Debra Martinez is the Founder and Director of the Whole Life Learning Center’s Early Childhood Program. She has supported the evolving mission and vision of WLLC since 2015 and has collaborated with the team to bring it into its current form. Debra has a background in Montessori Education, cultural studies, community service, wellness, art and design. She brings integrity, creativity, and care to the community.
Debra earned a BA in Liberal Arts from Columbia College of Chicago in 2000. In 2012, Debra graduated with an American Montessori Society (AMS) Early Childhood Credential from the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in Evanston, IL. Debra’s husband is also a Montessori educator and works with elementary students. They have two children: a high schooler who loves cooking and skateboarding, and a twenty-year old who is passionate about music, art, and social justice.
In 2006, Debra got her start as an educator in the Rio Grande Valley on the Texas-Mexico border. She volunteered at a local community center, teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) to Spanish-speaking adults. When her first child began attending school, Debra transitioned to teaching in a school setting. For fifteen years, she has worked with children from preschool age to eighth grade.
As a holistic educator, Debra designs curriculum, lesson plans, and hands-on materials that integrate all areas of learning while meeting the emergent interests and developmental needs of students. She also cultivates natural learning environments and enjoys weaving sustainability and the art of creative reuse into her work. In order to work towards maintaining a safe and just community for all, she continues to grow personally and professionally through her commitment to Anti-Bias and Anti-Racist Education (ABAR).
Debra is honored to step into the role of School Director this year and is dedicated to sustaining a culture of inspiration and opportunity for each member of the community. She aspires to uphold the integrity of the school while welcoming in collective growth for WLLC.