Meet the School Social Worker


DJ at work in his office at ACE as Social Worker.

Mackenzie Guasco, Staff Writer

Dinilio Jimenez,  informally known as DJ, started at ACE seven years ago in the middle of the school year.  DJ initially, however, began his journey in the educational field over at Ellsworth Elementary, where he worked for three years. During his third year, after the Thanksgiving break, he started at ACE. Immediately, he noticed a big difference in comparison to his work at Ellsworth, where kids would be sent to his office as a disciplinary action.

DJ always makes an effort to build strong connections with the students at ACE. When he asks to speak with one of the students, it’s usually because something untoward has taken place. DJ always puts in his highest effort to resolve student issues despite being relatively new in comparison to his coworkers at ACE. “While working at Ellsworth, most of the teachers were new to teaching. However, most of the teachers at ACE had ten plus years and I only had three,” he explained.

DJ’s background

DJ grew up here in Danbury and had originally planned to be a civil engineer. In his junior year of high school, he moved to New Milford, where he had a really hard time with school. He realized that even though he had a stable nuclear family and no issues domestically, he was still struggling to make good grades on account of the transfer to his new school. It dawned on him that if someone like him could struggle that much, then people less fortunate than himself were more likely to be worse off. As DJ got older and saw his peers struggling and getting incarcerated for drug use, he began questioning why this was happening to his peers and not to him.

DJ wanted to work in a field that would help him better understand the challenges that people his age were going through. DJ initially picked Psychology as his college major, but then switched over to social work. He concentrated on working with teenagers and — for the first time in his life — felt that his choice was going to change the direction of his life.

Eventually, DJ started working in clinics as a therapist/social worker, though most of his other peers in the field wanted to work in schools. Sandy Atanasoff, a former guidance counsellor and head of PPS, interviewed DJ for a position at Ellsworth and that was how DJ go his foot into the door of the school system. Ms. Atanasoff became principal of ACE and when a vacancy opened up for a social worker at ACE, she reached out to DJ to fill the vacancy.

This in a nutshell explains how DJ ended up at ACE and continues to be to this day.  ACE is very fortunate to have him as our Social Worker and wise counselor.