2004 Outstanding Teacher of America
Riverdale High School; Riverdale, CA
Martin Cordero has been teaching at Riverdale High School for nine years. He teaches mainstream Geometry and Algebra II, as well as Pre-Calculus and Calculus, which are not technically honors classes, but are considered classes for high achievers. Although the classes are not formally AP Program courses, students have an option to take the AP exam upon completion. He has chaired the Mathematics Department at Riverdale since 1996.
Education is the defining tool in determining one’s future, in Mr. Cordero’s view, and he believes that it is the ultimate equalizer in order for his students to compete and win. Since his goal for his students is social mobility, Mr. Cordero takes an interest in their lives both inside and outside of the classroom. He uses multiple techniques to interest them and keep them motivated in their academic pursuits and to push them toward college.
To his students, as well as to many Riverdale students who are not in any of his classes, Mr. C. is known for his desire to help, to push, and to be there to talk to about school and non-school issues. Mr. Cordero’s room is often populated with students during lunchtime.
Mr. Cordero is also very involved in other aspects of the school. He is the advisor for Odyssey of the Mind, a creative, competitive academic program. He was a member of the WASC committee in 1998 Compliance and was head of the Vision and Culture Movement. As advisor for the class of 2004, coaching them from their freshman year through graduation, he helped that class raise more money than any other class in Riverdale’s history, donating the money to the September 11 Red Cross Fund, among other school notoriety. He started the varsity girls’ soccer team at Riverdale and was the Head Coach for six years.
Martin Cordero received his Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and a Clear Single Subject Credential in Mathematics from Fresno Pacific College. He is familiar with his students’ lives and backgrounds, having grown up and attended school in nearby Caruthers, California.
His favorite thing in the world is “when students who have graduated come back to chat about anything and everything after school.”