Martinez Fellowship Program

The Martinez Fellowship is a program established by Holli and Edgar Martinez and managed by the Technology Access Foundation (TAF) that supports teachers of color through graduate-level scholarships, early career coaching, and ongoing professional development in an effort to close the achievement gap by improving teacher diversity and the retention of teachers of color in Washington state.

Currently, the program has 121 Martinez Fellows working in 30 school districts and positively influencing more than 8,500 students from some of the most diverse and high-needs schools in Washington. TAF is the only non-profit organization in the state committed to improving teacher diversity and retaining teachers of color in their profession. TAF does this by providing Fellows with the opportunity to network and collaborate with other teachers of color in a trusted community, along with providing high-quality professional development designed to complement their university instruction and other district or state supports.

Martinez Fellows are exceptional teachers and leaders in education and are committed to the highest standards of professionalism and excellence in the profession. Fellows are committed to the success of every student in their classrooms, passionately committed to social justice in education, and eager to engage in pursuing excellence within an ongoing collaborative learning community with other Fellows. Fellows come from various experiences and communities yet come together around their shared passion for teaching through a multicultural lens and eliminating the achievement/opportunity gap in Washington State’s most underserved schools.

Benefits of Becoming a Martinez Fellow

  • Graduate-level scholarships toward Masters in Teaching degrees
  • Opportunities to network and collaborate with other teachers of color in a trusted community
  • Early career coaching and support
  • Leadership opportunities within and outside of the program
  • Three-day Martinez Fellows Summer Conference
  • Five Saturday professional-development seminars throughout the school year
  • Students enrolled in a graduate teacher preparation program at SPU and accepted as a Martinez Fellow are eligible to substitute Martinez summer and Saturday professional development activities in place of three credits of regular coursework as an additional benefit

 Martinez Fellows Agree to the Following

  • Work as educators in Washington state K–12 public schools immediately upon graduation from their program. Fellows must commit to teaching for at least three years, preferably longer.
  • Attend and participate in the annual Martinez Fellowship Summer Conference. Attendance is mandatory for first- and second-year Fellows (graduate students and first-year teachers). Attendance in the third year and beyond is voluntary, but strongly encouraged.
  • Participate in the Saturday Professional-Development Seminars, which are held 5 times over the course of the school year. Physical attendance is mandatory for first- and second-year Fellows (graduate students and first-year teachers). Attendance in the third year and beyond is strongly encouraged; opportunities are available for Fellows to lead Seminar workshops and discussions.
  • Professional standards of conduct and punctuality are expected at Martinez Fellowship events.
  • Serve as a role model as a professional educator and agree to help mentor and collaborate with other Fellows to improve K-12 teaching.
  • Maintain accurate contact and work-site information, including: email address, phone number, home address, district, school, grade/subject.
  • Participate in program surveys and/or research inquiries to help TAF learn more about teacher education, teacher effectiveness, and how to shape the Martinez Fellows program to recruit and retain future teacher candidates.
  • Give permission to TAF to promote award recipients’ names and bios on TAF’s website, in press releases, print brochures, video clips, and by introducing them at TAF sponsored events.
  • Participate in Community Events throughout the year and/or host events for other Fellows to attend.


The Martinez Fellowship scholarship is an annual, nonrecurring award for students of color admitted to a graduate-level teacher-preparation program at SPU. Scholarship recipients may receive different award amounts (the average award is $5,000). There is no set number of awards given each year. In cooperation with partner universities, some of the scholarship funds awarded to Martinez Fellows come from other sources.

Criteria for Selecting Martinez Fellows

  • Admission to one of SPU’s graduate teacher-preparation programs
  • Identify ethnicity as a person of color (other than Caucasian)
  • Demonstrate a commitment to social justice
  • Willingness to sign a contract agreeing to (1) teach for 3 years in a Washington public school (preferably in a diverse high-needs school) and (2) participate in program professional-development opportunities
  • Experience with school-age youth, education, youth development, social services, or related field
  • Demonstration of financial need (preferred)

Applications due March 1.

To apply, prepare an essay addressing the following questions. Essays should not exceed two typed pages.

  1. As a Martinez Fellow, you will have access to a vibrant community of educators/leaders of color. What will it mean to you personally and professionally to become a Martinez Fellow?
  2. Describe an experience where you gained a deeper understanding of your cultural identity. How will this moment impact you as a professional educator?

The application also requires a current resume. Send the essay and resume as email attachments to Sarah Snelling, Graduate Programs Assistant by March 1. Other questions specific to the program can be directed to​ La’akea Yoshida, Martinez Fellowship Program​ Coordinator

Qualified applicants will be invited for 30-minute interviews with Technology Access Foundation staff, current Martinez Fellows, and  program faculty around mid-April in the late afternoon and evening. Interviews will take place on the SPU campus in Peterson Hall.