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News from the Foundation

Posted: May 5, 2023

Outstanding May Employees

This month's honorees include an IEP specialist, a principal’s secretary/bookkeeper, a principal, and a nurse.

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.

May’s Honorees

  • Melissa Graff
  • Veronica Rodriguez
  • Lorinda Stuit
  • Jessica Kamali

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 May’s Nominees

Melissa Graff – IEP Specialist

As an IEP specialist, Melissa Graff works with parents and teachers to craft individualized education programs for students who need extra help. Colleagues say she goes above and beyond, communicating with teachers and service providers to ensure she understands the student’s needs, making accommodations for families so they can meaningfully participate in the process, and providing prompt communication to teachers, service providers, and families.

“She makes sure she is prepared and that families are comfortable with the items discussed at meetings,” one colleague wrote. “She communicates well and works hard for our students.”

The same colleague notes that sometimes, new ideas can be turned down immediately without trying, “but Melissa has an open mind and clearly wants what is best for the students in our district.”

Veronica Rodriguez – Principal’s Secretary/Bookkeeper, eCADEMY K8

Veronica Rodriguez is the principal’s secretary and bookkeeper at eCADEMY K8, a position that carries a lot of responsibility. Despite all that, Rodriguez keeps the school running seamlessly.

“She is caring, competent, and always does her best to make eCADEMYKI8 the best it can be for students and staff,” one school administrator writes.

“Veronica is bilingual and helps our school communicate with families that are Spanish speaking,” the administrator adds. “She is eager to make sure that families have their needs met and that all concerns are addressed.

Rodriguez is described as perceptive and someone who provides insights into the school’s families and their needs. 

Lorinda Stuit – Principal, Dolores Gonzales Elementary School

She’s described as understanding, caring, and giving, the type of school leader who will carve out time to listen to concerns and address them, even when she’s overwhelmed with other responsibilities.

Lorinda Stuit, the principal at Dolores Gonzales Elementary School, is always open to suggestions of how to make the school better and how to help students succeed.

“Our principal is simply amazing,” says one of her staffers. “She does everything with a smile and professionalism, and despite the day-to-day busyness, no matter how many deadlines and due dates she may have, she shows great leadership, responsibility, and determination in all she does.”

The same staffer says Stuit is humble and kind, and an understanding boss.

Jessica Kamali – Nurse, Grant Middle School

Jessica Kamali had worked in a hospital for years before joining Grant Middle School as the school nurse in 2022.

“The minute she walked in the door, I saw a very happy person who looked forward every day to being here for our staff and students,” one of her colleagues said.

“She worked at a hospital for years and decided she wanted to work in the school environment to help and support students each day with her experience and her nursing abilities,” the colleague said. “She is smart and very patient and kind.”

And, the colleague adds, her knowledge and experience have been invaluable – she is amazing.

“Grant Middle is very, very lucky to have her.”

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.