Nellie Marrero: 'I am making an impact on a student’s life on a daily basis'
Bilingual Community Liaison
Del Rey Woods Elementary
Bilingual Community Liaison Nellie Marrero loves coming to work every day at Del Rey Woods Elementary School in Seaside, California. Each morning she looks forward to arriving at school.
“I always make sure I say ‘good morning’ or ‘buenas dias’ to students and parents and have quick conversations. This gives me the energy to start my day,” she says.
A typical day for Nellie begins with yard duty and catching up on paperwork before she finds herself quickly called into diffuse situations, such as going onto the playground to connect with students, troubleshooting an incident, calling parents about an issue, or working with our programs. However, what she enjoys most is spending one on one time with students.
“I know that I am making an impact on a student’s life on a daily basis,” she continues when asked about why she works for Monterey Peninsula Unified School District.
Nellie began her career at MPUSD in 2012 as an After School Academy assistant at Highland Elementary School. She moved into the district’s art program and eventually found herself participating in the AmeriCorp program at different MPUSD schools. Her knack for technology and computers landed her a position as a computer lab assistant at Del Rey Woods before taking on the current role she holds as bilingual community liaison.
But, just how did Nellie find herself in public education when she had a budding career in corporate America? She says, “I enjoyed coaching kids in basketball and flag football through the YMCA. I really enjoyed that experience and seeing kids develop into that new sport.”
Nellie’s experience as a young student herself resonates well with the community she serves as she moved to the United States from Puerto Rico.
“When I came here I did not speak any English,” she says. “I equate it to the same struggles our students face. I share with them that I also struggled and tell them we can work together so they can eventually have control of the language and be successful.”
One of the challenges she sees at her school is the language barrier and Nellie says, “I am happy to be able to connect the parents with the school and share my language of Spanish with them to help with homework, a letter they received, and even if it’s a personal situation they have.”
It’s critical to connect with families, and Nellie sees her role as liaison as the primary connection with families. Whether it's making that phone call or stopping parents when they are dropping off their student, Nellie knows well that the one on one connection makes a huge impact because it makes parents feel at ease, and if any issue arises they feel very comfortable to come and talk with her.
Nellie also enjoys her relationships with her colleagues.
“I enjoy working at Del Rey Woods. We spend a lot of time here. This is our second home. I always try to make a connection with everyone. We are definitely a family and we all enjoy spending time together,” Nellie said.
The district and its schools have prioritized parenting classes, and Nellie has the benefit of sharing those programs with families. She says, “I find that all the programs are really impactful and I feel that our families are able to connect to them. Even though I don’t have a child, we can all find something in each of those classes in raising our kids. We may think we don’t have the time or ability to do it, but it will be beneficial.”
In her free time, Nellie loves to draw and spend time with her fiancé and pets, which include a dog and a cat. She enjoys visiting local beaches, hiking or playing with her dog on the beach.