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News from the Foundation

Posted: April 11, 2023

Outstanding April Employees

This month's honorees include a family liaison, a special education educational assistant, a principal secretary, and a bilingual educational aide.

Outstanding April Employees

Outstanding April Employees

There’s no shortage of dedicated professionals at Albuquerque Public Schools.

For the fifth year, the district recognizes at least a few of these outstanding employees through the Employee Recognition Program.

All staff members employed for at least six months can be nominated, though we ask that you not nominate yourself.

April’s Honorees

  • Felipa Coon
  • Joyce Richards
  • Lorraine Martinez
  • Samuel Matos

The honorees are being featured on APS electronic billboards around town and will have an opportunity to visit with Superintendent Scott Elder or his representative. They also will be recognized by the APS Board of Education and receive a lasting memento.

Nominate an APS employee! 

Learn More About April’s Nominees

Felipa Coon – Family Liaison, Valle Vista Elementary

Many APS employees go the extra mile. Felipa Coon goes beyond even that for students and families at Valle Vista Elementary.

“Families know that if they need something they can call on Felipa and she will get them what they need,” writes one community member whose grandchildren attend Valle Vista. “If she does not have it she will find it for them.”

Case in point, she was able to get a washer and dryer donated to the school to help families who can’t afford or need help washing their clothes.

“The families at Valle Vista have Felipa’s cellphone number, which she answers no matter what time of day it is,” the grandparent wrote in nominating Coon, the school’s family liaison. “She answers on weekends, holidays, and school vacations, including summer break.”

Coon makes families feel welcome, and even after students leave, she continues to check on them and help when they need something.

Joyce Richards – Special education educational assistant, Dennis Chavez Elementary

Her principal describes her as “a silent cheerleader,” the type of person who goes out of her way to recognize and encourage everyone she deals with.

Joyce Richards, a special education educational assistant at Dennis Chavez Elementary School, works with students in the school’s social communication classes. But she is always willing to pitch in anywhere she is needed.

“She works well with children and wants to see them thrive,” her principal says. “In her years at Dennis Chavez Elementary School, she has been a joy and a light to others and creates such a wonderful working environment.”

That same principal notes that Richards is also an amazing person outside of the school gates, having been a foster parent.

“She is dedicated to her family and supporting children in the Albuquerque community both for her day job and her home job,” the principal says.

Lorraine Martinez – Principal’s secretary, Lowell Elementary

She’s worked for APS for 15 years, and one of her colleagues notes that if there were more employees like Lorraine Martinez, “all of our jobs would be easier.”

Martinez is the principal’s secretary at Lowell Elementary, and those who know her say she has “a crazy funny sense of humor” and is hardworking and ethical.

“The entire school relies heavily upon her, just to get through the day,” says one colleague. “She has earned the trust and confidence of every staff member. There is no job too small, or task too large for Lorraine to manage.”

The colleague notes that Martinez knows the students by name and is the glue that holds the school together.

“If we cannot locate something she finds it,” the colleague says. “When we need subs, she manages to know someone to help us out. It is a pleasure working with her every single day.”

Samuel Matos – Bilingual educational aide, Wherry Elementary/Bilingual Program

Many students at Wherry Elementary are familiar with Samuel Matos’ travels throughout the U.S. and to such exotic locations as Puerto Rico.

As a bilingual educational aide at Wherry Elementary, Matos “encourages all our students to pursue their interests and supports our students in their dual language experiences,” writes one colleague. But more than that, he uses his varied experiences to engage students and has become a role model.

“He has a good rapport with staff, students and parents,” the colleague writes. “Many times Samuel has been asked to step in to be a Spanish interpreter as well as his regular duties of assisting students who need additional instruction to complete their classroom assignments and take tests.”

The colleague describes him as a kind person with a “calm personality” who works hard to help bridge the language gap between school staff and Spanish-speaking students and parents.

How to nominate an employee

You can nominate an employee by filling out the Employee Recognition online application. Nominations must be completed by someone other than the nominee. Self-nominations are not eligible for consideration.

Award recipients will be selected monthly by a Peer Praise Task Force.