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January's Outstanding Employees Announced

Posted January 20, 2020, 12:05 PM. Updated February 4, 2020, 9:21 AM.

The latest group of employees honored by the APS Employee Recognition Program include the Director of School Climate, the Associate Director of JROTC & Leadership Programs, an elementary school secretary, and an HVAC and plumbing manager.

Congratulations to this month's honorees:

  • Layla Dehaiman, Director of School Climate 
  • Dora Rocha, Secretary at Bel-Air Elementary School
  • John Lannon, Associate Director, JROTC & Leadership Programs
  • Gary Starr, HVAC and Plumbing Manager 

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

Learn More about January's Nominees

Layla Dehaiman, Director of School Climate 

Layla is a tireless worker with a vision and an amazing ability to get the job done. She pays attention to the details and remembers to keep her team first and foremost on her mind. Layla has big ideas and lots of energy to go with it.

School Climate is a part of counseling. Layla's work includes suicide prevention, behavior redirection, restorative practices, bully prevention, and social-emotional learning. 

"She is self-less. She doesn't seek recognition for her work but really loves it when folks connect with her one-on-one," said Jeff Newcomer Miller, Restorative Practice Coordinator. "She knows these schools and this district and wants more than anything to help students who will otherwise be forgotten or rejected. Her heart is absolutely in the right place, and she models that for her staff as well as the schools she works." 

Dora Rocha, Secretary at Bel-Air Elementary School 

"Ms. Dora" was nominated by parent Linda Vasquez, who said she goes the extra mile to translate for families who only speak Spanish and to help them fill out paperwork.

"Ms. Dora is a blessing for us. She is very sweet and patient with our Spanish-speaking community," Vasquez wrote. She said Rocha has always been there to help parents, especially last year, when the school got a new principal. 

John Lannon, Associate Director, JROTC & Middle School Leadership Programs 

John works tirelessly to help out his colleagues. He often comes in two hours early and works until 6 p.m., then goes home where he continues to work. He has a passion for students, and he truly believes in the program, which shows in his smile and enthusiasm around students.

"John is always around when you need anything," said Norman Rance, Leadership Instructor at Truman Middle School. "He really cares for the people under his supervision."

Gary Starr, HVAC and Plumbing Manager 

Gary Starr is truly a "star" in our district, said Associate Superintendent Gabriella Blakey. He is professional and responds to every work order that crosses his desk (which he never sits at). Many of us hear about the number of air conditioners and heaters in the district, but few see the behind the scenes work Gary and his team do to keep them running. Gary takes every work order seriously, never underestimating the importance of maintaining comfortable classrooms for students and teachers. 

"It is amazing to watch Gary work," said Dr. Blakey. "It is amazing to watch him problem solve, lead his team, and stay calm."

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.