Martha Rodriguez

Martha Rodriguez


Sunnyslope Elementary School
Jurupa USD


“There are no words to properly express the immense feeling of gratitude to those who were instrumental in bestowing upon me the honor of being selected as the 2018 Riverside County Teacher of the Year. First and foremost, I want to thank God for all his blessings. I also want to thank my parents who taught me to have hope and determination. My siblings for their unconditional love and support. To my loving husband and beautiful daughter for supporting my journey in making a difference in the lives of my students. Thanks to my students, past and present, who taught me that our deepest strengths are not when we are apart, but rather, come to fruition when we work together as a team. Thank you Jurupa Unified teachers, administrators, and parents, for providing a vision of inclusion and compassion. Finally, thank you Mr. Luis, Mandy, and Jane Moore, for all your advice and guidance.”


After teaching for 27 years, Martha Rodriguez has come to recognize that cultures and external environments change, but keeping students’ needs and interests first is the key to reaching their hearts and minds, while building a trust that leads to learning. Building that trust includes sharing her own story about growing up in a migrant camp with a father whose schooling ended after first grade. In her sixth grade dual immersion classroom that reverberates with curious minds learning in Spanish and English, Ms. Rodriguez’s class is a family that solves challenges together—including weekly parent meetings, inviting families into the classroom, and even conducting home visits. Ms. Rodriguez also integrates community service to support the idea that a community that serves together learns together. A parent described Ms. Rodriguez’s impact beyond the classroom: “She teaches us survival—how to go from being less fortunate to being successful. She tells us her story.”