Staff Spotlight: Maritza Soto-Gomez
Posted on 04/07/2022
Maritza Soto-Gomez

Staff Spotlight – Maritza Soto-Gomez

Maritza Soto-Gomez is the school social worker at Pitkin Elementary School who impacts every single student in her school through her work. In addition to her case load as a social worker, every class at Pitkin comes to her for mindfulness and SEL (Social/Emotional Learning).

“It is a gift that I can see every single student in a weekly basis,” said Soto-Gomez.

To make this happen, Soto-Gomez approached Principal Bea Corrado about creating a Social/Emotional, Mindfulness Center at Pitkin. In this classroom there are no desks or chairs, but instead you’ll find pillows on the floor, low lighting, and calming music.

“She came to me with the idea and I was 100% on board,” said Corrado. “When she comes to you with an idea, she comes to you with such passion, and she comes to you with experience as well.”

Soto-Gomez says she believes she was born to do this work. She was inspired by her sibling who had a hard time learning growing up, and knew since 8th grade she wanted to be a social worker.

“I’ve always loved to help,” said Soto-Gomez. “It’s incredible that I have this opportunity, so grateful that I have this opportunity to help other people.”

Now doing this work in her hometown of East Hartford, Corrado says her community is really responding to it.

“The kids are invested in the work that we’re doing here and it’s because of Maritza,” said Corrado.

“She has a presence about her where she is able to reach the families, the staff, the students in such a unique way,” said Corrado. “She has such a calm demeanor. Her presence here just alters the entire mood of the building.”

Whether she’s helping students understand their emotions, deal with conflict or handle times of transition, Soto-Gomez hopes her students hold that learning within themselves and apply it to their lives both in and out of school.