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B2L Teacher Spotlight

Meet Mario Martinez! As a current secondary school teacher at Chief Sealth International High School in Seattle, WA, Mario Martinez gives everything he has to truly connect with the students he interacts with on a daily basis. Mario has a son who attends Chief Sealth as well and is more than just a teacher. He is a Father, Family Man, and true advocate for the students in West Seattle. Below is a short interview that was conducted by Build 2 Lead. Enjoy and if you have any questions or would like to connect directly with Mario please feel free to email him at!

B2L: What made you become a teacher?

Mr. Martinez: What led me into the teaching profession were the relationships and experiences I had as a student and an athlete. It was both the positive and negative experiences from pre-school through high school that planted the seed for a future career in education. However it was not until after I spent a few years producing an television show called Prep Varsity Sports and the daily interaction with students, staff and parents that I decided to go back to college and finish my degree in career and technical education.

B2L: Why are you passionate about teaching and the students?

Mr. Martinez: I believe that if your heart is in the right place it is easy to be passionate about helping guide students through the self-discovery process. At the end of the day, teaching is about allowing each student as an individual to find their talent, develop their talent and then pursue that talent, and being involved in that process is fun.

B2L: What is one interesting thing about you that students would be shocked to hear?

Mr. Martinez: Probably a few things, but one that always surprises students is my stint as a Councilmember and the Mayor of a small town. When students ask if I will ever run again for an elected office, I tell them I served my time and politics is a ruthless business.

B2L: Do you have any other organizations you help or volunteer with outside of school?

Mr. Martinez: I have always been involved in coaching sports and I am currently coaching girls’ basketball and assisting with the baseball team at Chief Sealth. I still use my political voice to advocate for policy or programs in government, and education, but not with any specific group.

B2L: What are your hobbies outside of school?

Mr. Martinez: Outside of school I focus my time on my kids and their pursuits, and I also spend some time researching my family’s genealogy trying to reconnect the dots that have been lost to time and circumstance.

B2L: Other than remote learning, how have you been affected by the pandemic?

Mr. Martinez: Well, it has really slowed down the sports activities and family gatherings which have always been a big part of my families lives.

B2L: How do you cope?

Mr. Martinez: I don’t know if I cope or if getting through tough situations is a part of my ancestral DNA, but I just know that with time the pandemic will pass and until then we have to be resilient.

B2L: If you could change anything inside the schools, what would it be and why?

Mr. Martinez: A lot, but I would start with making school more individualized for each student and flexible to the changes in student interest as they discover self and their talents. Every human being is unique, gifted with specific talents and should be allowed to pursue what is going to bring them fulfillment and purpose in life.

B2L: What is one thing that you try to stress the importance of to your students?

Mr. Martinez: Discover yourself, your talents and then go make a positive impression through your acts on the world around you. The Human physical life is short, and it makes no sense doing things that do not utilize your talent, bring you fulfillment, or have negative impacts others around you.

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