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News from the Foundation

Posted: December 11, 2023

Outstanding December Employees

This month's honorees include a community school coordinator, a surveillance tech, a vice principal of curriculum and instruction, and an assessment coordinator.

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.

December’s Honorees

  • Valerie Fernandez
  • Thomas Griego
  • Ashley Keibarth
  • Claudine Sanchez

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 December’s Nominees

Valerie Fernandez – Community School Coordinator, Hawthorne Elementary School

As the community school coordinator for Hawthorne Elementary, Valerie Fernandez is always going above and beyond for her students. Her devotion takes many forms, from the hours she spends organizing, restocking, and soliciting donations for the room containing clothing, shoes, and food for her students to the countless hours she volunteers on after-school activities, such as putting on attendance parties for students and their families.

“She comes in early and stays so late,” says a colleague who nominated her. “This person has the biggest, grandest heart, has never said no to anyone, and does it with a smile on her face.”

Valerie is “our true unsung hero,” her colleague says. “I am truly amazed how much she does for this school.”

Thomas Griego – Surveillance Tech, APS Police

Thomas Griego has been at APS a long time, starting as a custodian and working his way up to his current position as a surveillance technician.

“Thomas always is willing to help and goes above and beyond to keep the childran safe,” says one of his colleagues with the APS Police Department. “Thomas is one of the hardest working people I know.”

Ashley Keilbarth – Vice Principal of Curriculum and Instruction, La Cueva High School

As La Cueva’s vice principal of curriculum and instruction, Ashley Keilbarth has developed a reputation as an administrator who can connect with students. She addresses disciplinary issues promptly.

“Students don’t leave her office feeling penalized; instead, they depart with a newfound sense of being heard and an understanding of how they can make better choices,” one of her colleagues says. “It’s a rare talent to connect with students in a way that prompts them to acknowledge their mistakes and develop plans for improvement.”

Ashley is a staunch advocate for student choice in course selection, pushing to let them into rigorous classes when they show they are willing to work hard and do what it takes to succeed in those challenging classes.

“Her dedication to inclusivity and belief in students’ potential has dismantled barriers that typically limit enrollment in honors and AP classes,” her colleague adds.

She has also taken a leadership role in the district’s grading for equity initiative, and every week she creates “innovative and meaningful” advisory lessons that foster character development and a strong sense of belonging. This semester, for instance, her advisory lessons have focused on teaching students about the virtues of grit and self-discipline.

“Ashley’s infectious positive energy has a remarkable impact on all those she interacts with, inspiring creative solutions to the evolving challenges that teachers face,” he colleague notes. “Her welcoming open-door policy ensures that everyone in the school building feels comfortable seeking her guidance in solving the everyday issues encountered when working with students.”

Claudine Sanchez – Assessment Coordinator, Office of Accountability and Reporting

Claudine Sanchez has worked in Assessments for 16 years and recently earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration. She is instrumental in ensuring that her department is able to provide the various tests to gauge where all students in Kindergarten through 12th grade are academically.

“She has developed many practical ‘How to Guides’ and other supplemental materials into training sessions that support our school site test coordinators, and she is always available daily,” a colleague says. “She offers additional training that goes beyond requirements to support school-based staff.”

She is a vital part of the assessment team.

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.