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About Our New Assistant Principal, Mr. Martinez

The administration and staff at John A. Ferguson have witnessed a significant shift in the past few years, as many have assumed the roles of familiar individuals in the school that has since left. 

Even with these said changes taking place, the school seems to be in good hands with the influx of fresh faces. 

Little Havana native, former English teacher, and Assistant Principal at Riviera Middle School, Mr. Lazaro Martinez, is a prime example of this – fully embracing the Falcon family only a few months into his tenure as AP at Ferguson.

“Ferguson is extremely successful, so my {plan of action} is to come in, put in the work, and contribute in any which way that I can, but more than anything just learn,” stated Martinez.

Similar to Mrs. Wendy Barnett and Coach Larry McFarley, most of Mr. Martinez’s experience stems predominantly from middle school education. After graduating from Miami Dade College, he commenced his teaching career by working at charter schools. This included one year in Doral Academy and even assisting in the opening of Sommerset Academy in Silver Palms. His eventual transfer into the public school system prior to Ferguson was only seen in Riviera. 

The most glaring difference between Mr. Martinez’s previous workplaces and Ferguson’s is the sheer population size. However, he has assumed a mantle that may seem overwhelming very well due to the rapid chemistry he has developed with his peers. 

“What has helped the transition is that everyone has been great. I have worked very closely with Mr. Mcfarley. We have a lot in common and we bounce ideas off each other all the time,” stated Martinez. 

Our new AP and Mrs. Barnett even knew each other from their time as middle school administrators, only having high praise for her. 

“I knew {Mrs. Barnett} from her time in W.R Thomas, and I only heard great things about her. When she was appointed here, they knew what they were doing,” Martinez shared. 

He has also received mentorship from his predecessor, longstanding AP Mr. Ideal Garcia – heavily crediting his early development in the role to the ample communication that he has maintained with the decade-long Falcon, whether it is for advice or everyday challenges.

“I oversee security in the school. Mr. Garcia used to be here in the world that I am in now. I actually speak to him a lot to get help with anything around the school. For example, the elevator broke. I don’t know who the contact is, and he shares it with me. What {the staff} does not do because they haven’t had that ‘me two’ I just reach out to Mr. Garcia, and he helps me do my job. “ 

One of Mr. Martinez’s persistent passions throughout his life has been sports, which has inclined him to translate that love into the athletic programs at his schools.

Martinez, who has a martial arts background, became the wrestling coach at Riviera, and expressed that one of the most valuable steps to a team’s development is building connections.

“I noticed that with wrestling programs, you build {athletes} up from middle school, if possible, even elementary. We send some of our guys over there and we work up kids through 6th, 7th, and 8th because by then the time they are here in 9th grade they are ready, and that is the way to build up our teams and achieve more success, stated Martinez.”

Already showing investment in the wrestling team, already associating with coaches Rob and Cabal, and discussing their goals for the future of the squad. 

“We have got some really good coaches here. We have got to really foster relationships with middle schools here and build up the wrestling program,” he elaborated. 

Not many could have handled the position of new AP of the largest school in Miami Dade County currently undergoing a transition period as seamlessly as Mr. Martinez has. He has accepted the role with grace and only intends to expand the success and legacy of Ferguson while also being an everyday helping hand. 

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