Transformative Educator is a Leader in Dual Language Higher Education

Bárbara Martínez-Griego

In first grade, Bárbara Martínez-Griego received Ds and Fs on her report card while in other areas, such as effort, courtesy, and conduct, she always got A’s.

“The only comment made -every grading period- was, “Needs to speak more English at home,” always written in red ink.”

While she may not have known it in first grade, Bárbara Martínez-Griego’s path was beginning to take shape. Her passion for education never ended, as she set out to make a difference in the lives of the children in her community. Eventually she would find herself at the institution that did not use letter grades at all- Goddard College.

Bárbara graduated from Goddard’s Seattle Education Program in 2007. With the help of her Goddard advisors, Bárbara set out to focus on coaching, mentoring, and accountability as a part of the Soy Bilingüe Adult Dual Language Model.

A passion for improving the lives of her students was driving Bárbara. She documented the power of bicultural voice. With strength and patience, she supported the transformation of an early childhood agency from an ineffective English-only approach into a high-quality dual language program. Having discovered the overall improvement for the predominately Latino children, she also witnessed a significant transformation for the teachers, support staff, and administration.

For Bárbara Martínez-Griego, her “Goddard moment” had arrived.

“Goddard truly prepared me to work with my students toward the creation of a more just and humane world,”

In her role as Early Childhood Education department chair at Skagit Valley College in Washington State, Bárbara is putting her Goddard studies to work everyday.  Pulling from her vast experience as an elementary teacher, preschool and head start teacher, Ms. Martínez-Griego’s leadership provides implementation and support for the dual language approach. Using all the knowledge and experience as an ECE program administrator, childcare licensor, action researcher, and college instructor, Bárbara’s passion for education knows no boundaries.

Other learners have benefited from Bárbara’s 15 years of experience in community-partnerships and higher education. She has traveled to China to share her experiences and provide coursework on dual language approaches to early childhood education.  Recently, she spent a year in her home of Las Cruces, New Mexico, sharing with children, families, and educators. Giving back to the place and people that nurtured her personal and professional development, Bárbara’s work has come full circle.

True to her collaborative and community-serving nature, when Bárbara was accepted into the doctoral program at New Mexico State University, she immediately began building bridges, making connections, and looking for ways to help others. Bárbara has supported over five cohorts of dual language early childhood educators through their AA or AAS degrees at Skagit Valley College; an impressive accomplishment not often occurring in colleges in Washington State. Her graduates, many of which are bilingual, trilingual, and speakers of indigenous languages from their home communities, have gone on to leadership roles in the early childhood programs in the area.

Her work has also focussed on childcare providers for Latina home-based educators and in First Nations communities.

Now she hopes to encourage members of these learning communities to continue their studies into graduate work, including at the doctoral level. She has begun discussions on working with cultural democracy, indigenous languages, and dual language and trilingual ECE approaches at the doctoral level.

“Goddard’s emphasis on reflective practice, individual identity, and culture inspires the work I do, which is aimed at improving the lives of children and their families. Before finding Goddard, I had spent over 30 years looking for the perfect program to work on my master’s degree—the wait was well worth it. I see the world in such a different way.”

Goddard College’s faculty is comprised of national and international scholar practitioners with extensive experience supporting students taking charge of their learning. We offer BA and MA degrees to those who are interested in seeking study dual language early childhood education or higher education. To find out more, inquire about Goddard College today!

Adapted from a blog by Sharon Cronin, EDU Faculty & Seattle Academic Site Coordinator

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