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Outstanding January Employees

Posted January 23, 2024, 7:05 AM. Updated February 5, 2024, 1:03 PM.

This month's honorees include a payroll manager, a school nurse, an interim manager in Maintenance & Operations, and a special projects program assistant.

Albuquerque Public Schools is filled with 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.

January’s Honorees

  • Michelle Candelaria
  • Christina Gardner
  • Daila Sells
  • Reyna Tovar

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 January’s Nominees

Michelle Candelaria – Payroll Manager, Payroll Department

Michelle Candelaria is the head of the APS Payroll Department, and she is always ready and willing to help anyone. She is professional, patient, and “super nice.”

“Michele is one of the best,” says one of her employees. “She is very understanding to our needs and always manages to get an answer, even if she has to go on a mission to get it. She is always smiling, has a positive personality, and takes pride in her job every single day. She goes above and beyond.”

Christina Gardner – School Nurse, Mission Avenue STEM Magnet and Alvarado Elementary

As the school nurse for both Mission Avenue STEM Magnet and Alvarado Elementary, Christina Gardner has her hands full. She goes out of her way to ensure that both schools are covered for student injuries and illnesses, and she makes sure that all the paperwork gets done even if it means putting in an extra two hours a day to complete it.

“In all of my years of being a school principal, never have I worked with such a dedicated individual who pours her heart and soul into doing such an amazing job daily,” says one of her admirers. She goes above and beyond what’s expected.

“I cannot say enough good things about her,” the principal adds. “APS secured a talented nurse who gives her all in her work.” 

Daila Sells – Interim Manager, Maintenance & Operations

When one of her colleagues in the Maintenance & Operations Department died last year, Daila Sells was the first to step up and help his family. She helped with funeral arrangements, gathered the APS contacts his spouse needed to apply for benefits, and even arranged for a bench to be made and installed outside of the building where he worked in his honor.

“M&O is lucky to have a person like Daila Sells,” says a former coworker. “She works harder than most people I know and takes an immense amount of pride in the work she does.”

And she’s a stickler for the rules because she wants things done the right way. When the previous M&O Structural Manager was set to retire, Daila was the top pick to step in as the interim manager.

“Daila is not only a hard working employee, she is also a compassionate and wonderful human being,” her former coworker notes.

Reyna Tovar – Special Projects Program Assistant, Coordinated School Health-APS Clothing Bank

Many APS students don’t have the means to buy clothes and other necessities. That’s where people like Reyna Tovar and her colleagues at the APS Clothing Bank come in. For the last four-and-a-half years, Reyna has helped students by getting them the clothing they need.

“She is a team player and goes above and beyond to process student requests, help stakeholders who call on the phone, and volunteer for extra activities and events,” her boss says. “She is an asset to the Clothing Bank.”

Reyna is innovative and solution-oriented and shows her commitment to doing the best job every 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.