Recipients of the Educators Breaking Boundaries Awards 2017

Congratulations to this year's recipients of the Educators Breaking Boundaries Award, Patty Martinez and Micah Stork! This award was created in partnership between TALB and Security Benefit to recognize educators that have broken barriers either personally and/or with students while embodying at least 5 of Jackie Robinson’s Nine Core Values of courage, determination, teamwork, persistence, integrity, citizenship, justice, commitment, and excellence.

Patty Martinez is an English teacher at Wilson High School. When she was only 3 years old, her right leg was 1 ½ inches than her left. This total dislocation of her right hip began what would become a life-long challenge of orthopedic issues which has led to casts, surgeries, an abduction bar, a total hip replacement, and a hip revision. Growing up in a Long Beach neighborhood, her family had minimal financial resources and both parents were uneducated. Patty endured verbal, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse from her father from the ages of 7 to 13. He eventually abandoned the family when she was 16 years old. As she grew older, she was diagnosed with clinical depression, clinical anxiety, and PTSD. Early on in her teaching career, she recognized that many of her students struggle with similar issues, having emotional problems and dysfunctional families. She also recognized that schools don’t do enough to support kids with mental illness. So as a teacher, she has developed a rapport with her students and provides that support for teenagers who are struggling. She courageously exhibits an authenticity with her students so that no one has to feel the shame of abuse or mental illness or having a physical disability. Patty Martinez truly embodies the core values of Jackie Robinson and we are proud to present her with this Educators Breaking Boundaries Award!

Micah Stork is a special education teacher at the Adult Community Transition Program (ACT). In his teaching position Micah educates his students in community based instruction, vocational training, life skills, and fundamental academics. It can often be difficult for individuals with disabilities to find employment because of negative stereotypes. His work has made an incredible impact on his students. In one particular example, he invested over 140 hours of instructional time working with a student with autism on a daily basis for over 14 months and he successfully helped the student gain employment at a movie theatre in Long Beach. The student is doing a great job and is receiving praise and recognition in the workplace. Micah demonstrates and teaches patience, persistence, and perseverance as he works with students to break societal barriers. We are proud to present Micah Stork with this Educators Breaking Boundaries Award!