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Melissa Martinez

Melissa A. Martinez, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Director, PhD. in Education–School Improvement 

Melissa Martinez

ASBS 322



Counseling, Leadership, Adult Education & School Improvement


Education and Community Leadership, School Improvement

Research Interests

P-16 equity and access issues, Race/ethnicity, College access, college readiness, leadership preparation, social justice leadership, faculty of color, qualitative research

Teaching Areas

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

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Melissa A. Martinez, Ph.D. is an assistant 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



  • 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

Selected Publications (books, book chapters, journal articles, presentations)

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