Faculty in Focus: 5 Things We Learned About Middle School Theater Director Jonathan Martin

1. You are such a beloved PDS Middle School theater director and teacher! What’s your background?

“I’ve always loved theater and earned my bachelor’s degree in theater education and acting at James Madison University in 2016. That same year, I started a theatre company called “Recess Theatre” with my wife, who also now works at PDS as the Assistant to the Middle School. We put on summer shows with kids and eventually started renting a storefront where we ran classes and private voice lessons in collaboration with other educators we knew. I loved teaching and directing, and when this job opened up in 2018, I knew that I had to go for it! Right before the pandemic, we actually closed the storefront to focus on partnering with schools as teaching artists. Since the pandemic, our teaching artists haven’t been able to get back into schools yet, though we continued to produce youth theatre outdoors this past summer.”

Jonathan Martin teaching a classroom of theater students

2. What is the "PDS difference" in your opinion?

“The faculty culture of mutual support and shared expertise is key. I have learned so much from my colleagues about classroom management and how to build a curriculum. Because of their support, I’ve been able to focus on being the kind of teacher I always wanted to be, which is the teacher I wish I had when I was growing up. Until I took the full-time role at Princeton Day School, all of my teaching experience was freelance and within the theatre company. It can be an intimidating feeling coming in as a young teacher, because the faculty here is so good, but everyone is so knowledgeable and always so willing to help. ” 

3. What other roles do you serve at PDS?

“That’s another thing I really love about the School—they really encourage you to get involved in multiple ways and pursue your interests and talents. In addition to being the Middle School theater director, I am the 7th Grade dean, which has been a great way to form a special bond with the entire grade, and an exciting leadership experience. Also, this is my first year as a coaching assistant to the Middle School football team, which has been the coolest thing! It is so much fun.”

4. Outside of school, how do you like to spend your time? 

“I love spending time with my wife Chrissy, reading, traveling, hiking with my dog and playing frisbee. I also enjoy watching Netflix, Jeopardy and football. Oh, and I cannot live without hot sauce. I put it on everything. I try all different kinds and people always give me hot sauces as presents.”

Jonathan Martin with their dog, Hermione

5. Describe yourself in three words:

“Genuine, witty, consistent. My students would definitely describe me as goofy, though!”

Jonathan Martin and wife, Chrissy Martin, riding horses

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