Fr. TJ Martinez, SJ

Father TJ Martinez, SJ

Founding President

1970 - 2014

 
Photos
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Memorial Gifts

Gifts in memory of the Life of Father TJ Martinez, SJ may be made to Cristo Rey Jesuit.

Checks may be made out to Cristo Rey Jesuit

Cristo Rey Jesuit
6700 Mount Carmel St.
Houston, TX 77087


Online Donation


If you wish to speak to someone about a donation in memory of Father Martinez, please contact Bee Dickson at bdickson@cristoreyjesuit.org or by calling 281-501-1298

Biography

Raised in Brownsville, Texas, Father Martinez entered the Jesuit seminary after receiving a bachelor’s degree in political science with honors from Boston College. During his training for the Jesuit priesthood he earned five graduate degrees including a law degree from the University of Texas and a school leadership degree from Harvard University. While at Harvard, Father Martinez was honored with the 2008 Harvard Intellectual Contribution & Faculty Tribute Award and was selected to deliver the Harvard Graduate School of Education Student Commencement address. Twenty-four hours after receiving his diploma, he returned to Texas to found the newest Jesuit high school in the country – Cristo Rey Jesuit College Prep – an innovative, game-changing high school that combines a rigorous college prep program with a salaried job that exclusively serves children living at or below the poverty line. In six short years, Father Martinez and his leadership team have grown the student population from 80 to nearly 500; added 150 blue-ribbon corporations so that every student has a job; have purchased a nine acre embattled facility and renovated it into an architectural award-winning 21st century educational institution; and have raised over $22 million to fund the operating and capital projects of the school, including a new 10,000 square foot Center for Mission and Ministry that houses a conference center, guest rooms and the new school chapel. In June of 2013, Father Martinez graduated his first class of graduates, all of who were accepted into college.

In 2010, Father Martinez was knighted into the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher, a Papal Knighthood that recognizes outstanding service to the Church in founding the only Catholic high school in the state of Texas that exclusively serves underprivileged children. The Jesuit Volunteer Corps USA presented Father Martinez with the national Standard of Christ Award in 2011 for his service in providing a private college prep education to underserved children. Houston magazine Paper City named Father Martinez one of the four “New Influencers” in the city in 2012 for his citywide advocacy of greater opportunities for higher quality education for all children. In 2013, the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Houston awarded Father Martinez the prestigious Outstanding Contribution to Education Award for his founding work in launching a new model of education in the city. In 2014, Notre Dame University bestowed on Father Martinez the Father Theodore Sorin Award for Service to Catholic Schools, the highest award the university offers for Catholic high school leadership. And later that year, Boston College awarded Father Martinez the Alumni Ignatian Award which recognizes an alum who lives the mission of “men and women for others” to an exemplary degree. In 2014, Mayor Anise Parker officially proclaimed May 30th as Father TJ Martinez, SJ, Day in the City of Houston. Father Martinez served on the Board at the Kinder Institute of Urban Research at Rice University, the Holocaust Museum Houston, and was a Senior Fellow in the American Leadership Forum.

Cristo Rey Jesuit