Victoria D. de Sanchez Northern Virginia Annual Teacher of the Year Award 2004


Francisco Cordero-Martinez

Costa-Rican born Francisco Cordero-Martinez earned his B.A. from Queens College, New York in 1974
and his M.A. from California State University in 1982. As an ESL teacher, he measures success from his student’s point of view. “The simple spontaneous idea of a seven-year-old is as important, and equally as valid as the complex thought-out answer of a teenager. The warm short-story of an ESL parent can be a learning experience on many levels.”

Language teaching has been his major focus in his teaching career and he incorporates the principles of open-society of Paolo Freire. By integrating classroom learning with everyday situations, Francisco works to make language exciting and appealing on many levels. As the director of the English Language Institute at Gallaudet University, he made sure that all the international students achieved a working command of English, while also learning practical strategies for life. This combination of skill sets enabled students not only to gain admission to universities, but to succeed and graduate – “”an impressive number of my former students have earned BA and MA degrees.”

Teaching in elementary schools, Francisco’s worked to get both students and their families involved, especially in the process of learning language. Parents came to school workshops and tutorials. In addition to English, they also learned about their new culture, host country, and especially their new school system. “Many times I have seen a new literacy and life skill set create new opportunities for whole families.”

Teaching philosophy

  • I am always as proud of my students as individuals as their individual accomplishments.
  • Get parents actively involved in the process of learning.
  • Language opens the door to participating in a democratic society.


  • Fulbright Teacher Exchange, Uruguay June, 2005
  • Hispanic Teacher of the Year Award May, 2004
  • Fulbright-Hays Scholar, Thailand and Lao June, 2003
  • PTA, certificate of recognition September, 2003
  • George Mason University, Latino Student
  • Association Certificate of Recognition May, 2000
  • Gallaudet University, Certificate of Recognition April, 1998