MLK Bio

About Martha L. King

Dr. King’s career in education began in 1938 as an elementary classroom teacher in Athens and Perry County Public Schools (Ohio). She earned her Ph.D. and B.S. from the Ohio State University, and her M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University. She also did post doctorate work at the University of California at Berkeley. When she joined the Elementary Education faculty at Ohio State in 1959, she already had over 20 years experience as a teacher and supervisor in the public schools. In her stellar career, Dr. King provided leadership at the university level, was a supervisor and curriculum consultant for Franklin County (Ohio) Schools, and was a supervising-critic teacher at Ohio University.

Dr. King is well known for her many scholarly publications. Informal education, those classrooms with their thoughtful weave of theory visible to the trained eye, held the interest of both the researcher and the teacher in King. It can be argued that some of her most compelling pieces of writing were her descriptions of informal classrooms.

She was recognized as a recipient of the highest award of the National Council for Research in the Teaching of English and was honored in 1992 as a recipient of the Hall of Fame award from the International Reading Association. The Martha L. King Center for Language and Literacies was so named upon Dr. King’s retirement from the University.

Dr. Martha L. King, received the College’s most prestigious award during a ceremony in Columbus on November 6th, 1992. Dr. King was inducted into the College of Education Hall of Fame, which is the highest award that the College can bestow. Award winners, alumni or faculty of the college, must have made significant contribution to education as “models” for all others in the field. Dr. King’s induction recognized her influence on the entire field of language and literacies education.

In the 1970s, Dr. King and Dr. Charlotte Huck were responsible for initiation of an innovative teacher education program (Educational Programs in Informal Classrooms – EPIC), which was recognized as a model for excellence in teacher education and is still being used.

Dr. King died on Friday, March 26, 2007, on her 89th birthday. Her inspiration continues through the work of the Martha King Center and her students.