Dr. Martinez is the Executive Director of the NCCHC Leadership Fellows Program, hosted at the University of San Diego and serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of San Diego and University of Florida.
He retired after a 41-year career, capped by service as the eighth Superintendent/President of Rio Hondo College in Whittier, CA. He also served in teaching and administrative positions in Texas, Chicago and San Diego. He has served as a member of the AACC Board of Directors, was twice elected as president of the National Community College Hispanic Council (NCCHC), and is a champion of preparing Hispanic leaders for public service.
A Texas native, Dr. Martinez has dedicated himself to education, and been a strong role model for Latinos in academia. In a family of seven children, he was the eldest male child. When he was 14, he and his family joined the migrant farm worker stream, but because his parents were determined that he receive an education they did not go north to the fields until school was out in June and were back for the start of school in September. His parents’ commitment to education paid off, and all of their children completed high school.
Dr. Martinez earned both master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Business and Economics from Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas, and went on to receive a PhD degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Dr. Martinez has worked throughout his career to ensure that all students have access to quality higher education. In his capacity as Superintendent/President of Rio Hondo College he achieved fiscal stability while enabling student success, high-level learning outcomes, and the completion of the $245 million building program. His leadership provided a new platform for Rio Hondo College to leverage its resources in collaboration with community and business partners.
He began his community college career teaching occupational education classes at Western Texas College. His community college experience includes the presidency of Richard J. Daley College in Chicago, and Associate Vice Chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago. Dr. Martinez also served as president of Grossmont College (east San Diego County). He was elected president of the San Gabriel/Foothill Association of Community Colleges (SANFACC), a regional consortium of six community colleges, and was also appointed to the Los Angeles County Workforce Investment Board.
Nationally, Martinez has been an effective force in building the NCCHC Leadership Fellows Program to prepare mid management personnel as future community college leaders at the executive level. He has also served as a board member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities; and as president of the National Council for Occupational Education; and he served as co-chair of the United States Department of Agriculture HACU Leadership Group. He is currently a board member of the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education.
His commitment to excellence in education has been recognized by several honors including the 2016 Alfredo G. de los Santos, Jr., Distinguished Leadership in Higher Education Award; 2014 NCCHC Outstanding Latino CEO Leadership Award, the Outstanding President Award from the California Community College Council for Staff Development, the District 6 Pacesetter of the Year Award from the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations, and the Phi Theta Kappa Alumni Key Award from the international honorary society for students in two-year colleges.