The Educator Spotlight recognizes those who contribute to the education of local students. Educators were chosen by consulting with site PTA, student government organizations and staff. Educators were chosen for their reputations with students, staff, parents and the community.

Martha Vasquez shares a quote from Steve Jobs, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

Vasquez started off planning to earn a degree in Design, but she didn’t settle for that. Instead, she found, by working as an instructional assistant with SMMUSD, that teaching was what she loved to do.

“The impact of seeing great teachers in action inspired me to change majors – Design became plan B,” she said.

She has been with the district in different capacities for years: as an instructional assistant for preschool, a long term sub at Grant Elementary, a 3rd and 4th grade teacher, and finally a permanent kindergarten teacher at Will Rogers Learning Community (WRLC) where she has been for four years.

She loves working for SMMUSD and at WRLC. In particular, she enjoys the diverse community she gets to interact with daily, the families who trust her to care for and teach their children, and the hard working staff. But best of all she gets to witness her students “blossoming into well rounded individuals.” She enjoys seeing them smiling daily as they “sing, dance, rhyme, and play” while developing their social, emotional, and academic skills.

Feeling there is always room for improvement in everything we do, Vasquez always strives to find ways to grow professionally. She is currently working on earning her National Board Certification.

In her own words

“Kindergarten holds a special place in my heart. It is a magical place, in which children come at the beginning of the year, ready to learn their letters, and then leave at the end of the year reading books. It is very exciting to witness a child reading for the first time. Fireworks go off! Their eagerness to learn and their love for school allow their growth to continue and my passion for teaching to excel.

“My biggest inspiration when teaching is art! I love incorporating art in my teaching and enriching learning in other subjects with the use of the arts. I feel that art allows my students to express their creativity and individuality. It is very important to learn to create and appreciate visual aesthetics and to be able to think creatively!

“Hopefully my students will learn to always aim for progress — not perfection.”

“Know that success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing” —Pele