Julia Burgos was born in the Bronx, N. Y. to parents who had migrated to the United States from Puerto Rico. Her home was rich with the culture and language of Puerto Rico. Being the oldest of 5 children Julia was the first child to leave her home to enter a school environment. School proved to be a difficult adjustment for Julia. Not only was she not used to separating from her close family unit, but she also spoke her family’s native language, which has was Spanish. In the early 1960’s when Julia went to school, the only language that was permitted to be spoken in school was English. Julia found herself in a strange place with unfamiliar people and without the ability to communicate. Many tears were shed by Julia and her family. Within two years Julia was able to speak, read and write English. By the 4th grade she was one of the top students in her class. When Julia was about to enter the 5th grade, her family moved from the Bronx to Brentwood, N.Y. Julia again found herself in a strange place with unfamiliar people, except that this time she was able to communicate with those around her. There did however, exist differences of a different nature. Julia and her sisters were the only Latino students in their new school. This changed when Julia entered, what at the time was called Junior High School, 7th, 8th and 9th grades. There she found other Latino students who resided in other areas of Brentwood that were heavily populated by Latino families. Julia continued to excel in school and in 1974 graduated a year before her scheduled graduation date.
Upon graduation from High School, Julia entered the New York State University at Stony Brook where she completed both a Bachelor’s in Social Welfare (BSW) and a Master’s in Social Welfare (MSW). Julia’s early school experiences of having to learn a new language and having to integrate into a different culture created in her a desire to work with children who had similar experiences. Her first career choice was to enter the teaching profession, however, at the time of her graduation from High school and her college years in the mid 1970’s, the teaching profession was over populated and the projection for finding work as a teacher was low. Julia followed what at the time was her second love of seeking social justice for underprivileged and under represented populations.
Social work school proved to be the place where Julia was able to develop her skills of helping others and she learned to advocate for populations in need. Julia combined her new skills with her love for children and has worked in children’s services ever since. Julia was hired by her first internship in a youth servicing agency in Brentwood. She worked at the Brentwood Youth Development Corporation for 5 years., serving as a Program Coordinator for a Delinquency Prevention Program. In 1984, Julia went to work as a Bilingual School Social Worker for the New York City Board of Education, at District 7 in the Bronx, the same district where she lived as a child. Julia loved her work and became well versed in working with both special education and general education parents and students. She served as a committee member on the District 7 Committee on Special Education (CSE) and served on several reauthorization and preschool committees within the district.
In 1987 a position became available at the Brentwood School District and Julia was hired to work as a Social Worker with the Early Intervention Program, a special education program for preschool children with developmental disabilities. In her 24 years at the Early Intervention Program (EIP), Julia helped many parents who had concerns about their children’s development. Julia was part of an interdisciplinary team that met with the parents, evaluated the children and provided information to the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) regarding the children’s intellectual and social levels of functioning. She also provided direct services to the children and their families in the form of counseling, parent training and parenting skills workshops. Julia also served on the Board of the Special Education Parent Teacher Association (SEPTA), on the Programs Committee. She currently serves as Secretary for SEPTA. From 2011 to 2015 Julia served as Coordinator for the Brentwood Community School at the Freshman Center and she was also responsible for providing social work services for parents and students throughout the district.
In 2007, Julia joined the Long Island Latino Teachers Association, first as a Liaison to the Brentwood School District and then as Second Vice President, a position that she still holds today. The Long Island Latino Teachers Association is a not for profit organization that advocates for fair and equitable education for all Latino and Minority students. They provide conferences, mentoring programs and scholarships for students and advocate on their behalf with local and state government representatives.
Julia has advocated for the children of Brentwood for many years both at the local and statewide level. She has received numerous awards by the Suffolk County Legislature, New York State Assembly, New York State Senate and United States Congress for her service to the community of Brentwood and to the field of Education. Julia was recently elected as a trustee on the Brentwood School Board of Education.
Julia is an Adjunct Professor at the Adelphi University School of Social Welfare where she teaches courses on social work and social policy. Julia continues to follow her passion to help all children to succeed.