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October's Outstanding Employees Announced

Posted October 31, 2019, 1:40 PM. Updated May 22, 2020, 11:22 AM.

The latest group of employees honored by the APS Employee Recognition Program includes a head custodian, an elementary school principal, a student success administrator, and a family liaison.

Congratulations to this month's honorees: 

  • Robert Spears, Head Custodian at John Baker Elementary School 
  • Liv Baca-Hochhausler, Principal at Corrales Elementary School  
  • Leah Gutierrez, Student Success Administrator for the Student Service Center 
  • Priscilla Valdez, Family Liaison at Atrisco Heritage Academy High School 

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 October's Nominees

Robert Spears, Head Custodian at John Baker Elementary School 

"Mr. Bob" goes above and beyond to provide students and staff with safe, clean, and friendly learning environments. While many of his tasks are ones that no one else wants to do, he never complains. Without a doubt, he is a top contender at the school for the most steps put in each week, and it often seems that he can actually be in two places at once, considering how quickly he moves across campus.

"Mr. Bob greets every student with a grin, and he goes out of his way each day to build positive relationships with and help students feel welcome, able and worthy," said Christee McIntyre, the school's counselor. "Mr. Bob promotes camaraderie, resilience, inclusion, compassion, and character development. He is a positive role model at our school, and what he does for students goes far beyond the typical custodians' job description."

Liv Baca-Hochhausler, Principal at Corrales Elementary School 

Liv is an enthusiastic person and is a great motivator. She demonstrates leadership through innovation, flexibility, and vision.

"Liv brings experience from her teaching background and does a great job of managing many different types of personalities," said Corrales Counselor Gabrielle Anzures. "I am impressed with how well she leads by example. Liv puts our students first and their families." 

Leah Gutierrez, Student Success Administrator for the Student Service Center 

Leah has worked in many different positions, from teacher, school administrator, curriculum director, and student success advocate. In each of these roles, she has worked tirelessly, supporting both families and district staff to ensure better outcomes for students. 

"Leah was my main 'go to' and mentor when I began working as a curriculum assistant principal 10 years ago," said Amelia Milazzo, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction. "She continues to be one of my most valued partners and resources. I know that she will always put the needs of students first while respecting what a difficult job it is to be a parent, teacher, or administrator. She always maintains a helpful and cheerful demeanor in a position where conflict and stress are a given." 

Priscilla Valdez, Family Liaison at Atrisco Heritage Academy High School 

Priscilla is a staple at AHA and truly goes above and beyond on a regular basis to make things happen on campus. She served families in the South Valley community for several years before going to AHA 10 years ago. She is a natural leader and knows how to make any family, student, or staff member feel welcomed, engaged, and loved. 

"Priscilla is proactive in the community and district. She finds ways to help students be contributing members of society," said AHA Principal Irene Cisneros. "She uses the school mission and vision to drive the work she does, which allows our community events to be fruitful for high school students." 

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.