Early Life and Education
Rafael Ignacio Castellanos was born in Manhattan the second child of Rafael Castellanos and Elida (nee Rosales). His father was a Guatemalan immigrant and his mother is a Nicaraguan immigrant who met in New York and were married. Rafael had a sister Brenda Marie Schietroma who died in 2005 from lung cancer leaving her husband, Paul and two daughters, Nae Marina and Christina Josephine.
Rafael grew up in what was called Spanish Harlem across the street from a NYC bus depot and Mount Sinai Hospital. They would shop in La Marqueta on Park Avenue or the local Met Food on Madison Avenue. Rafael’s middle name is Ignacio because his mother had aspirations that he could not be denied admission to the prestigious parochial school, Saint Ignatius, having the same name of Ignatius. Ignacio is Spanish for Ignatius. He studied with the Sister of Charity. He graduated in 1974 and was accepted at Loyola High School, an independent Jesuit School recently listing as number 10 of Catholic School in the nation.
While at Loyola Rafael participated in may extra circular activities such as the Dance, Photography, Service, Ski, Yearbook and Yacht Clubs. During high school in 1975 Rafael got his first taste of community service by joining the now defunct New York City Bike Patrol which was conceived as a program to keep inner city youth out of trouble by being the eyes and ears of the police department; a program similar to the Auxiliary Police but for younger persons. The group was equipped with two way radios and first aid kits to assist the bicyclists and visitors in Central Park. Rafael graduated Loyola in 1978. During the summers Rafael had summer jobs unloading skids off 18 wheel trucks and filing away boxes of business archives and being the assistant manager of a skate rental shop in Central Park
In 1978 Rafael was accepted to Fordham University, College at Lincoln Center where he studied Political Science and Business where he graduated in 1982. During the academic year he worked as an Emergency Medical Technician at Empire State Ambulance Service, Associated Ambulance Corp. and the all-volunteer Central Park Medical Unit. During the summers he worked for City of New York, Department of Park Recreation as an Urban Park Ranger in Central Park, giving tours, providing emergency medical assistance and enforcing various Park rules and regulations.
In 1986 Rafael graduated from Yeshiva University’s Benjamin Cardozo School of law where he attained a Juris Doctor degree. While in law school, Rafael worked for the Consolidated Edison Company of New York in the law department first as an intern and then as a paid consultant.
After graduation, Rafael found employment with the City of New York, Department of General Services, Division of Real Property and then was recruited to work for a local title insurance company in 1987 until the year 2000 when he again was hired to start a joint venture, City and Suburban Real Estate Services which was reinvented in the year 2002 as the Expert Title Insurance Agency.
Rafael is the managing partner of the Expert Title Insurance Agency where he is a highly respected title insurance expert in New York State. Expert Title was conceived to provide the highest quality Title Insurance services with old fashioned care and delivers a full range of professional title services. Mr. Castellanos acts as the lead contact person resolving complex issues and questions and, provides clients with detailed information regarding various title insurance issues. With almost 30 years of Real Estate Title experience he has been widely recognized in trade publications and is an accomplished speaker. Rafael Castellanos is also responsible for business development and is the chief underwriter for Expert Title which writes policies for the First American Title Insurance Company and Fidelity National Title Insurance Company. The Expert Title Insurance Agency is a proud member of the Real Estate Board of New York, The New York State Land Title Association, the American Land Title Association and the National Association of Independent Land Title Agents. Rafael serves as President of the New York State Land Title Association for the term 2014-2015.
Rafael and his wife Andria (nee Sabou) first met in the summer of 1982 when both were working as Park Rangers and were sent to District Council 37, the Union Hall to train the new rangers. They were married in 1987. Andria Castellanos obtained graduate degree from the City University of New York and today is the Chief Operating Officer at New York Presbyterian’s Milstein Hospital. They have two sons Rafael and David. Rafael Zigmund and David Maverick are graduates of PS 183 in Manhattan and the Horace Mann School in the Bronx. Rafael graduated from Columbia College with a degree in history and Computer Science. David is currently attending Cornell University. Both sons are active in their father’s campaign.
Rafael is also an active member of the community. He is an emergency medical technician and volunteer with the Central Park Medical Unit and was a former member of the United States Public Health Service, National Disaster Medical System, New York Disaster Medical Assistance Team. Mr. Castellanos currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of New York City, Inc. and is President and Co-Chairman of the Board of the Central Park Medical Unit, Inc., (www.cpmu.com) an all-volunteer ambulance and rescue squad which operates in the world’s busiest park. Mr. Castellanos has been affiliated with the Medical Unit for more than 37 years and has been president for 23 years; he and his colleagues are in the business of saving lives and responding to the emergency needs of more than 40 million people who visit Central Park annually.
For his volunteer efforts, Mr. Castellanos has received numerous commendations and citations from various New York City Mayors, the New York Police Department, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, The New York City Council and most recently by the White House. The President of the United States, Barack Obama, recognized Mr. Castellanos with the “President’s Call to Service Award” which is a high honor recognizing volunteers for their life time of service. He has also been recognized by the City's media, including radio, television and key newspapers.