Behind the scenes, this school’s office manager builds bridges in the community

Mariano with student in library holding  b ook
Mariano Vazquez-Hernandez with student at Coronado Hills Elementary.

The value of administrative professionals in education cannot be understated. They are the often the unsung heroes behind the scenes, organizing, planning, and problem-solving every day to make sure that students and teachers are set up for success. Their dedication makes it possible for fruitful community partnerships, like with Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain, Inc. (JA) volunteers, so kids can engage with real-world professionals and learn about the business of life. In celebration of JA’s 10-year anniversary working with Coronado Hills Elementary School, we’re proud to shine the spotlight on Office Manager Mariano Vazquez-Hernandez and the impact he’s made on students, families, and their communities.

What inspired you to become involved in education?
When I was in high school, I began helping families with interpretation and translation, specifically with our Spanish-speaking parents and students. After I graduated, and while attending community college, the former school secretary at my high school approached me and said I should become a school outreach liaison. In 2010, I become Coronado Hill’s Family Outreach Liaison, where my job was to be the bridge between our families, students and staff and help improve family-school relations. After six years as the liaison I was offered the position as the school’s office manager.

What makes your community unique?
I can say that there are many schools like ours, but we have been working very hard to become innovative, welcoming and safe for all who come into our building to teach and learn. For two consecutive years, we were recognized as a Center of Excellence by the Colorado Department of Education. 

How did you become involved with JA?
Ever since I became the liaison, I helped in coordinating and organizing JA in a Day. When I became the office manager, I made sure I could continue supporting with this amazing learning opportunity.

Coronado Elementary office manager Mariano Vasquez-Hernandez and student reading together

What makes Coronado Elementary’s relationship with JA special?
We have had JA come to our school every year for the last 10 years, because the organization has always been great, and the volunteers have been tremendous with our students. We are always happy to have them here and excited to invite them again for years to come.

What’s your favorite memory from your JA experience?
Three years ago, we had JA in a Day on the same day as Dr. Seuss day. The students came dressed up and the JA volunteers came prepared to make it a super fun day.

What impact has JA made on your students?
Students get to learn about how the world functions. It helps them demonstrate critical thinking and develop problem-solving skills. It encourages them to think, ask questions and learn in a fun and engaging way.