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News from 2020-2021

Posted: April 14, 2021

April's Outstanding Employees

This month's honorees include a speech therapist, yardman, program manager and educational assistant.

Congratulations to April's honorees:

  • Nikki Gallegos-McGrath – Speech Therapist, 7-Bar Elementary School
  • Charles Gurule - Yardman, Eldorado High School
  • Maribel Hernandez –Program Manager, Food and Nutrition Services
  • Abril Lopez – Educational Assistant, Lavaland Elementary School

The honorees are being featured on the APS electronic billboards around town and will be recognized by the APS Board of Education, receiving a lasting memento of their honor.

Learn More about April's Honorees

Nikki Gallegos-McGrath – Speech Therapist, 7-Bar Elementary School

Nikki goes above and beyond to help students with special needs understand the foundations of speech. Her tone of voice and the way she speaks to them even in a virtual setting is exceptional. She bounces ideas off parents to help get students engaged in their learning both in and out of the classroom. 

"She showcased problem-solving abilities, she illustrates due diligence, shows initiative, and very hands-on learning which is extremely important," said 7 Bar parent Agata Hammond. 

Charles Gurule - Yardman, Eldorado High School

Charles started at Eldorado High School about four years ago as a custodian and worked his way to the yardman position. He has completely transformed the grounds of the 60-acre campus, one truckload at a time. He said when he started the job: "Just give me some time and I will make this campus look great." Mission accomplished, Charles. Go by the campus and see for yourself.

"The man has an incredible work ethic and never misses work," said Assistant Principal Rodney Suazo. "There have been 100-degree or 30-degree days where I needed to insist that he find some work indoors for the sake of his health. His reluctant response to come indoors is usually a 'Can you give me another hour outside? I am almost finished.'" 

Maribel Hernandez –Program Manager, Food and Nutrition Services

This past year with COVID, APS Food & Nutrition had many challenges, one being the issuances of the PEBT card so many families were eligible for. Many addresses and names were incorrect in the system. Mari fixed so many of these issues while fielding hundreds of calls and emails politely. She was not only taking care of that and her other job duties but taking over most of the duties for the Food & Nutrition Staffing Specialist who was out on leave, ensuring the staff that continued to work or on approved leave, received their paychecks, and kept the COVID pay correct.

 "Mari's bilingual and customer service skills and calm demeanor are very positive representations to the public seeking information," said Sandra Kemp, Executive Director of Food & Nutrition Services. "She along with many other department employees jump in and assist to ensure our students' and parents' needs are met."

Abril Lopez – Educational Assistant, Lavaland Elementary School

Abril Lopez has gone above and beyond to support families during remote learning. During the school's device distribution she has supported Spanish and English speaking families with all technology issues that families have had with the Chromebooks and iPads. She also supported families with ParentVUE during the registration process. Currently, she is supporting remote learning in classes with long-term substitutes. She is always positive and encouraging with students and their families. She understands the importance of building relationships with the parents of children, especially during remote learning. Abril is always an advocate for parents and children.

"She ALWAYS is available to support administration, teachers and families in a positive manner," said Principal Susan Neddeau. 


How to Nominate an Employee

You can nominate an employee by filling out an online application. The nomination must be completed by someone other than the nominee (i.e., no self-nominations are eligible for consideration).

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