COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Marilyn Custodio, 56, is member of the Elohim Christian Church in Richmond Hill. For the past 10 years, she has worked coordinating a girl’s ministry at the church, working with girls from the ages of three to high school-aged students. She said she teaches kids in the ministry the same way she teaches her students in her public elementary school – except with a focus on Christian beliefs.
PERSONAL: Born in Puerto Rico, Custodio moved to the United States as an infant with her parents, a move that was supposed to be for just a short time. “My mom was sick because all her family was in New York City,” she said. “And we never went back.” She later came to Queens to attend school. “Once I finished school, Queens became my home,” she said. She now resides in Ozone Park with her husband Antonio Miranda, 68. Custodio has two children from a previous marriage, a daughter and a son. She is expecting her first grandchild this September from her son Louis Zambrana. “I’m very excited,” she said.
JOB: Custodio is the assistant principal at P.S.60 in Woodhaven, a position she has held since 1995. She also works teaching English as a second language to adults. She came to work in P.S.60 because of growing need for a Spanish-speaking administrator due to the growing number of Latinos in the community. “I was the first Spanish-speaking administrator placed there,” she said. Custodio said she started working in education right after she graduated from Queens College – working as a teacher for ten years in Far Rockaway – and that she always wanted to work in education. “I always played teacher growing up…I would play with neighbor friends.” She said what she loves about teaching is “when their faces show me they got it.”
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “To make sure that our children understand the importance of education,” she said.
INSPIRATION: “I learned through watching my parents. My father especially, he encouraged me to go ahead,” she said. “[Teaching] is something that’s in me. I’m so glad I did it.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Custodio is receiving a special recognition for her work from the New York League of Puerto Rican Women Inc. in their annual Dinner Dance Gala this August. –-Ivanna Avalos