With the dog days of summer coming to an end, McKinney Courier Gazette sports editor Kendrick E. Johnson will give a behind-the-scenes look by having Sunday Spotlight Conversations with the ladies behind each of the three high schools who make an impact on their respective program’s success.
Sit back and enjoy the last of three installments of “Ladies Behind The Program” Sunday Spotlight conversations. This week’s guest has been a part of McKinney Boyd since it opened in 2006, starting off as the principal’s secretary and currently thriving as Boyd’s athletic secretary. Please relax and enjoy the McKinney Courier Gazette’s Sunday Spotlight Conversation with Boyd secretary Paula Martin.
How special is it for you to have been part of the McKinney Boyd staff since its opening in 2006?
Martin: Boyd is such a special place to work. When we opened in 2006, Dr. McDaniel was the principal, and I was the campus secretary.
From day one, before we even moved into the building, the focus was about creating a culture that was centered around being a family and supporting each other. Dr. McDaniel built the foundation for the family environment we have at Boyd, and Dr. Peirson has certainly picked up the torch and run with it.
She is an incredible leader and her heart for kids is unmatched.
How special is it for you to be part of the McKinney Boyd football program?
Martin: I love football. As a matter of fact, I love it so much, I married a football coach. My husband Les has been a football and baseball coach for 27 years, 10 of them at McKinney High and the past five at Allen High School.
We have had a few long weekends over the years after Friday night games when our teams have played each other, and, while I love my husband, he knows my heart is on the Bronco sideline.
The coaches, players and parents are what makes being part of the football program so special. I get to experience it all with them every week. I am excited for them when we win, and I hurt for them when we don’t.
Can you give some insight into your fondest memory from being part of the Boyd athletics program?
Martin: There have been so many incredible memories over the years it’s difficult to pick just one. Having a front-row seat watching our student athletes grow from freshmen to seniors and become leaders on the Boyd campus is very special.
Some of the memories I cherish the most are seeing our Boyd staff’s kids grow up (from) running through the halls of Boyd after school and during the summer to running up and down a Boyd field or court as Bronco team member.
What made you want to be in an important position that keeps you on your toes every day?
Martin: Working with students every day certainly keeps me on my toes. I imagine anyone who works in education feels the same.
Every day is different, and I love that. It’s not just the students keeping me on my toes, it’s the coaches. I do my best to help our coaches with anything they need so they can focus on the kids. We have an amazing coaching staff at Boyd. One of the things that’s unique about this job is the amount of time I get to spend with the coaches and athletes every day. It’s a great combination, and I love it.
How have you perfected being behind the scenes in a job that’s very front and center and visible to many?
Martin: I haven’t, not even close. I like being behind the scenes. It’s where I am most comfortable. My goal is to shine the spotlight on the ones who deserve it the most, our coaches and student athletes.
Students change, parents change, coaches change – this job is always changing, and that’s what I love about it. I learn something new every day.
Do you ever feel pressure to be on your “A” game with so many people pulling you different ways throughout your day-to-day duties?
Absolutely. I am a perfectionist, and I care about supporting our students and staff. There are days that are tougher than others, for sure, but, ultimately, it’s about taking care of the coaches so they can take care of the kids.
It also helps to have the support from the only two other people in the district that do the same job as I do, Julie Lee (MHS) and Cindy Beasley (MNHS). The three of us have a great working relationship and friendship.
What are you going to miss about working for former Boyd head coach Don Drake, who developed the program’s foundation?
Martin: Working with coach Drake every day was an absolute privilege. Coach Drake asked me to come work with him in the Boyd athletic office after his secretary Teresa Douglas passed away.
Teresa was a dear friend of mine, and losing her was very painful for our Boyd family, but it was especially hard on the football coaches and coach Drake. Teresa left big shoes to fill, and I do my best to honor and respect her memory every day by not trying to fill her shoes.
What I miss the most is just being together every day. I am so proud to have been a small part of the program that coach Drake built here at Boyd. We have a genuine love and respect for each other. I don’t just miss him, I miss the entire Drake family – they are very special to me, as are all the coaches and their families.
How hard has it been transitioning from the original Boyd regime to the current regime this summer?
Martin: Change is always hard, but all in all, it’s been pretty smooth, and I credit that to the Boyd coaching staff and Dr. Peirson’s leadership during this process. We have strong traditions at McKinney Boyd for such a young school, and athletics is a big part of that. I look forward to continuing the traditions we have and helping to implement the new ones coach (Joe) McBride is starting.
McKinney Boyd has always been about relationships, and I look forward to building relationships with the new coaching staff and getting to know their families.
What is the best thing about playing an integral, behind-the-scenes role in the Boyd football program?
Martin: The kids. The absolute best thing about this job is the kids. Even on the toughest days, it’s about the kids. I am truly blessed to be part of the McKinney Boyd football program.