MOHAVE COUNTY – When Susanlee Martino was in the 6th grade she knew she wanted to be a teacher.
Today, after four decades as a dedicated educator, she is the Mohave Community College Ellen Licari Service to Students Award Winner for 2021. The award recognizes faculty and staff members who put students first. It will be presented to Martino during the 2021 MCC Commencement Ceremonies on May 14 at the Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse.
“I was surprised and I felt blessed at this point in my life to be honored like this,” Martino said about being told she was chosen as the 2021 Licari award recipient. “I love working with students, and to receive this award for doing what I love is just so wonderful.”
Martino was born along the U.S.-Mexico border in the small town of Calexico, CA, and grew up in the San Diego area. She attended community college, along with San Diego State University and Sacramento State University.
She is fluent in Spanish, and one of her Master’s degrees is in Spanish. She also has a Master’s degree in Counseling.
She taught at community colleges and the K-12 system in southern California for many years, and after she retired she traveled the country and decided to stay in the Bullhead City-Laughlin area, where her desire to teach kicked in again.
“I started teaching in Needles during the day and then classes here at MCC at night,” said Martino, who now teaches Spanish and Psychology classes at the college, as well as college dual enrollment classes for high school students at Mohave Accelerated Learning Center. “When you see a student, the lightbulb atop the head or the eyes get excited because they’ve understood something, that’s exciting to me, I love that.”
Her love of education and teaching is obvious when you meet her and comes through in the classroom, according to students.
“Susanlee Martino is an exceptional instructor who always goes above and beyond for her students,” said a student who nominated her for the Licari award. “Her passion for teaching is made apparent by the individual attention she shows each of her students. Ms. Martino takes the time to make sure everyone understands the material and she offers her time outside of class for anyone who needs extra help.”
For Martino, teaching is more than education, it’s also about connecting with students and helping them.
“Sometimes we hear what’s happening, but we really don’t listen to what’s going on with our students, and I try to do that,” she said.
The excerpt below is from an MCC student who nominated Martino for the Ellen Licari Service to Students Award:
“I have had the privilege of being a student in two of her Spanish classes and I can honestly say that it has been the most hands-on learning experience that I have ever received in an online setting. Her passion for teaching is made apparent by the individual attention that she shows each of her students. Ms. Martino takes the time to make sure that everyone is understanding the material and she offers her time outside of class for anyone who needs extra help. Many of her students have been repeat students of hers because they appreciate her teaching style so much. Her compassion and understanding also sets her aside from other instructors. This allowed me to focus on my health and catch up in my other classes. What impresses me most about Ms. Martino is her ability to do all of this through the uncertain times of the pandemic. Not only did she provide her students with exceptional instruction, but she did it while learning an entirely new system and adapting to unexpected obstacles. Because of her passion, compassion, and resilience, I am proud to nominate Susanlee Martino for the Ellen Licari Service to Students Award.”
The Licari Service to Students award was named in honor of Ellen Licari, who went above and beyond to help students succeed. Licari was an MCC Student Advisor who passed away in 2011. The award is presented annually to an MCC employee who represents the values Ellen showed in helping students.
The college commencement ceremonies will be held at the Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse at 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on May 14. It is open only to students, their invited guests and employees so that all federal, state and local pandemic recommendations can be followed. More information is available online at Mohave.edu/Graduation.
The college is also signing students up for summer and fall semesters. Summer classes begin June 1, while fall classes start August 23. Those new to MCC can fill out the free application at Apply.Mohave.Edu. Returning students are encouraged to enroll now before the classes they want and need fill up. Call 866-MohaveCC or stop by your nearest campus if you need assistance.