#LatinosTeach, Recognizing Ana Martinez


Ana Martinez has dedicated her career to closing the achievement gap of our country. Born in El Salvador and raised in the United States, as a product of the achievement gap herself, Ana believes that educational equity is the key to success in today’s global economy. Ana is the Founding Principal of Rowe Elementary School, a Tier 1+ public charter school in Chicago aimed at ensuring that all scholars are set up for colleges, careers, and citizenship. Rowe Elementary School opened its doors in 2009 and since then Ana has been the primary architect of the school’s design and growth ensuring it is on track to serving over a thousand scholars in kindergarten through eighth grade and across two school facilities.

Ana served Teach For America in California and Florida in various roles, including Placement Director, Director of Talent Recruitment, and Program Director before she was recruited by the Northwestern University Settlement Association and Bain & Company to lead Rowe Elementary. Her deep passion stems from her earlier years in Los Angeles Unified School District where she went to school and ultimately served as a second and third grade teacher.

Ana received her Bachelors of Science degrees in Political Science and Public Policy from the University of California, Los Angles, then joined the Los Angeles Corps of Teach For America. She holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Loyola Marymount University.

Ana has been recognized for her accomplishments by the Northwestern Settlement Board who awarded her the Chairman’s Award in 2009, by Teach For America in 2011 for the Distinguished Alumni Award, and by the Kellogg School of Management for her coursework in Executive Leadership. She is currently an America Achieves Lead Fellow and a Surge Fellow. Her work has been featured on CNN en Español and through the publication of an Op-Ed. Ana lives and works in Chicago and is a proud mother of two daughters.

Why do you teach?

Working with families and students in underserved communities is integral to my existence. I am passionate about ensuring that all students, regardless of background, have an opportunity to obtain a free high quality public education and I intend on dedicating my career to this work. As a teacher, I taught at 122nd Street School in South Central within Los Angeles Unified School District and I currently lead a high-performing public charter school in Chicago – in both of these experiences I have been motivated to change the lives of scholars and families to ensure they – too – have an opportunity to change the trajectory of their lives.

What do you love about teaching?

The opportunity to make a difference and truly change a life. While this is great power, it does come with great responsibility. Families entrust their children to me and my work and I am incredibly humbled by that.

When you were a student, was there a great teacher who inspired you?

Mr. Fitz and Ms. Silverman were the two most influential teachers in my life. Mr. Fitz helped me navigate the road to college and pushed me to believe that I could and I should pursue higher education. Ms. Silverman fostered courage and strength in me by creating a safe space for me to survive child abuse.