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News from 2021-2022

Posted: December 13, 2021

December's Outstanding Employees

This month's honorees include a head custodian, district executive director, high school assistant principal, and elementary school principal.

The Albuquerque Public Schools Employee Recognition Program, now in its fourth year, attempts to recognize a few of the district's many outstanding employees. They are nominated by their peers and selected by a peer review committee. The honorees are featured on electronic billboards around town and have an opportunity to lunch with Superintendent Elder or his representative. They also are recognized by the APS Board of Education and receive a lasting memento of the honor.

Congratulations to this month's honorees: 

  • Leonard Fernandez, Head Custodian at Corrales Elementary School
  • Kristine Meurer, Executive Director of Student, Family and Community Supports
  • Herbert Stanley, Assistant Principal at Albuquerque High School 
  • Michelle Waldrop, Principal at Apache Elementary School 

Learn More about December's Nominees

Leonard Fernandez, Head Custodian at Corrales Elementary School 

Leonard is described as a good man and a top-notch custodian. He will do anything he can to help make his campus better. He never asks anyone to do something he wouldn't do himself. He is a great leader for other custodians and has created a strong team. 

"Leonard watches out for everyone on campus," wrote Corrales teacher Terry Kominiak. "He cares about our students and talks to them like they are his children. They refer to him as Mr. Leonard and want to be his helpers— collecting trash at lunchtime and helping him deliver breakfast. He engenders respect because he is so respectful and kind to everyone. When it comes to staff, he'll help out wherever he can —  from moving furniture to removing critters from classrooms, Leonard just does whatever is needed!"

Kristine Meurer, Executive Director of Student, Family and Community Supports 

Kris has many years of work in the district and has made a significant impact on the students, families, and schools that she has served. As the Executive Director of the Student, Family, and Community Supports Division, she oversees and provides leadership for six different departments: Counseling, Nursing, Coordinated School Health, Student and Staff Support, Student Health and Life Skills, and Accountability and Operations.

Kris has done an amazing job promoting and supporting volunteer and community partnerships that bring a massive amount of opportunities, services, support, and programs to the district. These assets play a critical role in building the capacity of classrooms, schools, and the district. She directly supports partnership agreements, and also ensures that the community-based organizations implement safe practices, have background clearances and badges, establish effective school-level partnerships, and are focused on student and school goals.  "On top of all of the core functions (and their incredible impact) that she has through her normal position, Kris has stepped up throughout the pandemic to ensure that the most cutting edge information was accessed, the most up-to-date guidance was developed and disseminated to all stakeholders, that emergency services were available, and that COVID-safe practices and processes are being implemented," wrote Daphne Strader, Director of Coordinated School Health. "Kris constantly displays a commitment to collaborate, professionalism, and a boundless work ethic, not only around her regular job but even more so around all of the extra duties that she has taken on in response to the pandemic."

Herbert Stanley, Assistant Principal at Albuquerque High School 

From School Police Officer Sean Garza: 

"On Sunday, September 26, 2021, around 8 p.m., while responding to a call for service at Albuquerque High School, I came across an individual I would later identify as Herbert Stanley, assistant principal (AHS). At the time I came across Mr. Stanley, he was sweating profusely and had a cart full of trash he had collected with him. When I asked Mr. Stanley what he was doing cleaning classrooms at 8 p.m. on a Sunday, he responded that he was doing it to help out his custodians who were understaffed and overworked."

Mr. Stanley's actions demonstrated his desire to go above and beyond the scope of his role to assist his staff and the school in general. Mr. Stanley's actions also demonstrate leadership and a passion for his profession.

"I think Mr. Stanley's decision to come in on his day off for the sole purpose of improving and cleaning the school demonstrates the best of what the school district has to offer. And in so doing, Mr. Stanley motivated and inspired both another staff member and me to be better through his actions alone," Officer Garza wrote. 

Michelle Waldrop, Principal at Apache Elementary School 

Michelle Waldrop truly goes above and beyond for her students, staff, and school community. Michelle has been an APS employee for a while, but these last three years, she has been the principal at Apache Elementary School. She has handled three of the most challenging school years in the history of education with grace, professionalism, passion, and strength.

"Never have I ever met or worked with an individual who puts others first, inspires her staff and students to be the best version of themselves, and builds trusting relationships with the families of our students and the Apache community," wrote school counselor Lynnae Terborg. "As a staff, we have endured some difficult life-changing events, tragedies, and challenges, and Michelle ALWAYS makes sure we have what we need and does whatever it takes to keep our school days running smoothly."

From subbing classes, if the school is unable to get a sub, to providing meals for staff members who've experienced hardships, Michelle is there. "She inspires you to be your best professional self and show up regardless of the difficulties to make a true difference in the lives of students. She helped the school transition to virtual learning, then back to in-person learning. She has created school-wide anti-bullying events. She has brought in incredible guest speakers and professionals for professional development," wrote Ms. Terborg.