Personal tools

Note: This news item is more than a year old. Browse for more current news.

News from 2022-2023

Posted: April 13, 2023

Meet the Winners of the 2023 Outstanding Volunteers in APS Awards

Honorees selected from pool of 48 nominees

Nora Frye and Andy Doan.

Nora Frye and Andy Doan.

National Volunteer Week and Global Volunteer Month are both in April and it’s time to celebrate and thank the thousands of dedicated volunteers in APS. These extraordinary volunteers set a great example to students every day. They inspire others to serve, and they help make a visible difference to students, families, teachers, and schools. 

The judging committee had the difficult task of selecting three out of 48 amazing volunteers who were nominated this year.

Outstanding TEAM Volunteer Award – Eisenhower Middle School Choir Boosters

Opening doors for students through music education, Eisenhower Middle School’s Choir Boosters spend hundreds of hours providing both financial and moral support for music education, including prioritizing access for all students. They helped sustain the program by supporting and funding innovative ways to keep students engaged in music education and in creating their own music during quarantine, and were key to ensuring a thriving comeback for the program once in-person learning resumed. 

Their impact spans every aspect of the choir program, including purchasing sheet music and texts, funding live streaming of concerts, and providing transportation, funding, and organization for field trips, competitions, and music camps that ensure access for all students, regardless of ability to pay.

Thanks to these volunteers, the choir program reaches far and wide. Boosters work with teachers to include discussion of music participation at parent-teacher conferences as a way to motivate students to achieve better academic and social-emotional outcomes. Their impact is felt by the entire school. They host fun, positive events and serve pizza and snacks at choir-sponsored events for all students like dances, carnivals, and choir shows.

They also encourage staff and community engagement by bringing teachers, volunteers, clinicians, future students, and former students together at choir concerts, weekend rehearsals, caroling, and singing opportunities across the city, assisted-living homes, and locally-owned restaurants. The Eisenhower Volunteer Boosters are:  

  • Karina Bell
  • Denise Marquez
  • Sarah Hahn
  • Melissa Spangler
  • Jo Anderson
  • Sally Epp
  • Stephanie Dhonau
  • Lyndsay Strong
  • Danielle McCarthy
  • Lori Martinez
  • Kayla Trussell
  • Tybi Finnegan
  • Tammy Brown
  • Sarah Raether
  • Chris McCutcheon
  • Marielena Quinlan

Outstanding Adult Volunteer Award – Nora Frye, Mitchell Elementary School 

Nora Frye’s service to children as a school volunteer follows her career as a school behavior redirector, therapist, and counselor. She leads the Mitchell Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization as president.

This role requires a solid commitment for any volunteer willing to take it on, but Nora does that and more. She also works as a library volunteer and plans school-wide events that focus on making all families feel welcome and connecting families to their children’s education.

Her experiences – and those of family members who teach – drive her understanding of how hard teachers and staff work and how important supporting that work is to making the elementary school experience for kids matter. Nora even writes grants to raise funding so that events are accessible to the high population of economically disadvantaged families at Mitchell. 

She organized and ran the school’s 60th birthday celebration, which included free admission, activities, and food. She solicits businesses to provide free books for Family Literacy and Engagement Nights, free dinner for all attendees of Math Nights, and organizes a Jog-a-Thon to raise money for the physical education department. 

Nora not only plans, organizes, and fundraises, she is always on hand to help set up events and stays afterward to help clean up. She encourages families to be involved by teaching them specific academic engagement strategies to do so. Her varied efforts are intentionally designed to help families and teachers work together to provide the best possible education and to reach every student at Mitchell.

Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award — Andy Doan, Albuquerque High School

Junior and senior years in high school are a busy time for most students but Andy Doan, a senior at Albuquerque High School, is motivated to find time to provide an important student voice to the school district’s wellness and health policies by serving on the District Student Health Advisory Council for the last two years.

Each year-long commitment meant he took on pre-work to independently learn and understand varied topics in order to actively participate in five meetings with school board members, district leadership, community and family members, and fellow students all coming together to discuss various topics.

Andy’s willingness to share his thoughtful insights as a high school student helps amplify the voice of all students. His efforts have allowed him to make a valuable contribution to bringing health-related opportunities that impact students throughout APS. Fulfilling his goal to provide a relatability that brings the health-related concerns, interests, and issues of the entire student body drives him to come prepared to engage in a pool of ideas and discussions important to student wellness. 

As a senior, Andy’s commitment is driven by the desire to make some district impact on important issues like family, school, and community engagement, nutrition, physical activity, physical education, health education, healthy and safe environment, school counseling/social and emotional wellbeing, health services, and staff wellness. With students at the core of all of the APS school district’s work, it is vital that their voice is included in policy discussions. Andy is a leader among his peers.

APS volunteers give their time, talent, voice, and resources to make a difference in students’ lives. Their extraordinary work demonstrates the power of individuals to change and improve our schools.