Rio Hondo Community College

Rio Hondo College is committed to the success of its diverse students and communities by providing dynamic educational opportunities and resources that lead to degrees, certificates, transfer, career and technical pathways, basic skills proficiency, and lifelong learning.

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Learn more about the Rio Hondo College Team

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Lea Martinez

M. Lea Martinez, Int. Project Manager, Teacher Preparation & Pathways Program, Rio Hondo College

Maria Lea Martinez is the Int. Project Manager for the Community Partnerships for Teacher Pipeline at Rio Hondo College. She has managed several grants related to teacher preparation and led the Los Angeles Strong Workforce regional project to establish the Teach Los Angeles Regional Collaborative and Teach for LA virtual workshop series from 2016-2020. Currently, she serves as one of the Board of Directors of The Association of California Community Colleges Teacher Education Programs (ACCCTEP).

She has piloted a successful mentoring program at Rio Hondo College for almost 11 years, enhanced and expanded by implementing the CPTP program.

Why are you excited to build this pipeline?

Rio Hondo is ecstatic to be a part of the Community Partnerships for Teacher Pipeline, which will only expand and enhance STEM-CTE Teach's flagship mentoring program of eleven years at Rio Hondo College. This program means even better opportunities for our students interested in exploring and pursuing a teaching career. I am also excited about involving our local Pre-K12 districts to build a grow-your-own model teacher pipeline and partnering with our 4-year universities to strengthen and ease the transfer process for our future teachers. This project will help connect our aspiring teachers to our local communities, resources, and wrap-around student support that will help reduce barriers and challenges toward their journey to becoming well-qualified teachers.

What is your personal "why" for this work?

CPTP's mission on building a community-based teacher pipeline focused on social justice, equity, and diversifying the teacher workforce is essential to alleviate the teacher shortage and meet the needs of our future teachers and communities.

I have a passion for alleviating the teacher profession. Teachers are essential and have an impactful role in our society and the lives of our students. I am personally excited to increase the number of students in our mentoring program, recruit mentors at the community college and our local Pre-K12 districts. I believe in the Grow-Your-Own-Teacher model rooted in increasing educators of color that represent the makeup of our communities. Recruiting mentors from our local community has been a dream of mine. This program will give our aspiring teachers the much-needed support they need and build connections to their communities, creating a pathway from the community to the classroom

Lastly, I firmly believe in the vital role that community colleges play in preparing and diversifying the teacher pipeline, especially if you consider data that shows 60% of our teachers started from a community college. This project features three community colleges that have been highly involved in teacher preparation in the Los Angeles region. I am excited to work with the Center for Collaborative Education (CCE) and my colleagues from Cerritos College and El Camino College. We all share the same vision and are passionate about the importance of increasing the teacher pipeline and diversifying the education workforce.

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Alia Medrano

Alia Medrano, Success Coach, Rio Hondo College

Why are you excited to build this pipeline? Why do you feel it’s important?

I am excited about the pipeline and this mentoring program. As someone who went to a community college system, I know there can be bumps along the way to our career pathway. I participated in a similar mentorship program at Long Beach College; I can relate to the students who are a part of the CTPT program. This program is a way to encourage more students to go into teaching.

What is your personal “why” for this work? Why do you do the work that you do?

This work is personal for me because we need more people to go into teaching who are passionate and caring about their future students and want to make a difference in people's lives. I want students to get the inside scope of what it feels like to teach future generations. My job is to support students in the Teacher Prep program to succeed in the CPTP program, especially for the students who need extra guidance and support. I want the students to reach out to me for encouragement when their motivation is low and to connect with me to develop a trusting relationship.

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Breanna Reyes

Breanna Reyes, Success Coach, Rio Hondo College

Why are you excited to build this pipeline? Why do you feel it’s important?

This pipeline is fairly new to me. I have been given the privilege of seeing how it works from both perspectives, the participant’s point of view as well as a team member’s point of view. Initially, I started solely as a participant in the CPTP program. I was mainly excited because I knew that this would give me more exposure to the education field, specifically in-class experience, which is extremely worthy. This program has given me many valuable experiences, and I feel thrilled that other students interested in a teaching career will be able to experience the same things.

The CPTP program offers an array of partnerships with many great local schools and is a great way for aspiring teachers to get in-person experiences. As a team member, I am most looking forward to the opportunities that other participants will have in their teaching journey as they continue with the program.

What is your personal “why” for this work? Why do you do the work that you do?

The community partnerships for teacher pipeline is a program designed to bring more people of color to the education field. It is important that students are exposed to a diverse teacher workforce. Young students especially, look for themselves in others, incorporating more teachers of color will inspire more students of color to follow this career path. This pipeline already has encouraged many mentors and mentees of color to initiate diversifying the education field. Personally, as a part of the program, I have been provided with an abundance of resources and amazing support. I came into college feeling very uneasy about what I would have to do next to fulfill my career goals. After joining the program there was this sense of assurance and stability that I hope everyone can experience. CPTP has helped prepare me for my goal of becoming a teacher, and my goal is that it helps anyone else interested in the career as well.

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Emily Ramazinni

Emily Ramazinni, Counselor, Rio Hondo College