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James A. Martinez

James A. Martinez

Assistant Professor; Acting Director, Center for Educational Leadership


James Martinez's 25+ years of instructional and leadership experiences include roles in K-12 schools and higher education. He currently serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and Acting Director of the Center for Educational Leadership at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

After six years as an engineer working on the Space Shuttle, Martinez changed careers and became a classroom teacher and coach for seventeen years in public, private, parochial and boarding school environments. He then served as a school administrator in both elementary and secondary public schools in Southern California between 2007 and 2012, at which time he began his service in higher education.

Martinez currently is focused on substantively preparing future school leaders, performing important service on campus, at the national level and in his local community, and advancing research related to levels of support and self-efficacy among school administrators. Along with doctoral candidate Jeana Partin, Martinez recently published "Character Education Initiatives and Preparation for School Administrators: A Review of Literature" (2023) in the Journal of Leadership, Equity, and Research (JLER).

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 has been nominated for the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, both in 2019 and 2020.

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Google Scholar

Education Research & Opportunity Center (ERO)



Research Agenda: 

Motivated by the importance for school administrators to support their teachers and attend to their own professional and personal needs, my scholarship agenda focuses on: (a) school administrative practices that affect the retention of teachers, and (b) factors that affect school principal feelings of professional efficacy, including during times of large-scale change.

Professional Service

Courses Taught at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville: 

EDAM 592: Field Problems in Educational Research 

EDAM 519: Instructional Leadership (for School Administrators)

ELPS 695: History and Philosophy of Education 

EDAM 588: Best Practices for School Leaders - Special Populations 

EDAM 523: Administration of Special Services 

EDAM 552: Educational Change 

EDAM 513: Administrative and Organizational Theory 

EDAM 578: Organizational Leadership



Recent Publications: 

Character Education Initiatives and Preparation for School Administrators: A Review of Literature (Journal of Leadership, Equity, and Research, 2023)
James A. Martinez

Contact Information

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