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News from 2020-2021

Posted: February 19, 2021

February's Outstanding Employees

This month's honorees include an elementary school principal, nurse, and librarian, and the manager of Translation Services.

Congratulations to February's honorees:

  • Aura Acabal, Principal at La Mesa Elementary School 
  • Molly Covington, Nurse at Osuna Elementary School
  • Kenneth Gaona, Coordinator, Translation and Interpretation Services 
  • Tracy Nichols, Librarian at John Baker 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 February's Honorees

Aura Acabal, Principal at La Mesa High School

Aura Acabal is a hardworking and dedicated principal. She is a highly effective and competent leader. When all the events of COVID happened, she took each challenge one at a time and presented them to the staff in that way so that they could feel they were in control in a situation that was so out of control. 

La Mesa was honored last year by the state for its Bilingual and Multicultural learning program. This happened thanks to the school's effective leader helping all of her staff to perform at the highest level. 

"Ms. Acabal cares about her teachers and goes out of her way to make their jobs easier and less stressful," said Assistant Principal Kaye Bates. "She has everyone's back in hard situations. She is positive, hopeful, and energetic at all times.  In every aspect of her job, good is not enough. She pushes herself to excel at everything and is the most positive and uplifting role model I have ever worked for."

Molly Covington, Nurse at Osuna Elementary School 

During these unprecedented times of COVID-19, there is one nurse that really stands out and is making a difference and that is Molly Covington, said fellow school nurse Cynthia "Sunny" Miller. "Molly is not only an amazing school nurse, but she has been instrumental in helping to develop policies, procedures, forms, and trainings, focused around COVID-19 for our school district."

When the director of nursing asks for nurses to help serve on teams focused on research and development of new policies, Molly is always at the forefront, leading the charge. And when she isn't involved in a district team, she is creating new ways to improve procedures/forms on how we care for students and staff, and then she selflessly shares with her peers, so they do not need to reinvent the wheel. 

"She is an amazing nurse, co-worker and peer.  APS is so lucky to have her as part of our team!"

Kenneth Gaona, Coordinator, Translation and Interpretation Services  

This school year is unlike any other, and one of the most challenging pieces is being able to communicate with families who speak different languages. Kenny is always helping translate important information for the parents of students. He goes above and beyond to get this information quickly so that families are able to get this information and start to utilize it as quickly as their peers. This has directly and positively impacted student success!

"He is always willing to answer any questions I may have. He goes out of his way to find answers and reach out to others if he doesn't know," said Stephanie Blythe, a teacher at Collet Park Elementary School.  

Tracy Nichols, Librarian at John Baker Elementary School

"Ms. Nicholas is just amazing. I mean it. Look it up in the dictionary, and it will describe her in every way," said school counselor Christee McIntyre. "She goes above and beyond her calling as an elementary school librarian, a role she not only fills but excels at, and her pioneering efforts with technology across different platforms allows her students to stay linked and engaged while they can't physically be together."

Mrs. Nichols makes every effort to ensure that her kids are learning, growing, and taking care of both themselves and others around them every day. She is mindful in choosing literature that provides every child with opportunities to see themselves in a book no matter who they are and what they bring to the table, and she helps others who may not directly relate to the content expand their thinking, acceptance, and experiences around it. She assists students in stepping out of their comfort zones with a safety net as they explore unfamiliar topics and ideas that allow them to consider, grow, and build awareness of their own needs and those of the world in which they exist.  


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.

Tags: Core Schools