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James A. Martinez

James A. Martinez

Assistant Professor; Assistant Director, Center for Educational Leadership


Dr. Martinez's 20+ years of instructional and leadership experiences include roles in public, private, parochial, and boarding school environments. He currently serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and the Assistant Director of the Center for Educational Leadership at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

His career background includes a stint as a mechanical engineer, after which time he served for seventeen years as a classroom teacher, teaching classes in kindergarten through 12th grade. Between 2007-2012, he served as a school administrator in both elementary and secondary schools in the Southern California area and as a member/chair on school accreditation visiting committees for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) between 2008-2016. Dr. Martinez has substantive experience in mixed-method research related to interventions for school administrators and teachers to increase student success.

Dr. Martinez completed his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 1988, his master's degree in Educational Leadership from California State University, Channel Islands in 2009 and his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from California Lutheran University in 2015. While serving as a principal, Dr. Martinez and his teachers were awarded the 2012 California School Board Association (CSBA) Golden Bell Award for Community Partnerships, He received a nomination for the Maximus Award for Teaching and Student Support in 2016, and the Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award in both 2018 and 2020.

Dr. Martinez serves on the Equity, Inclusion, and Action (EIA) Committee for the American Educational Research Association (AERA). A six-time national rowing champion, Martinez was a member of the U.S. National/Olympic Rowing Teams between 1993-1998. Martinez and his wife, Elizabeth, along with their two adult children enjoy hiking, bicycling, and attending local theater performances.

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James A. Martinez

Contact Information

  • 1122 Volunteer Boulevard, 315 Bailey Education Complex, Knoxville, TN 37996-3430
  • Phone: 865.974.6161
  • E-mail:
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