Yadira Martinez to seek full term on Hillsboro School Board
This year's Hillsboro School Board elections are still months away, but at least one sitting board member has already set their sights on a new term.
Yadira Martinez, who was appointed to the board less than a year ago following the resignation of Wayne Clift, announced last week she intends to seek a full term on the school board.
"I always knew that that was part of being appointed was that I was going to do this," Martinez told the Tribune last week.
Martinez' decision to continue representing the district boils down to her desire to be more involved and to fight for equity in education, she said. Martinez is one of two Latina members on the school board, representing a district where more than 36 percent identify as Latino.
"For the students, being able to see that their leadership is made up of — and looks like — their student body, I think is super important," Martinez said. "When kids can't see somebody that looks like them up on these levels making decisions for them, they kind of feel left out and maybe not heard, so it's really important that students connect to who is representing them and making decisions for them. That's why I feel like the school board needs to be diverse — it has to have that representation of everyone at the table."
Martinez said her background as a dental hygienist at Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center makes her a unique addition to the board. Martinez --- who also works one day each week at the district's school based health center at Century High School ---- said there is a direct correlation between health care and a student's ability to learn. Martinez also serves on the Oregon Board of Dentistry.
Martinez is a graduate of the Hillsboro School District. As a parent of three children, she said she has seen the challenges faced by students and families in the district.
If elected, Martinez said she plans to focus on increasing funding for K-12 schools and grow the district's dual-language program, which she said has few resources to draw on.
"The demand is higher than the supply," she said. "There are just not enough bilingual teachers."
To combat that, Martinez said the district needs to focus on getting bilingual students interested in teaching as a career, so that they may return and teach in Hillsboro in the future.
Martinez said she also plans to advocate for additional college and career pathway programs in the school district.
"I'm super passionate about kids having a direction when they graduate," she said. "College is not for everybody, so making sure that those students also have an idea of what they want to do beyond (high school). … Give them a good understanding that 'This is what your next steps will be' —really making sure that kids are prepared and know what direction they are going when they graduate.'"
Martinez is the first to throw their hat in the ring for May's election. Two other school board members, Kim Strelchun and Chairwoman Lisa Allen, are also up for re-election.
By Olivia Singer
Reporter, Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
Follow Olivia at @oliviasingerr
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