Area teacher appointed to Board of Early Child Care and Learning

By Johnny Jackson

Magdalena "Maggy" Martinez of Hampton was recently appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue to the Board of Early Care and Learning. She represents the thirteenth congressional district.

Martinez, a former Spanish instructor at Clayton State University, currently teaches 10th graders at Mundy's Mill High School in Jonesboro, to whom she gives a hearty hello and kisses.

The 49 year old exemplifies ambition. She served as the District 40 State Representative in Puerto Rico and as the fund raising director for the American Lung Association of Puerto Rico. She earned a bachelor's degree in communication arts from the New York Institute of Technology, where she was elected vice president of the student union and earned Who's Who Among Students in Colleges and Universities honors. She moved back to Puerto Rico after graduating in 1980.

She was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, where as a young teenager she became politically involved, particularly in issues concerning education and women's rights. She was elected to Puerto Rico's congress in 1997 until 2000 and served as chairwoman of the women's rights committee.

Martinez married fellow educator Pedro Maldonado and lived for twenty years in Carolina, Puerto Rico. She and Maldonado have three children together, and she adamantly prides their accomplishments. And currently, she wants to earn her real estate license soon.

"I've been politically active all my life," Martinez said. "(Today) I would like to see that any child that goes to a child care center will be ready, once they leave their child care centers, to go into any school. That way, when they get into kindergarten, at least they will have a basic knowledge of what kindergarten what involve."

Martinez said reading and word recognition were major concerns she believed could be dealt with in pre-schools and daycare programs.

"The earlier they start, the better," she said. "Reading is so important. I'd like to see that earlier, if possible, in child care centers. We are using so many computers and things that deal with technology, but we're not emphasizing reading that much anymore."

Martinez described herself as a construction worker-perhaps an unintelligible joke she said, "I like to do construction. I like to decorate and read. I don't look at Soap Operas; I like things that make me think. I see a lot of news. I like to see documentaries, something I can learn from."

She plays chess these days and likes to bake cakes and create sugar flowers-pastillage, she called it, where she creates lifelike roses meshing together and sculpting gum paste, sugar, lard and eggwhite together.

She said she plans to visit the Day Cares throughout her 13th congressional district.

"I'm glad to hear from the parents with concerns," she said. "I like to keep the open door policy."