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Posted: October 7, 2019

For the Second Straight Year, APS Recognizes Outstanding Employees

September's outstanding employees include a secretary, custodian, family liaison and foster care point of contact.

If you are employed by Albuquerque Public Schools, you know two things:

  • APS is the city’s largest employer and 
  • We have some of the most dedicated professionals on our team.

Now it's time to give these employees the recognition they deserve through the Employee Recognition Program in its second year. 

APS has about 15,000 employees, including teachers, principals, counselors, nurses, IT techs, bus drivers, education assistants, custodians, cafeteria workers, secretaries, coaches, and many more. We have amazing professionals in our ranks who deserve a little attention, gratitude, and star treatment.

Congratulations to this month's honorees: 

  • Juan Alarcon, Head Custodian at Hawthorne Elementary School  
  • Stephanie Browne, Foster Care Point of Contact 
  • Mary Lujan, Secretary at Lew Wallace Elementary School 
  • Alma McBride, Family Liaison at Edward Gonzales Elementary School 

The honorees are being featured on the APS electronic billboards around town and will have an opportunity to lunch with Superintendent Reedy or her representative. They also will be recognized by the APS Board of Education and receive a lasting memento of the honor.

Learn More about September's Nominees

Juan Alarcon, Head Custodian at Hawthorne Elementary School

Juan Alarcon is a man of many trades. He offers help promptly and with a positive attitude. As he is doing his custodial duties during lunch, he interacts with the students, building relationships with many. He is such a positive male role model in their lives, says teacher Theresa Muxworthy who nominated him for the recognition. 

"He cares about them and tries to redirect them in positive ways. He is able to communicate with them in both English and their home languages. Juan is one of the superheroes at our school." 

Stephanie Browne, Foster Care Point of Contact 

At the start of the school year, APS received more than 200 last-minute requests from CYFD to process foster students in our schools. Stephanie Brown has worked non-stop from 7 a.m. to sometimes past midnight to process these students to ensure school stability for our students in foster care.

"I literally had to drag her t lunch so she would eat," said nominator Kristine Meurer, Executive Director of Student, Family and Community Supports Division. "She is one of the most dedicated employees APS has. She sincerely cares about students and is and continues to go way beyond the call of duty for some of our most vulnerable students." 

Mary Lujan, Secretary at Lew Wallace Elementary School 

"I don't know how Lew Wallace would even function for one little minute without Ms. Mary Lujan," said nominator and Principal Anne Marie Strangio. "She has been the secretary there long enough that she not only knows all the kids, but all their parents, and even most of their grandparents."

Mary has seen generations of students come through the school. She knows their likes and dislikes, all of their teachers, and what works best for supporting them. She gets the brunt of unhappy people coming in, and always responds with love and professionalism, diffusing even the most difficult situations. 

Alma McBride, Family Liaison at Edward Gonzales Elementary  

Alma McBride goes above and beyond for the students and staff at Edward Gonzales Elementary. She is always there to translate for Spanish speaking families, making them feel welcome at the school. She helps families navigate ParentVUE and online registration. She helps students get clothes from the clothing bank. She is a great resource for the whole school, including staff.

"She is an amazing asset to our school in so many ways," said nominee Lauren Arellano, the school's clerk. "She deserves to be recognized because she selflessly gives of her time off, coming in during the weekend to set up for events, and always has the best costume for our fall festival, often making it herself. She is an amazing seamstress." 


You likely know a deserving APS employee who makes us all proud. Someone who goes above and beyond, elevates their profession and demonstrates daily why the people who make public education possible are valued in our schools and homes.

Any individual who has been employed by Albuquerque Public Schools for six months or longer is eligible to be nominated for the Employee Recognition.

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.

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