Today, we lost our beautiful friend Martha Mata.
Her and I became friends through my sister and brother-in-law. During the early stages of Paper Pastries, I was a part-time substitute teacher. This school where she, my brother-in-law, and other friends worked was such an amazing environment, I considered being a teacher. That was, until around when I was so exhausted I thought would never come. Being a teacher is one of the hardest jobs I can think of. Every day I had more and more respect for them.
I almost exclusively subbed at her school, often sharing lunch breaks and weekend plans. Then came the day when she needed to take more time off for treatment and sick days. I was her requested sub. I am fully aware that being a sub is in no way "teaching." But the fact that I was going to be there in her classroom more than one day a week made me very nervous. These kids had an amazingly smart, patient, teacher who knew what she was talking about. I had barely passed algebra! She went over all the various types of math problems I would encounter and didn't stop explaining them until I got it. If she could teach me, I know she had a gift.
Green Dot sent an email out today-
"It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform you of the passing of Martha Mata - one of the founding teachers at ÁPB - following a hard-fought battle with cancer.
Ms. Mata set an example for all of us to follow in her 12 years teaching math. Martha began her teaching career with LAUSD at Locke High School and has dedicated the past eight years to the students and families of Green Dot. In her recent Golden Dot nomination video, her principal characterized her as “not only pushing herself and her students to achieve, but making everyone else around her better.”
Martha was a true and passionate teacher leader, expanding the sphere of her impact well beyond her classroom and school. The name Martha Mata became synonymous with highly effective, rigorous and innovative practice. As an Ánimo Data Fellow, Professional Development Leader, Demonstration Classroom Teacher, and formal mentor for student teachers, she partnered with many Dotters in realizing our mission - to prepare all students for college, leadership and life. In truth, she embodied the spirit of Ánimo and will be remembered and missed deeply by her friends and colleagues.
Please join me in offering our deepest sympathies to her family. We will be speaking with Martha’s family and pass along any information they wish to share regarding arrangements. "
When I close my eyes, I don't want to see her in pain. I am looking at photo albums because I want to see her when she was most radiant. This photo is my favorite of her- two closest friends on either arm, smiling and joking about how short she is, even in heels.
It is impossible for us to imagine a party without your dance moves + requests for more booty jamz. We will love you and miss you forever.