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News from 2020-2021

Posted: May 4, 2021

May's Outstanding Employees

This month's honorees include an educational assistant, principal, counselor and school secretary.

Congratulations to May's honorees:

  • Melissa Bennett, Educational Assistant at Whittier Elementary School
  • Kacy Cash, Principal at Lowell Elementary School
  • Kendra Moulton, Counselor at E.G. Ross Elementary School 
  • Josephine Peynetsa, Secretary at Bandelier 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 May's Honorees

Melissa Bennett, Educational Assistant at Whittier Elementary School 

Melissa is hard working, supportive of her colleagues, warm with her students, and active with school parents. She is willing to step up and lead teams in the school and fill in whenever needed. During the pandemic, she has assumed a lead role in the school in tracking students' attendance, reaching out to parents to provide technical assistance to get kids online, referring parents to supports in the community or the school, and just
generally offering a listening ear for families struggling with online learning
and isolation at home.

"Without her, I feel that we would be lightyears behind on taking care of our kids' educational needs during online learning, and I cannot emphasize enough the incredible leadership she has shown," said Principal Kimberly Finke.

"I think that her own strength and resilience are part of what make her
remarkable," Finke added. "She is a single mom who is working on her teaching degree, and yet she gives so freely of herself. It's like she has this amazing well of energy and love that just doesn't run out."

Kacy Cash, Principal at Lowell Elementary School 

Kacy Cash took on the new role as principal in the most uncertain of times.
The staff admits they were nervous about the transition of a new principal
in the middle of a pandemic. However, Kacy has rocked every moment of it
while simultaneously making it the smoothest transition for her
staff/students/parents. She thoughtfully considers her staff and community in every decision she makes.

"I've never seen a principal include/involve her staff as frequently as she does," said Lowell teacher Catherine Bethell. "She has so much respect for her teachers, and in return, has changed the climate of our school to a much more positive one."

Kacy has the ability to make people feel heard, validated, empowered, confident and important. She takes the time to talk with you, helps you problem-solve, reminds you to take self-care, and really goes the extra mile to support you in the ways that she can. Kacy works incredibly hard and handles tough situations while remaining positive, calm, and professional.

"She has been faced with several disadvantages in her first year as a school principal but continues to rise above all of the challenges, effectively and with a smile," added Bethell. 

Kendra Moulton, Counselor at E.G. Ross Elementary School 

Kendra Moulton is very important to E.G. Ross Elementary School. Through the years, she has established positive relationships with students, staff, and families. This year due to the students being in remote learning, she is working even harder to connect with the school community however she can. She is a calm, steady presence, especially in these uncertain times. She is humble and kind and takes on many tasks that are not hers, such as helping with tech distribution to our students and food distribution for families, in addition to her school counselor duties.

"Kendra goes above and beyond for our school community. She has been in the school building from Day 1, even when some staff was working from home so that families and staff can access her help easily," said Buffy Vigil, redirector at the school. "She is both proactive in her outreach to students and families, as well as reactive when issues come up. She is the first to admit doing everything virtually is hard, but she shows up every day and keeps trying for others."

Josephine Peynetsa, Secretary at Bandelier Elementary School 

Jo Peynetsa has been at Bandelier for several years. People who were students when she first started are now coming in with children of their own to attend the school. She remembers them and sometimes even whose class they were in. Jo is a master of everything that needs to be fixed, needs an
answer or needs to be addressed.

"I have worked with her going on five years now, and I still rely on her knowledge and expertise," said Bandelier clerk Hollis Tilson. "She is meticulous in everything she does, and she always displays professionalism and thoughtfulness. I have never seen her get upset about anything, even when dealing with tough issues. Steadfast is a word I would use to describe Jo. You can always count on her."

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