News from the Foundation

Posted: April 4, 2024

Outstanding April Employees

This month's honorees include an HVAC electrician, a transformational coach, a bookkeeper, and a social worker.

Employee recognition logo

Employee recognition logo

Albuquerque Public Schools has many dedicated professionals who devote their time and talent to helping the district meet the needs of students.

For the sixth 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

  • Rupert Abeita
  • Tara Byers
  • Lisa Candelaria
  • Rachael Elebario

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 receive a lasting memento.

Nominate an APS employee!

Learn More About April’s Nominees

Rupert Abeita – HVAC Electrician, Maintenance & Operations

Just call him a miracle man.

Rupert Abeita, an HVAC electrician who works at several schools, has earned a reputation for being attentive and for dropping whatever he’s doing to help schools resolve emergency situations quickly.

“Any time we have any issues with our HVAC system, Rupert is on it,” says one high school principal who works with him. “He is seemingly on call 24/7 for us and works tirelessly to make sure that our staff and students are comfortable in their classrooms and offices.”

She goes on to say that Abeita genuinely cares for the district’s students and staff.

“He is a hard and dedicated worker, and we are so appreciative of his efforts,” the principal said.

Tara Byers – Transformational Coach, Mary Ann Binford Elementary

Tara Byers has been at Mary Ann Binford Elementary for about two years and, in that time, has earned the trust and respect of her students and colleagues. Byers is the school’s transformational coach and serves on its leadership team.

“She is an educator who builds relationships in a multitude of ways with staff, students, and their families every single day and makes people of all ages feel heard, feel seen, and feel valued – she is a true advocate,” says one of her colleagues.

Byers works hard to improve the day-to-day school experience of students and staff alike. When she arrived at Mary Ann Binford, she was given the monumental task of setting up a successful Genius Hour program at the school.

“It is a huge success, and the students love it,” her colleague notes. “She has contributed to the enrichment of our students’ education and their social-emotional well-being and has allowed our own staff to broaden and deepen their connection with all of our students at large. As if this wasn’t enough, … Tara also serves our staff and, therefore, our students by organizing, designing, and facilitating professional instructional training on a weekly basis in small grade-level groups.”

Lisa Candelaria – Bookkeeper, Ernie Pyle Middle School

Lisa Candelaria is Ernie Pyle Middle School’s bookkeeper, but one of her colleagues says that job title doesn’t capture all that she does for the school.

“Lisa is the glue here at Ernie Pyle. If you are seeking information, she is on top of it and can always help you find what you are needing,” the colleague says. “Lisa is so kind to everyone who comes into the main office and is always ready to help.”

Candelaria actually attended Ernie Pyle as a student, is invested in the school, and is part of the community.

“We all do our part to be the best we can for the students, and Lisa is one of the most dedicated individuals here at Ernie Pyle,” the colleague added.

Rachael Elebario – Social Worker, Taylor Middle School

Social work is a challenging job, but Rachael Elebario shows up to work at Taylor Middle School every day with a positive attitude and a desire to help students.

“Rachael is always there for the students and her coworkers,” one of her colleagues says. “Rachael has a gift for teaching the students the skills they need to thrive in their environment.” And she “always shows the utmost respect to the students and conducts herself in a very professional manner.”

Beyond that, she goes above and beyond for her coworkers, being there to encourage them and to listen when they are having a hard day.

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.