It’s been a good school year for Edwin Cortez, district social worker and advocate for the Migrant Education Program (MEP) in Hillsborough County Public Schools.
Recently, the Florida Department of Education named Cortez the Migrant Educator of the Year. The Florida Exemplary Migrant Education Awards celebrated and recognized Cortez for his dedication and commitment to migrant communities, in addition to his work in assisting the academic achievement and betterment of migratory children and families.
CarolAnn Mayo, Supervisor of the HCPS Migrant Education Program nominated Cortez for the award. She stated that, “I quickly recognized that Mr. Cortez was the heart and soul of what our program represents." Mr. Cortez has served as a social worker for eighteen years - nine of them with Hillsborough County Public Schools. He has been honored twice as the Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator Award recipient and was also recognized by the Westchester Community Network in New York State.
“I’m so excited and honored to have been selected,” stated Cortez. “I became a social worker because I wanted to make a positive difference in the lives of people that sometimes are voiceless or misrepresented.” Cortez strongly believes that every student deserves an opportunity for a good education.
According to fellow migrant advocate, Jenna Benchikh, “Mr. Cortez has been a tireless advocate for the community he serves and for promoting the rights of the migrant children and families."
Cortez currently has aspirations to complete his degree in Educational Leadership as well as completing his mental health accreditation. His community service includes working with local and state agencies and organizations on the development of services to meet the needs of the community.