Paolo MartinLiteracy Specialist
Eighteen years ago I was a molecular geneticist, but after scratching a profound itch to get outside of the lab and get to know my community, I joined AmeriCorps, where I taught reading in South Central LA. After two years of service, I realized that itch wasn’t going away, and I went on to study with Rick McCallum in the Advanced Reading and Language Leadership Program at UC Berkeley. It was through Rick that I connected with Let’s Go Learn over 12 years ago; we used to meet every Tuesday night for a year with Richard Capone and a think-tank of other great minds and entrepreneurs to imagine what we could do with technology to offer the best practices of educators through the Internet. In addition to post-graduate educational researcher, I've taken on a number of roles as a reading specialist: running reading intervention programs, conducting professional development workshops, teaching reading methodology courses, and evaluating teacher development grant proposals for the California Postsecondary Education Commission.
During my time as a reading specialist, my research interests in education have focused on how children come to understand and negotiate the world in relation to other people’s ways of understandings. My belief is that when children feel confidence in their own intellectual identities and a have an interest in listening to others’ thoughts (with flexibility in their own sense-making), they are positioned to become productive, caring, happy individuals. I recently realized that my interest in literacy instruction, children’s sense-making, and technology has become less of a detour and more of a destination. So I've started to formally investigate those ideas as a Ph.D. student in Learning Sciences and Technology Design (LSTD) at Stanford University.
When I’m not busy with Let’s Go Learn or Stanford, I keep busy with a few hobbies. One is riding my bike. Going in circles around the block on my banana-seat Huffy can be fun, but you’ll also find me in the hills of Marin and Sonoma County, along the beach or river trails of SoCal, or dodging traffic up 11th Avenue to ride over the Hudson in NYC, eventually making my way to the NJ countryside. I’ve become quite fascinated by the intersection of science & culinary arts and enjoy exploring my expanding palate. My friends and I often experiment with distilling wine into grappa, sous-viding all kinds of meats, yet dabbling in vegan, gluten-free dished inspired by Sri Lanka or Puerto Rico. I’m also a violinist, having played in a Cuban salsa band for years. If you look hard enough, you might catch me over the holidays playing violin duet music in Noe Valley and at the BART station.