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News from 2022-2023

Posted: March 7, 2023

Outstanding Employees for March

This month's honorees include an educational assistant, a health assistant, a head custodian and a cafeteria manager

There’s no shortage of dedicated professionals at Albuquerque Public Schools.

For the fifth year, the district recognizes at least a few of these outstanding employees through the Employee Recognition Program.

All staff members employed for at least six months can be nominated, though we ask that you not nominate yourself.

March Honorees

  • Megan Neeson – Special education educational assistant, Bandelier Elementary
  • Lisa Vega – Health assistant, East San Jose Elementary
  • Darlene Saavedra – Head custodian, Armijo Elementary
  • Monique Tapia – Cafeteria manager, Double Eagle Elementary

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

Nominate an APS employee! 

Learn More About March’s Nominees

Megan Neeson – Educational assistant, Bandelier Elementary

Despite challenging circumstances, Megan shows up to work every day with a smile on her face, and she gives everything she has to her students. Megan is a special ed educational assistant at Bandelier Elementary who is also juggling a second job and two kids of her own.

“She has a true gift with even the most difficult kids and gives them the structure, support and tough love that they need,” says one of her colleagues. “I’ve never seen anyone calm down a seriously escalated student like she can. I have so much respect for her and the way that she handles herself in every situation.”

Another colleague describes Megan as the rock for the school’s entire special education program, someone who students respect and love.

“The whole school relies on her and she keeps things going with a smile and upbeat attitude,” she says. “We would be lost without her.”

Colleagues admire her “amazing work ethic” and her willingness to do whatever it takes to help her students.  

Lisa Vega – Health assistant, East San Jose Elementary

During the workday, Lisa is an “exceptional” health assistant at East San Jose Elementary who is known for her excellent management and organizational skills. But it’s what she does outside of her work hours that makes her really stand out.

“She cosponsors the Ballet Folklorico dance group at East San Jose on her own time, which often requires performing outside of school hours and on weekends,” one colleague notes. “In addition to teaching East San Jose students Mexican folk dances, Lisa also teaches the culture, history and origination of the dances.”

As if that’s not enough, she has also collaborated with her school nurse, the Community School Coordinator, and the UNM School Based Health Center to successfully write an APS Educational Foundation grant that supports health and bilingual literacy at the school. And she goes out of her way to boost morale among employees at East San Jose, serving on a committee that, among other things, hosts a monthly staff meal in the lounge.

Lisa has worked at APS for 22 years, 15 of those spent at East San Jose. She is taking college courses with the goal of becoming a nurse.

Darlene Saavedra – Head custodian, Armijo Elementary

She is described by one colleague as “the most uplifting person I interact with on a daily basis.”

Darlene is a head custodian who goes out of her way to meet the needs of staff and students, and she does it with a positive attitude.

“She is a friendly, smiley, responsible and kind colleague who always goes the extra mile to beautify our school,” her colleague says. “Darlene is a person you can count on all the time. She is called on the radio and she responds immediately with a pleasant voice willing to help.”

That same colleague describes Darlene as a “friendly busy bee” who “puts her heart in her daily job.” She’s attentive to students, noticing when one appears sad or something is wrong and pointing that out to staff so that they can ensure that their students’ needs are being met.

Monique Tapia – cafeteria manager, Double Eagle Elementary

As the cafeteria manager at Double Eagle, Monique keeps her kitchen running smoothly, demonstrating “excellent foresight of how to manage upcoming tasks and smooth over the daily challenges.

But where she really shines is in her ability to make kids feel welcome and comfortable in the hectic cafeteria setting, and she is able to do that through her friendly smile and caring demeanor, says one of her workers.

“Monique keeps our kitchen running smoothly but also adds personal touches to make the cafeteria warm and inviting with seasonal decorations,” the worker says.

How to nominate an employee

You can nominate an employee by filling out the Employee Recognition online application. Nominations must be completed by someone other than the nominee. Self-nominations are not eligible for consideration.

Award recipients will be selected monthly by a Peer Praise Task Force.