that includes extremely supportive parents and a younger sister, who he reluctantly admits is "pretty awesome."

“I’m blessed in both regards!”

When he’s not in the classroom, Martin still enjoys coaching gymnastics and tumbling on the side.

“I love the sports, as well as being a coach.”

During downtime, he enjoys reading, writing music, and drawing. Martin also said he has an interest in learning peculiar skills, which he says has paid off in his time working with children!

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