Inez Martinez doesn’t consider teaching her profession; it’s her calling.
And she’s especially passionate about educating teen mothers because she was one herself.
Martinez teaches at Lindsay Blended Community School, a Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS) program for pregnant teens and young moms. This month, she will move to Victoria Blended Community School, San Diego County Office of Education’s other program for teen parents.
She can understand some of the challenges the teen moms face. By the time she was 19, she was divorced with two kids. Her mom and grandmother also had children when they were still teenagers.
Though it wasn’t easy, she was able to raise her children by herself while finishing high school early, earning a college degree, and working a part-time job.
“She personifies grit, resiliency and integrity,” said Jose Villarreal, JCCS senior director. “Though her personal story is a natural hook for students to build trust, her instructional practice truly pushes student understanding to transfer into real life skills.”
Martinez continues to keep busy. In addition to being a full-time teacher, she also serves in the Navy Reserves one weekend a month and two weeks each year. She will serve for three weeks next month in South Korea. She got married again when she was 21 years old and had a third child two years later.
She has been with the Lindsay program for about four years and JCCS for about 13 years.
Along with teaching her students, Martinez also tries to help empower them to be strong, resilient women.
“I’m a reminder to these girls that it’s not easy—as a mom, your life is a lot harder than your average teen—but you can do it,” she said.