Mentor of the Month: Overseeing federal programs

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Elaine Martinez-Gonzalez

By Don Pace

Elaine Martinez-Gonzalez looks after the West Las Vegas school district’s programs that provide about $1 million for tutoring and additional instruction for kids and teachers.


“The little bit of extra attention and little bit of extra time you put in with students does help them. It helps them a lot,” Martinez-Gonzalez said. 

As the new federal programs coordinator at west-side schools, Martinez-Gonzalez is in charge of a variety of supplemental educational services that are in addition to instruction provided during the regular school day.

“The instruction is geared to help kids who are struggling in reading and math, and improve nationally mandated test scores. A lot our monies go to help support teachers that implement the programs in the schools,” Martinez-Gonzalez said.

Martinez-Gonzalez said her programs also go a long way in supporting teachers who are seeking highly qualified status in all the core subjects. She said the district is especially interested in teachers obtaining their bilingual endorsement.

Safe and Drug Free Schools is another focus. However, the federal grant for that ran out last year. Martinez-Gonzalez said there was enough carry-over money from last year to continue the drug-free schools program this year.

“Money is drying up everywhere. There will be no more money coming in for Title IV, which supports educating kids about the dangers of drugs or support after-school programs for elementary schools,” Martinez-Gonzalez said. 

Martinez-Gonzalez said the district has used money from the supplemental educational services program and other creative ways to keep programs that continue to provide tutorial services from vendors around the state.

Program specialist Franchesca Jenkins said, “State-approved vendors offer a number of tutoring options — some tutor one-to-one or in small groups. Other companies offer Internet instruction, and parents are able to choose those classes,” Jenkins said. “In the past, we’ve had about a dozen vendors, this year we had 28 vendors to choose from.”

Another free service to West students is a computer-based learning system.

“Students just need to take advantage of these programs. Kids are able to work on their own and at their own pace. A number of our teachers from our district are hired to work with these programs — it’s good to have our own teachers working because they know exactly what they need,” Martinez-Gonzalez said.

Martinez-Gonzalez likes working with kids; she oversaw the summer program at Armijo Elementary for many years.

“I’ve never been one of those people who is really been a behind-the-desk kind of person, but with our program that’s going on at the middle school, I get to see some of the students there. But for the most part, my job is to make sure Title I teachers in the schools have what they need in the way of supplies, curriculum, and to support parental involvement,” Martinez-Gonzalez said. 

West Las Vegas Superintendent Ruben Cordova said, “Elaine is an excellent resource to me as an administrator for the school district. She helps me in every way she possibly can. Her job goes far beyond mentoring and tutoring — for example, trying to help people who are in need. She’s a good person.”    

Martinez-Gonzalez was born in Springer, lived in the Mosquero and Roy area, and graduated from Highlands University. She has worked for the West district for a decade.

Martinez-Gonzalez is married to Robertson football coach Leroy Gonzalez. The couple have two sons, Jaymes and Ace.