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News from 2020-2021

Posted: September 23, 2020

Belated Congrats to March's Outstanding Employees

As our monthly Employee Recognition Program gears up for this school year, we want to congratulate those whose recognition was overshadowed by the pandemic.

Patricia Valverde, Dana Lee, Kathryn Reed, George Lopez

Patricia Valverde, Dana Lee, Kathryn Reed, George Lopez

Congratulations to March's honorees:

  • Dana Lee, Principal of La Cueva High School 
  • George Lopez, Educational Assistant at Armijo Elementary School  
  • Kathryn Reed, Data Resource Specialist/Manager for Student, Family & Community Supports
  • Patricia Valverde, Principal Secretary at School on Wheels

The honorees are being featured on the APS electronic billboards around town, had an opportunity to lunch with Interim Supt. Elder, and will be recognized by the APS Board of Education, receiving a lasting memento of the honor.

Learn More about March's Honorees

Dana Lee, Principal of La Cueva High School 

Dana Lee is described as an amazing principal who understands the stresses of being a teacher in today's classrooms and supports the teachers at La Cueva above and beyond what is required in her job description. Lee is timely and communicates well in her classroom observation evaluations. She encourages all teachers on campus to work together towards the common goal of engaging and encouraging students to be the best that they can be. She provides meaningful professional development during in-service days, which teachers can and do use immediately to improve their instruction. She understands when staff have family emergencies and works with staff members to support those who are struggling. She is open to creative ideas to solve problems. Her staff respects her so much that when we have a crisis at school, every teacher is willing to work longer hours and do above and beyond. 

"What makes Mrs. Lee stand out is her ability to put herself in the shoes of her teachers and to understand their concerns and frustration," said La Cueva teacher Kimberly Connell. "She is always working to make teachers and students feel more successful and is generous with her praise and enthusiasm when good things happen at La Cueva."

George Lopez, Educational Assistant at Armijo Elementary School

What makes Mr. Lopez special is his kind and positive disposition. He greets everyone with a smile in the mornings and that smile stays on his face throughout the day. He is a true collaborator and keeps Armijo strong and cohesive. Mr. Lopez supports all students in the playground, classroom, and cafeteria, always guiding each Roadrunner in making positive decisions in their learning. "The Armijo community is very fortunate to have a role model for not only the students but the entire staff," said Armijo counselor Alicia Meraz Sanchez. "Mr. Lopez is what I would call a true team player!"

Kathryn Reed, Data Resources Specialists/Manager for Student, Family & Community Supports 

Kathryn consistently demonstrates professionalism, giving staff members opportunities to use their strengths. She identifies gaps and develops strategies for optimizing the work that supports the department, schools, students, and families. She works towards cultivating and optimizing the talent and capabilities of others, bringing out their best. Kathryn demonstrates the art of listening when dealing with an emotional situation, and she responds with empathy and without judgment. She stretches goals, puts a high value on self-sufficiency, and checks in to validate understanding. She creates a safe environment while demanding high-level work.

"Kathryn, brings ideas to the table," said Dinah Padilla-Harvey, Attendance Coordinator for Student, Family & Community Supports. "She is part of the solution, a staff member who genuinely wants to see the department and team succeed."

Patricia Valverde, Principal Secretary at School on Wheels

Pat has been the principal secretary at School on Wheels for 13 years. She has a wealth of information about the school and the district that she shares with others. If something needs to be done, Pat is the person that everyone turns to. She not only keeps the principal on track, but she is the school's tech person, lunch person, daily operations person, and their go-to person for students who need help. She is always willing to jump in when needed and has a great rapport with staff, students, and parents. 

"Pat is my secretary, right hand 'man' and the main contact in the front office," said School on Wheels Principal Lori Romero. "I like to think of her as my Director of First Impressions because she shows everyone a positive side of the school."

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.