Obituary: Martin Charles Mackey – Portland Press Herald


Martin Charles Mackey

Martin Charles Mackey 1974 – 2022 BRUNSWICK – Martin Charles Mackey, a beloved Brunswick educator, died Wednesday, April 20, 2022 in Wellfleet, Mass. He is survived by his wife Jennifer; his children Elise and Wyeth; his mother Beth; and siblings Marisa and Stephen. He was 47 years old. He was predeceased by his father, Dr. James Mackey. Martin was born on May 18, 1974 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to educators Beth and James Mackey. Martin’s love of the outdoors was sparked by summers spent at Camp Widjiwagan in the Boundary Waters paddling area. After graduating from Roseville Area High School, Martin attended the University of Montana, where he earned a BA in sociology. While living in Montana, he fell in love with his future wife Jennifer and the majestic landscapes of the Rocky Mountains. It was this love of the outdoors that led him to his first job working with youth as a guide for wilderness therapy programs. Martin and Jennifer moved to Jennifer’s home state of Maine after graduation and married in 2002. Martin began a 13-year career at the REAL School in 2006, as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. Martin was loved by students, faculty and staff, and was even voted “most likely to get us all out of a burning building” by his colleagues. He brought a sense of humor, playfulness and kindness to his work no matter the challenges. He lived by his motto, “maintaining a healthy disregard for the impossible”, always seeking solutions to problems that others considered unsolvable. Dozens of his former students credit him with inspiring them to graduate from high school, find meaningful work, and pursue their passions. Martin led his students in hands-on learning projects that forged connections between the classroom and the outside world. He was always ready with a joke, a word of encouragement, a smile, a laugh, a poem or a funny story. He often recognized, praised, and developed talents in his students that others had overlooked. By believing in them, he empowered them to believe in themselves. After leaving the REAL School, Martin served as principal of Nobleboro Central School from 2018-2020 before becoming principal of The Rethinking Responsive Education Venture (RREV) of the Maine Department of Education. During the COVID-19 pandemic, RREV has served as an invaluable resource for educators across the state developing high-quality distance and blended learning options. In this work, Martin drew on his decades of experience rethinking education to ensure that all students have the opportunity to thrive. While working full-time in the field of education, Martin also earned a master’s degree in special education from the University of Southern Maine, an advanced graduate certificate in instructional leadership from the University of New England and was preparing a certificate in school management and leadership from Harvard Graduate School of Education and Harvard Business School. Martin was co-founder of the Collaborative for Perpetual Innovation and president of the Alternative Education Association of Maine from 2015-2019. His impact is felt by the hundreds of students whose lives he touched, as well as by his fellow educators. of the whole world. state who continue to be inspired to seek new ways to engage non-traditional students. Outside of work, Martin’s greatest joy was being Elise and Wyeth’s father and he was incredibly proud of the people they are. Martin also found joy in what he called “human-powered adventures”. Her wide, toothy smile can be seen in hundreds of photographs taken while biking, canoeing, skiing, hiking, rock climbing, surfing or skateboarding, often with Jennifer, Elise, Wyeth and their beloved dogs Tessah and Annie. Martin spent his last moments surfing with his son Wyeth off Cape Cod. Martin lived every day of his life as an adventure, whether in the classroom or in the mountains and waterways of Maine he loved so dearly. He made everyone he met feel like the most important person in the world. He will be remembered for his humor, his devotion to others, his boundless capacity for friendship, his love of his family and his dedication to lifelong learning. A memorial service will be held Friday, April 29 at 11 a.m. at the Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing on Mackworth Island. Memories and condolences can be shared on Memorial donations can be made to: A Mackey Family Support Fund ( or: Seeds of Independence ( or: Teens to Trails (www.teenstotrails .org)

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