Houston Elementary School Teacher Joshua Martin Changes Students’ Lives For Good

TisBest is on a mission to #RedefineGifting by replacing gifts of stuff with gifts of good. In that spirit, we like to feature heartwarming stories of special people, who are also doing good in this world. We hope it inspires you to spread some kindness and love in your communities.

Joshua Martin is a 5th grade math teacher at Frost Elementary, a Title 1 school in Houston, TX. However, his most memorable lessons are taught outside the classroom. Mr. Martin grew up in the same neighborhood as his students and didn’t have a positive role model. In fact, his own 6th grade teacher told him he’d never do anything in life other than flipping burgers. Mr. Martin flipped that statement on its head by becoming a role model teacher for kids in his community. He wants his students, who he calls “his babies,” to have someone who truly cares for them and goes the extra mile. Mr. Martin not only puts students on the right track, but also guides them to the finish line.

Elementary School Teacher Earns an A+ For His Service to Students

Joshua Martin started his teaching career in 2017, which was the same year Hurricane Harvey hit. Sadly, his family didn’t have flood insurance and lost everything — including their house and vehicles. Despite this devastating loss, Mr. Martin reached into his own pockets to help his students’ families who also were impacted by the storm. He bought them food, clothes, and helped pay their bills. He also hosted a back-to-school drive and gave out 250 backpacks full of school supplies. Mr. Martin even watched YouTube tutorials to learn how to give his students haircuts so they didn’t have to go without.

In an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Mr. Martin shared why he felt compelled to give so much when he had so little. “I’d rather spend every dime I have just to see a smile on my babies’ faces. Just so that they know that when school starts, they have everything they need to be productive and they’re going to succeed at whatever they put their mind to.” 

Houston Teacher of the Year’s Generosity Goes Beyond the Classroom

As a result of his generosity, Mr. Martin has been named teacher of the year on both the local and national level: Texas Teacher of the Year (2017); Houston Sweepstake Teacher of the Year (2018); Houston Independent School District – South Area Teacher of the Year and National Teacher of the Year (2020). In addition to the positive impact he has on his students, Mr. Martin has spread his love to the greater Houston community. Every year, Mr. Martin generously provides families with Thanksgiving meals and buys students bikes for Christmas. Over the 2021 Thanksgiving holiday, Mr. Martin helped feed over 200 families. Also, during the pandemic, he helped serve meals to over 800 front-line workers.

Joshua Martin Gives Students a Pipeline to Success

Mr. Martin’s kindness does not stop there. Although his bank account is running on empty, Mr. Martin uses his own money to fund scholarships for high school seniors. He created a nonprofit called Pipeline to Success. The organization’s name puts a positive spin on the negative saying The School-to-Prison Pipeline. This phrase stems from the alarming number of African American males who are kicked out of the school system and end up in prison. His mission is to change that stereotype and show young students that they can achieve anything in their life.

Three scholarship recipients were selected from dozens of students who submitted essays answering the question “What is it like being a black man in America to you?” Mr. Martin funded the scholarships by working extra jobs, such as uber driving and door dash deliveries, after his full day of teaching.

In an interview with Fox 26 Houston, Mr. Martin said he wants to change the image society has of young black males. “I’m a first-generation college graduate. My parents and my siblings went to school but they didn’t complete. There were times when I was in college it was like ok what am I going to do? How am I going to get this class paid for? How am I going to get these books paid for? I don’t want these kids to have to go through that.”

The Ellen DeGeneres Show Surprises Mr. Martin with a Gift from TisBest

Houston Elementary School Teacher Joshua Martin receives a check and TisBest Charity Gift Card on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Joshua Martin’s actions have created a ripple effect of kindness in his community. So TisBest wanted to give him the opportunity to make an even bigger splash. During his appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Mr. Martin was surprised with a $20,000 TisBest check to further serve his students and community. And since kindness is contagious, he also received a $5,000 TisBest Charity Gift Card to pay forward to his favorite charities. Mr. Martin’s kind heart has filled our hearts with all the feels! To learn more about The Pipeline to Success, follow Joshua Martin on Facebook or send him an email at ThePipelineToSuccess@gmail.com.

Create More Warm Fuzzies! 

Join us in the movement to #RedefineGifting by replacing gifts of stuff with gifts of good. If you feel inspired by this heartwarming story, spread a little more love in our world. Send a TisBest Charity Gift Card to those close to your heart so they can pay it forward to a charity that is close to theirs. Or give a card to a stranger as a random act of kindness. Together, you’ll do a world of good.

A TisBest Charity Gift Card with a light green tartan design.

Share your giving stories with us on social by tagging your post with #RedefineGifting.