RFamily: Mercedes Castillo
There is a bright shining light at the front desk of Broad Rock Elementary School. Her name is Mercedes Castillo.
Things get pretty hectic for the administrative office associate in the elementary school of 900 diverse students. Phones ring constantly. Parents drop off. Parents pick up. Staff members and administrators need support and assistance. But Castillo keeps the fast-paced storm at bay with her smile, her friendly personality, and her fluent Spanish.
“You have to have a heart–and humor–to deal with so many different people, so many different attitudes,” she said. “You have to be motivated to help.”
Castillo’s helping spirit was forged during her 10-year career in healthcare, working in hospitals and caring for patients and their families. She made the transition to Broad Rock this summer, bringing with her that desire to be a help to others. Her administrators have been excited to have her energy and enthusiasm on the front lines taking care of the Ram Family.
“She shows up every day, on time, with a warm smile,” said Teya Green, Principal of Broad Rock Elementary School. “She is always willing to help us communicate with our Spanish-speaking families.”
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Castillo moved to Virginia in 2002. With her Spanish-speaking abilities, Castillo smoothly steps back and forth across the language barrier which presents such a challenge for so many people in all walks of life, but especially in education.
Castillo thinks that one of the main changes in education since she was in school is the way teachers, staff members, and administrators are so alert to the individual needs of each student. She said that she has been very impressed by how organized her principals are, and how aware they are of the specific challenges each and every one of their students face.
“They are on top of everything,” she said with amazement.
In her spare time, Castillo likes to read and relax. Of course, with her job and four girls between the ages of 2 and 14, Castillo doesn’t have much spare time–which is just fine by her. Inspired by her family and love for others, Castillo puts her big heart and big smile into everything she does.
“You have to want to be in a place to be your best,” she said. “You have to be the light sometimes when there is negativity.”
At RPS, our STRENGTH is RFamily, and we thank you, Mercedes Castillo, for being the light at Broad Rock Elementary School!