Meet Carolina Brito: Principal of the Year

  1. Updates

“Carolina is collaborative, she’s inclusive, and above everything she has a kind heart.” 

Carolina with Playworks Program Manager Dana and Coach A.

Marjorie Pita, K1 teacher at the Rafael Hernandez School, is not the only one who has kind things to say about Carolina Brito, who is the Principal at the Rafael Hernandez K-8 School located in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Carolina’s leadership amongst the staff, students, and community has been noticed and appreciated by many, and she has recently been named the Playworks New England’s Principal of the Year.

Carolina has been the Principal of the dual language school since 2019. Prior to working at the Hernandez, she worked in multiple other Boston schools in leadership roles, and received her Masters Degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education in 2015. Recently, outside of school she’s been spending her free time baking fancy cupcakes and cookies for the Ukraine Fundraiser bake sale.

Signs and posters made by 4th and 5th grade Junior Coaches.

Carolina is a Principal that gets things done, but also prioritizes play and connection with her students and staff.

“She comes out during my Class Game Times and at recess to play with the kids and hang out,” says Coach A, Playworks Coach at the Hernandez. “I’ve never seen that from a principal before.”

In April 2021, Carolina and her staff won the Boston Back in Motion grand prize, showcasing her value of movement and physical activity promotion in school. This month-long program was an effort to get young people across Boston to stay active as schools transitioned back to in-person learning, and the students and staff at the Hernandez took it and ran with it, participating in daily challenges and activities to boost movement and physical activity in classrooms.

Above and beyond her commitment to play and physical activity, Carolina has a community based mindset and does whatever she can to improve the wellbeing of those in her school building and beyond. This year, she started a new program called Primer@s Maestr@s, where staff are training parents to become better equipped to seek full-time jobs in the classroom. She regularly posts about COVID vaccination sites and resources, and has built such strong parental involvement that parents volunteered personal time to clear the Hernandez recess yard of snow this winter in support of students still receiving a typical outdoor recess from Playworks. Her impact in the community makes people feel included, cared for, and part of the Hernandez family.

Third graders showing off their posters to Carolina.

“She’s always caring, she’s always nice, and she’s always willing to help… that’s my ideal principal,” says 4th grader and Playworks Junior Coach Joshua. “The words I would use to describe her are bilingual, amazing, super cool, and powerful.”

Carolina will be featured on a speaking panel alongside our Coach of the Year during our Get in the Game Breakfast on May 6th. To hear more about her impact and commitment to play, community, and her school, be sure to join us at the breakfast. Reserve your tickets and RSVP today. 

More Updates


January 18, 2023

Building skills through play: adult engagement at recess ›

What does adult engagement look like at recess and why is it important? Adults actively engaging on the playground is important because it encourages healthy play at recess. Playworks’ programming recognizes this and highlights the need of providing a kind and consistent adult during the school day for students to connect and build trusting relationships that…

January 10, 2023

Understanding the Complex Simplicities of Play ›

Play is a behavior that is natural and has existed for thousands of years and across species. It combines a set of made-up rules or norms and a willingness to explore. Researchers, scientists, and doctors have studied the effects of play on kids–and adults–and understand that this natural behavior has tremendous benefits. As the American…

December 28, 2022

Looking forward to joy in 2023 ›

Over the last five weeks, we have been exploring the concept of joy. We’ve answered check-in questions on our Instagram based around joy, heard from five Coaches on Facebook about what brings them joy, and found out from students what about recess brings them so much joy. To close out the year, we have been…