This Is Home: Former student returns to Bishop Arts STEAM Academy to teach

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Vanessa Martinez is a bilingual teacher at Bishop Arts STEAM Academy, a traditional neighborhood school and a choice school where—with dedication and hard work—students flourish through personal and academic accomplishment. 

Martinez has been part of Dallas ISD for 21 years altogether as a student and employee. Born and raised in the Oak Cliff area, she attended Bishop Arts STEAM Academy, formerly John H. Reagan Elementary, then W.E Greiner Middle School, graduating from the School of Health Professions at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center.  

After earning a bachelor’s degree in science from Texas A&M University, she decided to go into teaching and pursue a master’s degree in bilingual education at the University of North Texas at Dallas. “I had always enjoyed playing teacher with my siblings during the summers,” said Martinez. “My parents, are dominantly Spanish-speaking, so I wanted to be a bilingual teacher to make sure I knew both languages well enough to help them out.” 

Upon completion of her studies, Martinez taught at Lenore Kirk Hall Personalized Learning Academy at Oak Cliff. One year later, she returned to her alma mater, Bishop Arts STEAM Academy, as a bilingual teacher.   

“All my teachers strived to push me to succeed, and the interest they had in my future inspired me to do the same for my students,” shared Martinez. “Coming back brought up great memories; it feels like I never left.” 

Bishop Arts STEAM Academy’s emphasis on the arts allows for expression of the community’s diversity, strengthening a sense of equality.

Dallas ISD has been home to Vanessa’s family for generations. Her siblings also attended John H. Reagan Elementary, and now the next generation—including some cousins—is attending Bishop Arts STEAM Academy.  

“Dallas ISD is my home because it is where I have always felt content and encouraged to go for my goals,” said Martinez. “Dallas ISD schools are very family-oriented. Working here feels like home.”  

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