The efforts of a Clovis Unified School District educator have earned him a prestigious award.
Marcos Martinez, a teacher in Buchanan High School’s english department, was named the Region 7 Educator of the Year by the California League of High Schools at a special ceremony held at Fort Washington Country Club in late November.
The humble Martinez said the award came as a surprise.
“You never think you deserve this award when you’re teaching because you always think that there’s others that are more deserving,” he said. “So, to be nominated for the award just in itself was pretty amazing. It was a great feeling. I was really thankful that my colleagues felt that way about me that they would nominate me. I was shocked and amazed and really happy that that it happened.”
The Buchanan teacher was one of 10 nominees for Region 7 which represents Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Tulare counties. Other finalists included fellow CUSD educators Derrick Davis (Clovis East), Jay Eichman (Clovis High) and Tricia Funk (Clovis West).
According to the California League of Schools, “Educator of the Year awards are given annually to educators from each of the CLS regions who exemplify educational excellence and have made significant efforts to implement elements of educational reform in elementary and high schools.”
Aside from teaching 11th grade english, Martinez’ effects include spearheading the school’s peer counseling program.
“I think the reason why I got nominated has a lot to do with the peer counseling program,” said Martinez. “We really provide a safe and confidential outlet for students who are referred to our program who are going through any type of issue. My students are trained and they have to become certified in order to hold a one-on-one session with another student with no parent involved. They go through an extensive amount of training. Over the past three years, we’ve really built that program through the help of administration and the staff.”
Although Martinez is a “strickler” when it comes to teaching the department’s curriculum, he still tries to make learning fun. One of the ways he does so is by allowing students – and colleagues – to call him by his nickname, “Latino Heat.”
The term is a reference to late WWE star Eddie Guerrero, who Martinez resembles.
“My students and some of the staff call me ‘Latino Heat’ so it’s just kind of a fun deal,” Martinez said. “I try to make education fun for the students and I try to do that with the faculty as well.”
What’s next for Martinez? As a result of winning the region, he now qualifies for the statewide competition in mid January.
But, in the meantime, he’ll soak in the regional award and remember those that made it possible.
“I wouldn’t have received this award without the support of my family, the english department, the administration, and really without the kids,” Martinez said. “Without all of that, I wouldn’t be the teacher I am today.”