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Dr. Melissa Martinez

Educational Leadership

Education and Community Leadership, School Improvement 


Melissa A. Martinez, Ph.D. is a professor in the Education and Community Leadership Program at Texas State University. She is a native of the Rio Grande Valley, and a former bilingual elementary school teacher and school counselor. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Administration from The University of Texas at Austin in 2010 and earned her B.A. (1998) and M.Ed. (2002) at The University of Texas at Brownsville. Her research focuses on equity and access issues along the P-16 education pipeline, particularly in relation to: 1) improving college readiness, college access, and fostering a college going culture for underserved communities, 2) the preparation of equity-oriented school leaders who understand and can meet the needs of underserved communities, and 3) the preparation and retention of faculty of color. Through her research and teaching, Dr. Martinez is committed to preparing future educational leaders who are thoughtful, critical, and reflective in their practice and adhere to the tenets of social justice. 

In August of 2013, Dr. Martinez was awarded a three-year $90,000 grant as a part of the Greater Texas Foundation’s Faculty Fellows Program to support her work related to student postsecondary success. In April of 2016, Dr. Martinez also received the Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association’s Division A



Phone: 512.245.4587

Office: ASBS 322

Fax: 512.245.8872



    • B. A. in Psychology from The University of Texas at Brownsville
    • M. Ed. in Counseling & Guidance from The University of Texas at Brownsville
    • Ph.D. in Educational Administration from The University of Texas at Austin
  • ED 7378: Equity and Access along the P-16 pipeline
    ED 7352: Beginning Qualitative Design
    ED 7331: Foundations of School Improvement
    EDCL 6358: Integrative Seminar
    EDCL 6352: School as the Center of Inquiry
    EDCL 5347: Understanding Environments

  • P-16 equity and access issues


    College access and readiness 

    Leadership preparation 

    Social justice leadership

    Faculty of color

    Qualitative research

  • Martinez, M. A., Valle, F., Cortez, L. J., Ponjuan, L., & Saenz, V. B. (2017, July). Context is key: School leaders’ approaches in creating and maintaining dual enrollment opportunities in South Texas. Leadership and Policy in Schools. DOI: 10.1080/15700763.2017.1326149

    Martinez, M. A. & Everman, D. (2017, March). Fostering a college going culture for historically underserved students: One principal’s approach. Journal of School Leadership, 27(2), 242-268.

    Martinez, M.A., Marquez, J., Cantú, Y., & Rocha, P. (2016). Ternura y Tenacidad: Testimonios of Latina school leaders. Association of Mexican American Educators Journal, 10(3), 11-29.

    Martinez, M. A., Chang, A., & Welton, A. D. (2016, March). Assistant professors of color confront the inequitable terrain of the academy: A community cultural wealth perspective. Race Ethnicity and Education, 20(5), 697-710.

    Martinez, M. A. (2015). Engaging aspiring educational leaders in self-reflection regarding race and privilege. Reflective Practice: International and Multidisciplinary Perspectives. DOI: 10.1080/14623943.2015.1095727

    Rodríguez, C., Martinez, M. A., Valle, F. (2015). Latino educational leadership across the pipeline: For Latino communities and Latina/o leaders. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education. DOI: 10.1177/1538192715612914

    Martinez, M. A. & Welton, A. D. (2015). Straddling cultures, identities, and inconsistencies: Voices of pre-tenure faculty of color in educational leadership. Journal of Research on Leadership Education. 1-21. DOI: 10.1177/1942775115606177.

    Cortez, L. J., Martinez, M. A., Alsandor, D., Chang, A., & Welton, A. D. (2015). Nuestras raizes ground us: Connecting comunidad and cultura to who we are as Latina/o faculty. In F. Hernandez, E. Murakami, and G. Rodriguez (Eds.). Abriendo Puertas, Cerrando Heridas (Opening Doors, Closing Wounds): Latina/os Finding Work-Life Balance in Academia (pp. 173-182). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc.

    Martinez, M. A. (2014). My relationship with academia as a Latina scholar. In W. S. Newcomb (Ed.). Continuing to disrupt the status quo? Young and new women professors of educational leadership (pp. 144-155). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc.

    Martinez, M. A. (2014, December). Questions of ethics and loyalty: An assistant principal’s tale. Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, 17(4), 66-77.

    Martinez, M.A., & Welton, A. D. (2014, September). Examining college opportunity structures for students of Color at high “minority,” high poverty secondary schools in Texas. Journal of School Leadership, 24(5), 800-841.

    Welton, A. D., & Martinez, M. A. (2014, June). Coloring the college pathway: A more culturally responsive approach to college readiness and access for students of color in secondary schools. Urban Review, 46(2), 197-223. DOI: 10.1007/s11256-013-0252-7

    Cortez, L. J., Martinez, M. A., & Sáenz, V. B. (2014). Por los ojos de madres: Latina mothers’ understandings of college readiness. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 27(7), 877-900. DOI: 10.1080/09518398.2013.805851

    Martinez, M. A. (2013). (Re)considering the role familismo plays in Latina/o high school students' college choices. The High School Journal, 97(1), 21-40. DOI: 10.135/HSJ.2013.0019

    Martinez, M.A., Cortez, L. J., & Sáenz, V.B. (2013). Latino parents’ perceptions of the role of schools in college readiness. Journal of Latinos and Education, 12(2), 108-120.  DOI:    10.1080/15348431.2012.745402

    Martinez, M.A. (2012). Wealth, stereotypes, and issues of prestige: The college choice experience of Mexican American students within a community context. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 11(1), 67-81. DOI: 10.1177/1538192711428992

    Yamamura, E. K., Martinez, M.A., & Saenz, V.B. (2010). Moving beyond high school expectations: Examining stakeholders’ responsibility for increasing Latina/o students’ college readiness. The High School Journal, 93(3), 126-148