Martinez-White to be recognized as leader in Hispanic education
Susy Martinez-White, director of Early Childhood certificate programs at Palm Beach State College, has been tapped by the Hispanic Education Coalition of Palm Beach County to receive a Hispanic Leadership Award. The award recognizes individuals who are making a positive impact in the education and success of Hispanic students in the county.
This is the second year for the Hispanic Leadership Awards, which will be presented Sept. 23 at a luncheon at the Harriett Himmel Theater in downtown West Palm Beach. Martinez-White is one of 24 who will be honored in the categories of Educational Leadership (Martinez-White), Public Service, Community Education, Community Leadership and International Partnership.
A first-generation Cuban-American, Martinez-White grew up in Palm Beach County and is passionate about her work and community.
“For the past 10 years of my career, I’ve focused on helping Hispanic students and the Hispanic community,” says Martinez-White. “I feel it’s my role, not only being Hispanic myself, but to try to help those who are maybe in a similar situation that my family was in when they first immigrated to this country. It’s my way to give back, to help students move forward and provide opportunities. I think if more people really became stakeholders of the place they live, we’d have a much better world.”
Martinez-White has a track record of accomplishments in educational leadership at Palm Beach State, where she’s worked since 1998, and in the community. At PBSC, she has led many initiatives and won grants to support first-generation and multicultural students, including co-chairing the effort to achieve Hispanic Serving Institution status for the College and eligibility for Title V funds. Her work has garnered a BRAVO Award, PBSC’s highest honor for employee excellence. In the community, Martinez-White chaired the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Triunfo Scholarships committee for several years and now serves as secretary on the HEC board. In addition, she volunteers for the Association of American Colleges and Universities, Excelencia in Education, and the Hispanic Human Resource Council, among other organizations.
An alumna of PBSC (A.A.), Florida State University (bachelor’s), and Nova Southeastern University (master’s), she also is a graduate of the Leadership Fellows Program of the National Community College Hispanic Council. “Education was always pushed in our house,” says Martinez-White. “It was understood that you are going to school, you are going to get a degree, and you are going to make something of yourself.”
The nonprofit Hispanic Education Coalition works to “improve educational equity for Hispanic and other students who are currently underachieving in the district’s schools,” according to the organization’s website. HEC also focuses on employment equity for Hispanic education professionals, community outreach, and increasing cultural awareness through the K-12 curriculum.
“We are creating the future generation of leaders, and we need to provide a firm ground for Hispanic children to thrive in a community where they have the access to quality education,” says Joaquin Garcia, M.D., HEC co-founder and board chairman. “Susy is an amazing professional woman and has been instrumental in the development of the education of lots and lots of Hispanic children. She is a woman of tremendous value for the College and for our community.”