January 2019 - Dr. Emma Martinez

Colorado Association of Latino/a Administrators and Superintendents

January 2019

Welcome to the CO ALAS Membership Spotlight.  Each month we introduce you to one of our many CO ALAS members. Let’s see what they are doing and what’s on their mind!

This month we are featuring Dr. Emma Rae Martinez, Superintendent of Schools for South Conejos School

Career Highlights & Education
I began my career 41 years ago, teaching at Centauri High School in southern Colorado, the same school I graduated from five years earlier. Thus, my teachers became my colleagues. I was a school counselor and teacher in several school districts in Colorado before moving to San Diego. While in San Diego, I taught for three years before taking an administrative position and was a school administrator in the San Diego Unified School District for 23 years.

Born and raised in El Valle de San Luis, I dreamed of returning to my community and leading a district as a Superintendent. My dream came true in 2017 when I was offered the superintendent’s position at South Conejos School District in Antonito, Colorado. 

I obtained both my Bachelors and Master’s Degrees from Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado. While trying to obtain my transcripts for the application of superintendent, I joked that they might have to look in the “carved in stone” file. I attended both the University of Colorado, Boulder and the University of Denver to complete my administrative credentials. Immediately after moving to San Diego, I began work on my doctoral degree and obtained my degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University, class of 1995.

What is exciting about my job?
This is my birthplace, and many children are related to me thus I have an additional obligation to make certain they get the very best education. The privilege of working in a small school district is that my office is located in the school and I can start the day with the elementary children reciting the pledge of allegiance and singing a good morning song, then walk directly into the secondary side of the building to visit classrooms and observe teaching and learning. 

What advice would you give a new superintendent or school leader?
Build relationships! It is extremely important to have a mentor or mentors whom you can call or email and get an immediate response. If you don’t know something, say so and don’t be afraid to ask. As early as possible, request everything that can be audited, finance, personnel and activity budgets. Also, be a mentor, bring people along. Recognize leadership and take aspiring leaders under your wing and share what you know. Encourage their leadership and advocate for their promotions.

If you catch me outside the office, you’ll find . . .
My first priority is my family so you may find me on the phone with one of my three sons or face-timing my granddaughter. After that, you will find me in the gym lifting weights. Lifting weights is a great stress reliever for me, and I hit the gym at least four times a week. I also enjoy hiking, biking, walking, and reading. More recently you will also find me teaching a graduate class at the University.

How does CO-ALAS add value?
As one moves up the administrative ladder, it becomes more important to belong to a group of supportive and like-minded colleagues. I urge aspiring and practicing administrators in Colorado to become a part of the CO-ALAS community. This is a group of experts committed to promoting effective educational practice and providing camaraderie for professional growth.  

CO-ALAS is a professional education association that advocates for the continued development and placement of Latino/Latina administrators who are committed to quality public education for all students.


PO Box 13109
Denver, CO 80201