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James A. Martinez

James A. Martinez

Assistant Professor


James 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, a Division of the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. After working for six years for Rockwell International as a systems engineer on the Space Shuttle Main Engines, Martinez changed careers and became a classroom teacher for seventeen years. He was fortunate to teach at all levels during these years, from kindergarten to 12th grade. Between 2007-2012, he served as a school administrator in both elementary and secondary schools in the Southern California area. 

Over the past 8 years, he has served as member (currently chair) on school accreditation visiting committees for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). In addition, from 2008-2016 Martinez taught the Introduction to Engineering course for Johns Hopkins University's Engineering Innovation Program.

With regard to higher education, Martinez has substantive experience in developing quantitative and qualitative research design methods for data collection and devising/implementing interventions for early career teachers/administrators to increase student success in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). He is the National Co-Leader of the Secondary Teacher Retention in Diverse Educational Settings (STRIDES) Research Action Cluster, leading a collaborative team of teacher education, mathematics faculty and school district partners to increase retention of math teachers across the United States.

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. Martinez and his teachers were awarded the 2012 California School Board Association (CSBA) Golden Bell Award for Community Partnerships and he was most recently nominated for the Maximus Award for Teaching and Student Support in 2016. A six-time national champion and winner of numerous international competitions, 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, Sierra and Rio, enjoy outdoor adventures and local theater performances.

James A. Martinez

Contact Information

  • 1122 Volunteer Boulevard, 315 Bailey Education Complex, Knoxville, TN 37996-3430
  • Phone: 865-974-6161
  • E-mail: