Steilacoom Historical School District No. 1 has announced the selection of Nilsa Sotomayor as the new principal of Saltar’s Point Elementary School.
SHSD Superintendent Dr. Art Himmler announced her appointment on May 14. Mrs. Sotomayor’s appointment is effective July 1.
“I believe her experience with a wide diversity of students and multicultural background will be a good fit for our community,” said Dr. Himmler.
Since 2006 Mrs. Sotomayor has been principal of Hillside Elementary School. Prior to that appointment she was assistant principal of Mann Middle School from 2002-06. Mrs. Sotomayor came to the Steilacoom area in 1999, and she taught Spanish at Clover Park High School until 2001.
Before moving to the Puget Sound area, from 1972-1999, she taught Spanish and was an ESL teacher in Puerto Rico, South America, Illinois, South Carolina and Mississippi.
She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Puerto Rico, and her Master’s degree in Spanish from Mississippi State University. Her principal certification was earned from the University of Puget Sound.
“Please join with me in welcoming her as a member of our historic school district,” said Dr. Himmler.
“I am excited to have this opportunity,” Mrs. Sotomayor said about her recent appointment, “because I live in the most beautiful place and now I will work right here.”
“I am also looking forward to working with the whole community and with making a difference in our children’s education.”
Nilsa and her husband, Juan R. (“Roly:–pronounced “Raleigh”) have lived in the heart of Steilacoom for the past eight years.
The school district’s new elementary school principal was raised in New York City’s Spanish Harlem neighborhood.
After high school she, her mother and two sisters moved to Puerto Rico. While studying at the university there, she met and married her husband, Roly.
Moving around the world became a part of their routine during the next 25 years. McChord Air Force Base was his last assignment, and they agreed that Steilacoom was where they wanted to retire.
Mrs. Sotomayor says she “loves coming home after work” and enjoying the peace she finds while living in Steilacoom. Max and J. C., a pair of frisky Bichon Frise’s, eagerly greet her daily return.
It’s not only their view of the Sound that’s refreshing and rejuvenating, but also the way their home is decorated with a variety of art work and antiques.
“Every piece has a story,” she says.
Nilsa enjoys reading, tole painting, scrapbooking, quilting, and sewing; especially English smocking, while “Roly”, who flies for United Parcel Service, also “loves to build and fix things.”
The Sotomayors have two grown daughters, Nina and Kristina; both SHS grads and graduates of the University of Washington. Nina is a teacher, and Kristina works at a Seattle radio station. Nilsa and Roly also are members of the Steilacoom Chamber of Commerce and the Steilacoom Historical Museum Association.
Story and Photo by Nancy Covert