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. He was preceded in death by his father Dr. James Mackey. Martin was born May 18, 1974 in Minneapolis, Minn. to educators Beth and James Mackey. Martin’s love for the outdoors was sparked by summers spent at Camp Widjiwagan in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Following graduation from Roseville Area High School, Martin attended the University of Montana, earning a BA in Sociology. While living in Montana he fell in love with his future wife Jennifer and with the majestic landscapes of the Rocky Mountains. It was this love of the outdoors that led to his first job working with young people, serving as a guide for wilderness therapy programs. Martin and Jennifer relocated to Jennifer’s home state of Maine following graduation and were married in 2002. Martin began a 13-year career with the REAL School in 2006, serving as a teacher, Vice Principal and Principal. Martin was beloved by students, faculty, and staff alike, and was even voted “most likely to carry 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, “maintain a healthy disregard for the impossible,” always searching for solutions to problems others viewed as unsolvable. Scores of his former students credit him with inspiring them to graduate 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 world outside. 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 gave them the power to believe in themselves. After leaving the REAL School, Martin was Principal of Nobleboro Central School from 2018 to 2020 before becoming director 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 who are developing high-quality remote and hybrid learning options. In this work Martin drew on his decades of experience rethinking education to ensure that all students have an opportunity to thrive. While working full-time in education Martin also earned a Master’s in Special Education from the University of Southern Maine, a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Educational Leadership from the University of New England, and was working toward a Certificate in School Management and Leadership from Harvard Graduate School of Education and Harvard Business School. Martin was a co-founder of the Collaborative for Perpetual Innovation and the president of the Alternative Education Association of Maine from 2015 to 2019. His impact is felt by the hundreds of students whose lives he touched, as well as by his fellow educators around the state who continue to be inspired to search for new ways to engage non-traditional students. Outside of his work, Martin’s greatest joy was being a father to Elise and Wyeth and he was incredibly proud of the people they are. Martin also found joy in what he called “human-powered adventures.” His wide, toothy smile can be seen in hundreds of photographs taken while cycling, canoeing, skiing, backpacking, climbing, surfing, or skateboarding, often along with Jennifer, Elise, Wyeth, and their beloved dogs Tessah and Annie. Martin spent his last moments surfing with his son Wyeth off the coast of Cape Cod. Martin lived each day of his life as an adventure, whether in the classroom or in the mountains and waterways of the Maine he loved so deeply. He made everyone he met feel like the most important person in the world. He will be remembered for his humor, his dedication 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 at Memorial donations may be made to: a Mackey family support fund ( or: Seeds of Independence ( or: Teens to Trails (

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