As a teacher with the HOPE Infant Family Support Program, Cindy Jo Martinez connects with families in their homes to provide intervention services for young children with special needs.
Because of her dedication and true love for the children and families she supports, Martinez is the Early Education teacher of the year.
"Her sweet and gentle spirit guided us in what felt like an overwhelming season and she was simply a comforting presence," said Ann Thomas, mother of Samuel who was born with Down Syndrome. Martinez was their first contact when they began with the HOPE program. "Cindy Jo sees our son's potential and has been an integral part of his success."
Martinez said she finds joy in supporting children and their families, and also learns from each child and family.
"Teaching is an opportunity to love children and empower them," Martinez said. "I believe all children have the capacity to learn and that it is my responsibility as a teacher to foster a love of learning in each and every child."
Martinez has a passion for learning and contributing in the workplace. She is involved in several program teams, contributing to the strategic efforts of HOPE.
Martinez has been in education for 20 years, the past 13 as a teacher. She joined the HOPE team in 2016. She became interested in special education while working as an instructional aide in a local school district.