Grad Spotlight: Hugo Rene Orantes Martinez

Name: Hugo Rene Orantes Martinez

Age: 33

Course of Study (degree being earned): Ph. D. in Educational Leadership

Hometown: Born in Guatemala, Central America, but raised in San Antonio, Texas.

My name is Hugo Rene Orantes Martinez. Struggles, hardships, and adversities brought my family and I to this country, where I have had the opportunity to live MY American dream. I have two beautiful daughters and a loving wife. They are my motivation that propels me everyday!  I embarked on this doctoral journey because I wanted to make a  greater impact in my learning community and leave a legacy for my daughters. This program has allowed me to continue breaking barriers, dismantle deficit thinking and given me a platform to fight for equitable opportunities for all. I feel tremendously privileged to have been mentored and encouraged by great individuals.

Why did you choose UTSA?

I chose UTSA because of the amazing and knowledgeable professors on staff.

What was your favorite class and/or who was your favorite professor? Why? 

Dr. Niño and Dr. Garza's classes taught me how to put theoretical learning into practice. They engaged us in in-depth reflection activities and helped us become better leaders.

What would you say is the most important thing you’ve learned over the course of your studies?

The most important thing I learned through this doctoral journey is that everyone has a story. It is up to us as educational leaders to create spaces and opportunities to empower others to share story.


Describe any professional experiences or internship opportunities you have had.

I have had the wonderful opportunity to live my dream and serve as a school counselor. From there, I found a passion for academics and student achievement. I am now serving as an administrator and continue to advocate for all students.

How has COVID impacted you, either personally or professionally? 

COVID placed a semester behind due to my participants now being available due to the pandemic, but I took it as a learning opportunity and was able to navigate the situation using online modalities.

What are your plans for the future and/or your career? 

I plan to continue striving to serve students and be the best instructional leader I can be. Our students deserve the best and that is what we will strive for.

What has brought you inspiration during this time? E.g., music, books, people, etc. My family is what made tough days more tolerable. Seeing my daughters smile brought light to my day.

Congratulations to all of our 2021 COEHD graduates! See more COEHD graduate spotlights here