Claxton Elementary School teacher named Ga.’s Teacher of the Year

Claxton Elementary School teacher named Ga.’s Teacher of the Year

CLAXTON, Ga. (WTOC) - Statewide recognition for a Claxton Elementary School teacher who was named teacher of the year by Georgia’s teachers for English speakers of other languages.

Mrs. Martinez captures the hearts of many at Claxton Elementary School. She says being an immigrant herself, she’s able to relate to her students and with this award she wants to inspire her students to follow their dreams.

“I literally started jumping up and down and I was crying and of course I was thanking God and I couldn’t believe it," said Claudia Martinez.

Claudia Martinez understands the struggle of learning a new language after immigrating to the United States from Mexico. She uses her experiences to be an advocate to her students and her community.

“I know how it feels to come to another country, to have to learn a new language, to have to learn a new culture and new norms.”

A Georgia Southern graduate, being named the state’s teacher of the year for English speakers of other languages is something she never imagined happening.

“This award means a lot to me because I am a first generation immigrant, I am a woman of color, I’m a minority, I am a previous migrant student and a previous ESOL student and I also went through the school system.”

Martinez not only advocates for her students, but for their families too and those who know her best say if there’s anybody who deserves this award, it’s Martinez.

“Mrs. Martinez is one of the most dedicated teachers that I have ever met. Having her win this award is a huge testament to her hard work and her dedication to our students. For us in Evans County, she is a huge asset and seeing her recognized across the state for that is a tremendous feeling," said Academic Services Assistant Superintendent Kristi Vandenberg.

“She has been overcoming barriers ever since I first met her and she works so hard for the students of Evans County. She is just like a little ray of sunshine and her goal is to do what her students need her to do," said Claxton Elementary School teacher Lyn Peacock.

Martinez will be graduating with her doctorate degree and hopes to continue her advocacy in the community and continue creating educational opportunities.

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