Educators Network

Improving teacher diversity and the retention of
teachers of color in Washington State

Martinez Fellowship Program

The Martinez Fellowship was established in 2008 under Edgar and Holli Martinez’s nonprofit, the Martinez Foundation, with a mission of improving teacher diversity. In 2015, the Martinez Foundation entrusted Technology Access Foundation (TAF) to continue its efforts of diversifying the teacher population.

What We Do
Currently, we have over 180 Martinez Fellows working in school districts and positively influencing more than 16,000 students from some of the most diverse and high-needs schools in Washington State public schools.

TAF is committed to improving teacher diversity and retaining teachers of color in their profession. TAF does this by providing Fellows with the opportunity to network and collaborate with other teachers of color in a trusted community, along with providing high quality professional development designed to complement their university instruction and other district or state supports.

Martinez Fellows have access to:

Early Career Coaching
Upon request, TAF supports Fellows in their classrooms by conducting observations and providing feedback to improve teaching and learning.

Assistance with Employment and Placement
TAF staff works with superintendents, principals, and human resource directors in finding Fellows employment in schools and districts that align with their professional aspirations.

IslandWood Retreat
The keystone professional development and community building event for all Martinez Fellows is a three-day conference held each summer in early August. Every year, thought leaders in education from around the state share their experiences and knowledge through interactive workshops, essential to establishing a community of support among Fellows.

Five (5) Saturday seminars are scheduled throughout the year to provide timely professional development from experts in the field, as well as give Fellows opportunities to share their knowledge and experiences.

Community Events
Many informal gatherings take place throughout the year that allow Fellows to work through issues they may be grappling with, or simply develop deeper connections with one another. These include Cohort meetings, volunteer activities, and opportunities to lead outside of the Fellowship.

How to Apply
The Martinez Fellowship is designed for graduate teachers of color. TAF partners with various Washington State college and university programs to source the next cohorts of Martinez Fellows.

For directions to apply, view our How to Become a Fellow PDF.

  • The Martinez Foundation supports me in so many ways. They encourage my passion for education and keep me motivated. They provide me with professional development to help me hone my craft as teacher. They also give me emotional support, which is often needed in this career.  The Martinez Foundation helps me to be the teacher I have always wanted to be and the teacher that all students deserve.

    Zharina Angeles Martinez Fellow, Cohort 7
  • My dream of being a fantastic teacher became a reality the day I became a Martinez Fellow. The foundation is what every teacher needs.

    Anthony Brock Martinez Fellow, Cohort 7

Network for Ed Work

As our group of Martinez Fellows has matured as educators, so have their needs. We now notice that our teachers, particularly those who have taught for a number of years, are grappling with how to effect broader change in our system. 

The Martinez Fellowship Program is on the path to developing a new effort that will target and support all rising education leaders of color in WA State. We believe that as education leadership becomes stronger and more diverse, we will see an improvement in the retention of teachers of color, as well as in the outcomes we realize with students.

What We’ve Done So Far
During 2017, TAF’s Martinez Fellowship Program convened leaders of color across the Puget Sound to discuss how they can be supported and to brainstorm pathways for their success. Over a period of six months, 65 people attended one or more Educational Leaders of Color Forums, representing over 25 different districts, universities, and community organizations. 

As a result of the conversations that had taken place over the previous six months, the leaders of color identified three important considerations for implementing a mentorship program:

  1. leaders of color need the opportunity to network with each other
  2. community-centered and person-first work is vital
  3. mentors need professional development to grow their capacity

Building a Community of Leaders
Education work can be isolating and exhausting. As educators of color, it is difficult to figure out how to navigate and access the dominate culture to change a system that was not built for you.

The Martinez Fellowship Program recognizes that the work to support leaders of color needs to transcend the efforts of individual districts and leadership programs. Leaders of color need to network and create authentic relationships that will guide them through the work of dismantling systemic racism in education.

For this reason, we’re expanding our reach through the Education Leaders of Color Network – creating a safe community where leaders of color convene to build trust through shared experiences, advice, encouragement, and ultimately mentorship.

To attend one of our networking events for education leaders of color, follow us on Facebook.

Learn more about our Fellows