Cartwright district hires Hispanic schools chief
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 2, 2004
Betty Reid

Michael Martinez will be the Cartwright School District's superintendent in July.

Members of the Cartwright District governing board announced the hiring last week. School Board leaders approved a three-year contract with Martinez, who has a $150,000 salary, not counting benefits.

Cartwright enrolls 20,000 students at 22 campuses in West Phoenix. A majority of the students are Hispanic.

Martinez is the superintendent of Globe Unified School District, where he oversees the education of 2,200 students in a K-12 district. The 54-year-old educator, who spent a decade at Globe, has a $92,000 salary.

"I'm ecstatic, and it's going to be a challenge," Martinez said. "Phoenix and Globe have been places I've always returned to."

The educator-turned-administrator is no stranger to the Valley's education landscape. Martinez, who has a home in Ahwatukee, started his career as a teacher in the Isaac Elementary School District, where he also served as assistant principal and later, in 1986, transferred to the Roosevelt Elementary School District.

At Roosevelt, he was the director of personnel services and assistant superintendent for personnel and human resources for four years.

Garry York, Cartwright governing board president, said he is impressed with Martinez.

"He understands that all staff members play an important role in the education of students, and will work well with all facets of our community," York said.

Student demographics at many Phoenix schools, such as Cartwright, have changed since the early 1990s, with many more Latinos now enrolled.

Martinez, when he comes on board, will be Cartwright's first Hispanic superintendent, said governing board member Steve Gallardo. He, personally, wanted a school chief who could relate to the predominant Hispanic student population.

One concern is that many families are moving into the Cartwright community and are first-generation immigrants, he said.

"There is a language barrier because our parents speak Spanish and Martinez is able to understand where these kids come from," Gallardo said. "One of the first, biggest shockers, when I first was elected to the board, was how many students had not seen a dentist, they were coming to school with cavities and not being able to learn."

Martinez is single and has two children.

Reach the reporter at or (602) 444-8049.

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