Officer Neftalis Albaladejo — better known as Officer Nefty — has been assigned to several schools in West Orange County as a school resource officer. His most recent assignment is at Maxey Elementary School; he began his job there in the fall of 2018, the same year the school moved to a new campus on Ninth Street in Winter Garden.
What do you love most about your school?
It is really hard to pick just one thing because there are several aspects about my school that I really love. I will have to say the diversity of the staff and students and that every child is treated equally regardless of their background or economic status. I think this aspect of the school is what makes it a special place to work.
What's your favorite part of your job?
Without a doubt, it is my daily interaction with the kids. Kids are brutally honest, and they do and say the darnest things. Sometimes their honesty is what we adults need to build perspective about them.
Why does this job appeal to you?
It’s amazing to be able to interact with kids and be a positive role model in their life and hopefully have a lasting impression on them that allows them to find success in life.
What motivates you and pushes you to do your best?
Sometimes my wife pushes me (lol), but I have to admit it is my faith and love for what I do as an SRO.
What's the nicest thing a student or faculty member has done for you?
It’s every day for me. In the morning, welcoming the kids to school and receiving high fives, fist pumps, hugs and goodies from them. Also, the staff is amazing and from Day 1 has welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like part of the Maxey Wildcat family.
What’s your favorite restaurant and favorite meal?
The Cheesecake Factory and Louisiana Pasta
Do you have any pets?
I currently have my son’s dog living with us, so she is technically our “grand dog.” Laya is a shih tzu mix.
What’s your favorite movie and why?
“The Gladiator” is my favorite movie, because every time I watch it, I picture myself as the lead character. LOL
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
As a crime-fighting, action superhero, I would like the ability to fly, so I can go overhead to avoid all the congestion happening in Winter Garden.
What’s your favorite vacation spot and why?
Puerto Rico; It is always great to go back to where my life story began and get a chance to enjoy it.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to play softball and enjoy time with family and friends.
What’s your favorite book and why?
“How to Stop Worrying and Start Living,” by Dale Carnegie — a good book to help me manage stress so that I can be my best self.
What are some of your can’t-miss TV shows?
I like the guessing that is a part of “The Mask Singer.” It is always interesting to see who is behind the mask. I also really like the “Million Dollar Listing” (New York and Los Angeles) because I get to live my best life through the show’s participants while hypothetically trying to figure out which house my wife and I will buy when we retire. Nothing wrong with dreaming.
If you could put any four musicians on an alternate Mount Rushmore, who would it be?
Michael Jackson (He is the King of Pop), Elvis Presley (need I say more), Aretha Franklin (Queen of Soul), Whitney Houston (amazing)
Do you have any fun talents or hobbies?
Yes, I love dancing and think that I am John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever” from time to time.
Tell us about your family
Wife, Blanca; son, Michael; and daughter, Ariana Albaladejo. Both of my kids attended local schools (Tildenville Elementary, Lakeview Middle and West Orange High schools). Michael graduated from Florida Atlantic University and is currently the grad assistant for the Jacksonville University baseball team. Ariana is a junior at the University of Central Florida and dances throughout the nation.