District Honors Alumna for Teaching Excellence

Alumna Katia Martinez has been recognized as a 2013 Beginning Teacher of the Year finalist in Palm Beach County.

The Palm Beach County School District and Education Foundation Tuesday partnered to honor first year and mentor teachers. The award distinguishes those teachers whose passion for education motivates them to go above and beyond to inspire their students. Nominated by their principals, the finalists stand out as examples of the excellence within their school and district.

Dr. Marilyn Stepnoski, left, and Dr. Jim Craft, right, were on hand as Katia Martinez was honored as a finalist for the Palm Beach County School District and Education Foundation 2013 Beginning Teacher of the Year Award.

Martinez, who is an art teacher at Spanish River High School, graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic in 2011 with a degree in art education. She describes her experience at PBA as “life-changing” as her love for Christ was reignited and the high standards of excellence and passion from her professors gave her the inspiration to become a great teacher.

Using the tools influential professors shared by her professors, Dr. Marilyn Stepnoski, director of clinical experiences, and Dr. Jim Craft, associate professor of art, Martinez said that she  was able to integrate PBA’s values -- accountability, excellence, integrity, love, respect and unity --into her own classroom.

With her passion for teaching not limited to the classroom, Martinez heads to Turkey this summer, traveling with the Istanbul Center of Miami. After challenging her class to enter, one of her student’s essays placed in the top three in the nation in the Center’s 2013 essay and art contest resulting in this opportunity to experience the cultural trip of a lifetime. Next, Martinez will visit Bogota, Columbia where she has been commissioned by the mayor to paint a mural for the city. To cap off her summer, she has been recruited by the Boca Raton Museum of Art to lead a high school and young adult class on portfolio preparation in August.