Learning the ropes, making the rules

Donna Martin takes over as principal at Watertown Middle School


Splash photo Watertown Splash staff

New Watertown Middle School principal Donna Martin (back row, third from right), poses with student reporters after a recent interview in the Watertown Splash newsroom.

Watertown Splash staff

“The more you put in, the more you get out, get involved.”

These were the words of Donna Martin, the new principal at Watertown Middle School. Mrs. Martin replaced the former principal, Dr. Kimo Carter.

Ever since her first day, she said she loved the environment and the vibe she got from the school, as well as the kindness from teachers and students.

She said her goals for this year is to know as many students as possible, know the curriculum, and learn her way around the school, which she achieved.

“This is a very big school, and it was hard for me at first, I’m not a student but I was new,” she said.

Splash photo Watertown Splash staff
New Watertown Middle School principal Donna Martin answers questions from student reporters during a recent interview in the Watertown Splash newsroom.

Ms. Martin has many plans for the upcoming year. She said doesn’t like the idea of leveled classes, because she feels that there shouldn’t be a hierarchy and that leveled classes are more useful in high school.

She does in fact like DEAR because of her love of reading so, that will most likely not change.

“I understand that there are glitches to it,” she said, “but I don’t want to change it.”

This isn’t her first time in a school environment though. Before Watertown, Mrs. Martin taught at Arlington Middle School for 12 years, she spent two years at Arlington High, two years at Chelmsford Middle School, was vice principal at Chelmsford High School for nine years, and is now here at Watertown.

Some advice from Mrs. Martin is to ask questions and to talk to adults about stuff, even if it’s small. Mrs. Martin also has some advice for the sixth-graders, so if you are a sixth-grader listen up: Get involved. 

If I had someone telling me to read for 20 minutes, I’d be ecstatic.


“Get close to teachers,” she said. “To get involved in clubs, play sports, and play instruments helps you to get to know other people and even become close friends.”

She lived in Watertown from 1996-1998. She left because her apartment was too small, so they bought a house in Tewksbury. She also said she “would’ve loved to stay in Watertown, but it was just too much money.” Now she lives in Belmont, with her family and her cat Tony, close to WMS.

Mrs. Martin grew up in Concord, Mass., but after her parents moved to San Diego when she was a teenager, she enjoyed living there because of the weather, then finished school at University of California San Diego. She has two children, Fiona (19) and Colin (15). Her daughter who is also at University of California San Diego and her son who is going to Belmont High.

She said the reason why she started teaching was that she liked working with kids. In fact, she never thought she would become a principal or a teacher when she was in college. She originally wanted to be a lawyer. She got her teaching degree at BU.

She swore that she would never become a principal, but she obviously changed her mind. When asked if she would rather teach kindergarten or high school, she quickly responded, “High School.”

Besides enjoying working with older kids better than younger kids, her brother is a P.E teacher in elementary school. He told her that when teaching kindergarten, don’t let one kid cry because then they all start crying.

Her favorite subject in school was history, but liked math as well. She has been to many different countries including, Aruba, Mexico, and England. Mrs. Martin hopes she can go to many more. Some of her favorite hobbies are walking, movies, playing games, doing puzzles, and reading

“If I had someone telling me to read for 20 minutes,” she said, “I’d be ecstatic.”

(This story was reported and written by Watertown Splash staff reporters Aislin Devaney, Athena Ahmad, Allison Fijux, Bridget Donohue, Caitlyn Ramshaw, Catherine Fleming, Gabriela Bondaryk, Julianne Sabino, Lalita Sokhamkaew, Liam Lawn, Noor Dia, Rohan Mannan, Teagan Janis, and Naomi Baker.)

–Feb. 4, 2019–