Published 11/8/2012 in Local NewsCastillo possibly first female appraiser in Finney County.
BY SCOTT AUST
Brad Nading/TelegramMaria Castillo, shown Wednesday outside the office, is the new Finney County Appraiser.
Maria Castillo had no dreams of being an appraiser when she was young, but she has greatly enjoyed her career choice the past 17 years.
This week, Castillo, 37, of Garden City was hired by the Finney County Commission to head the Finney County Appraiser's Office.
"I'm excited," she said. "When I first started, I really didn't envision myself as a county appraiser because I seriously thought that (former county appraiser) Alan Rupe was going to be here for a long time."
Castillo, a life-long southwest Kansas resident, was born in Dodge City, graduated from South Gray High School in Montezuma and studied business management at Garden City Community College. She and her husband, Salvador, have three daughters.
She started working in the Finney County Appraiser's Office in the summer of 1995, after deciding she no longer wanted to attend school part time.
"I didn't know the appraiser's office existed," Castillo said. "I didn't know what they did when I first got the job. But I really, really liked it. It gives you a little bit of everything."
After former County Appraiser Mark Low retired in September, Castillo decided to jump at the opportunity to run the department by applying for the job.
"I like this. I like working with people, and I'm really excited. I've got a bunch of ideas," she said.
In addition, there is some speculation that Castillo may be the first female county appraiser Finney County has had, and possibly the first Hispanic woman to hold the position in the state of Kansas.
It's difficult to verify those milestones.
Both Cindy Brenner, executive secretary for the Kansas County Appraiser's Association, and Della Rowley, past president of the KCAA, said there is a strong likelihood that Castillo is the first Hispanic woman in the state to become a county appraiser, though no records like that are kept.
Rowley, who has 20 years experience in Kansas, and Brenner, who has 14 years, both said they were only relying on memory and couldn't think of another Hispanic county appraiser in at least the last two decades. "Prior to that, I'm not sure there's any kind of historical record," Brenner said. "There's been very few Latino county appraisers at all, so I'm 99.9 percent sure there hasn't been a woman. But as far as records of gender or race, other than seeing their name, I can't think of anywhere we track that. But I think it's great. She'll do a fine job."
Castillo said she never really thought about her race in regards to her job, but the possibility of being the first female Finney County appraiser did cross her mind only because neither she nor anyone in the office could recall a female holding the job. She also wondered if the county commission would have an issue with a female appraiser, since the job seemed to have traditionally been held by a man.
But her hiring sailed through Monday's commission meeting.
"Across the state of Kansas, there are quite a few female appraisers. You're starting to see more of them," Castillo said. "I've been in the office for 17 years, but back then I was really only paying attention to what I was doing, and really didn't focus on what was going on with other county appraisers."
Over the years, Castillo worked her way through the various divisions within the appraiser's office, learning about every aspect of the appraiser's work along the way. She started in personal property and eventually became the chief appraiser under Rupe and a deputy appraiser, where she oversaw commercial, agricultural and residential areas.
Castillo talks enthusiastically about everything the appraiser's office does. She said she has found the work includes variety, everything from learning about building construction and square footage to agriculture and the oil and gas industries.
"Our goal is to be on market value. The value we put on your property are the values we think you can sell your property for, and everything we do is by statute," she said.
Castillo said she always keeps the taxpayer in mind. One of her goals is to improve how the appraiser's office is viewed by the public, an image that is somewhat negative because of an appraisal's impact on property value and taxes.
"We work for the taxpayer, so my goal is to always treat them with kindness, dignity and respect. I want to work on our image and to let taxpayers know we're here to listen," she said. "That's one of my goals is to have people realize we're here to help and to have a better image of us."
Found 10 comment(s)!
Is a degree really necessary?
We have a boatload of "educated idiots" in this country; some may be posting here. I could care less what paper a person might have hanging on their wall; I want a person with working knowledge, common sense, and a sincere desire to do the right thing. It seems that Ms. Castillo is all that, and more.
Posted by: Realist on 11/16/2012
Where do you get your information?
After reading the comments on this story and the story about Mr. Dunagan's complaint to the County Commissioners I am convinced that certain negative comments are the Dunagans in disguise. Why for instance would someone say she is not qualified to appraise Jewelry or complain that no negative comments are being posted. Why would they accuse the County of hiring based on race when the article clearly states that it is the reporter that brought that into the discussion. And then there is the comments about Mrs. Castillo's education. Apparently she has sufficient education to obtain a County Appraisers position. As someone who has had personal experience with the Dunagans tactics, I will say this is the way they operate. Their comments do not fall short of racism and deceit. They lack morals and that enables them to think they are above others and so they feel justified to do anything to get whatever they want. Mrs. Castillo does not deserve the disgusting attack being aimed at her. God Bless her and give her peace.
Posted by: reading between the lines on 11/15/2012
"Great people talk about ideas. Average people talk about things. Small people talk about other people." Author unkown
Posted by: Just call me Happy on 11/15/2012
Garden City Telegram is not violating your rights to censor people's comments. It appears their resevering their rights to not publish them. They don't HAVE to publish what you write.
Posted by: OC on 11/14/2012
Maybe she could get usd 457 to talk to GCCC and GCCC to talk to K-State to lower their standards for graduation so she can get the degree she needs for the job!
Posted by: GC on 11/14/2012
Yeah, it's a milestone because not only is she the first hispanic, and a female appraiser, she's also the only appraiser to NOT have a degree of any kind....at all....not even an associates. Oh well, it's Finney Co., that's pretty much status quo here.
Posted by: GC Advocate on 11/13/2012
Race vs Experience
Leave it to the county to hire based on race instead of experience. She isn't qualified to appraise jewelry let alone all the property in the county! Is this really the best they could do?! This comment probably won't make it in the biased Telegram either!
Posted by: Frank on 11/12/2012
Censorship at its Finest!
Funny how there are only congratulatory remarks on this article. The Telegram seems to be violating the First amendment again by censoring the comments. Typical of the liberal newspaper that it is, controlled by the county.
Posted by: Mary on 11/9/2012
Congratulations to Mrs. Castillo on her new position as County Appraiser. Maria obviously got where she is by hard work and her own initiative from the bottom up over a period of 17 years. God bless her. She is truly good example for all of us. I am very excited for her.
However, the Telegram and others detract from Maria’s personal achievements by inserting gender and race into the story. When ask, she indicated Maria hadn’t considered race a factor in her job. There is no indication that the Finney County Commissioners gave either gender or heritage any consideration. Why would they? But the Telegram did. I’ll never understand why the media wants to integrate gender and race in a story which tends to otherwise diminish the individual’s character and qualities. When did Latino or Hispanic become a “race”? Would the same racial association have been given to the first person of Jewish or Hebrew, or people of Italian, Irish or Polish heritage? I doubt it... And rightly so.
The Telegram and the KCAA people sited in this story are despicable for elevating irrelevant attributes about an obviously fine professional to some sort of resume enhancement or curiosity.
Posted by: Rachel on 11/8/2012
Congratulations, Maria. Well deserved title. You have worked very hard and you are very committed to your job. I know you'll do a great job!
Posted by: Paula Flores on 11/8/2012