Janni Martinez is one of the many passionate and dedicated school psychologists in the Baldwin Park Unified School District. Martinez serves as a school psychologist at Olive Middle School and Sierra Vista High School, but she also has experience with the preschool level where her 27 year long career at BPUSD began. “I’ve had an incredible experience, I’ve done every type of assignment level there is, and what is really cool is I’ve had the opportunity to see children I’ve met at age three later graduate. The families remember me, and it's a super rewarding situation,” said Martinez.
Janni Martinez is originally from Illinois, where she completed her undergraduate at Southern Illinois University earning her Bachelor's in Psychology. Shortly after, she attended Illinois State University and received her Master's in School Psychology. After college, she accepted her first school psychology job with the Baldwin Park Unified School District, which has been her home ever since. “I didn't even know school psychology was a field until I got to college, but I knew I wanted to work with children, and I saw that there was a branch of school psychology for grad school. It just fit, and I can’t imagine doing anything else,” explained Martinez.
A standout moment that she recalls in her career was studying and integrating mindfulness practices, especially in today’s society where there is a greater lens on mental health. Her role as a school psychologist has many facets, some including identifying students with disabilities, getting students special education assistance and programs, working with students mental health, and being a resource for services. “...the mental health awareness movement is really important, especially post COVID, as it has been difficult,” said Martinez.
Being 27 years in, Martinez shares that she is content with her career, and proud of her long standing relationships. She credits the warmth of the community, the support of her colleagues, and connection with school families as the primary factors for being deeply rooted in BPUSD. “I'd like to thank my former colleague Dr. Susan Coats, who is now retired, for being an incredible mentor and friend. I am especially appreciative of the support I've had from our previous director of Special Education, Christine Arkadie, our current Director Sarah Ammon, and our assistant director Lori Andrews. I'd also like to thank my current site administrators, Vince Pratt and Pamela Cruz for supporting all of our efforts to improve mental health and student well-being on campus,” expressed Martinez.
Janni Martinez lives with her husband and enjoys camping, visiting the outdoors, and spending time with her dog. She shares her wellness tip of “experiencing awe and practicing gratitude.” “The experience you have when you observe something in nature, something breathtaking, and taking time to notice what's in your environment, helps you live in the moment. These types of activities change your brain chemistry and give you more wellbeing,” said Martinez.
BPUSD_Janni Martinez: Janni Martinez poses with Olive Middle School 7th and 8th grade students in celebration of Mental Health Awareness month in 2019.