2023 Tillman Scholar
Graciela Romero Martinez discovered her passion for teaching as a freshman in college at University of California, Santa Barbara. This is also where she met her husband, who is currently a captain in the U.S. Army Reserves with 12 years of service to his country.
Working in a bilingual classroom as a college student, Graciela discovered the joy of working with students, especially language learners. Although she had originally intended on pursuing law school, Graciela realized that there was justice in education so she set her sights on obtaining a master’s in education and a multiple subject teaching credential. Graciela became a classroom teacher serving Title 1 schools, teaching grade levels such as 5th, 3rd and 1st. Currently, she is a reading intervention specialist providing instruction to K–6 students in English and Spanish.
Graciela has been a long-time volunteer for school organizations, such as the PTA and Social Justice and Equity Task Force, where she collaborates with educational partners to coordinate community events and fundraisers. She also served as soldier and family readiness group leader for her husband’s unit when they deployed. In addition to holding in-person and virtual events for soldiers and their families, Graciela’s 3rd grade class “adopted” her husband’s unit and students wrote letters to boost soldiers’ morale.
Graciela is pursuing a doctoral degree in educational leadership from California State University – Fresno, with the hopes of becoming an agent of change in her community and promoting high levels of academic achievement for all students.