APS All Stars

All Stars LogoWelcome to APS All Stars!

APS is highlighting five outstanding staff members each month all school year long to recognize the many ways staff make a difference in our community and to highlight their great work.

These individuals demonstrate excellence in collaboration, equity, inclusivity, integrity, innovation and stewardship. They are the members of your team who are the first to pitch in, who bring a positive attitude to their work, and go above and beyond to support their colleagues, and to serve students and families.

They also embrace the mission and vision of APS to ensure all students learn and thrive in safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments. (Mission)

All employees (of every scale and employee group) are eligible for nomination. These are employees who make a difference and contribute to creating an inclusive, supportive learning community that empowers all students, no matter their role or position. (Vision)

As a token of appreciation, APS All Stars will receive a $75 Amazon gift card (graciously donated by Amazon), a photo opportunity with the superintendent and a meal on the superintendent with other All-Stars.

Nominate an APS All Star

May 2022 All Stars Announced

APS is excited to announce the May 2022 APS All Stars, selected out of over several hundred outstanding staff nominees! These individuals demonstrate excellence in collaboration, equity, inclusivity, integrity, innovation and stewardship.

APS all stars logoAPS is excited to announce the May 2022 APS All Stars, selected out of over several hundred outstanding staff nominees! These individuals demonstrate excellence in collaboration, equity, inclusivity, integrity, innovation and stewardship. They are members of the APS team who are the first to pitch in, who bring a positive attitude to their work, and go above and beyond to serve students. Congratulations to these individuals!


Karen Anselmo, Assistant Principal, Campbell Elementary School
Words to Describe This APS All Star: She keeps the school running smoothly.
About this APS All Star: Ms. Anselmo has been the constant at Campbell since 1994, as a teacher and then Assistant Principal. She has run summer school for 15 plus years, often at Carlin Springs. She is a great logistical thinker- schedules are her superpower.  Karen has kept Campbell safe and productive during Covid. She manages schedules, contact tracing and Covid PPE. Staff members often go to her to solve problems in creative ways. She has truly been the stable rock at Campbell since the school opened in 1994.  We appreciate all she does for our students and staff, and she is so deserving of recognition but never expects it – she does it for the students and our community.

Gerardo Mendiola, Maintenance Supervisor, Oakridge
Words to Describe This APS All Star: Cheerful, responsive, and hard-working
About this APS All Star: Mr. Mendiola (Mr. G) plays an essential role in planning for and maintaining the safety and security of the school by providing a clean, safe, and comfortable learning environment for the students, staff, families, and the school community.  What makes Mr. G special? His commitment to his work, integrity, and trustworthiness has earned Mr. G’s respect from the Oakridge community. Most importantly, Mr. G is a star in making connections and building positive and professional relationships with colleagues and professional teams at APS.

Almarie Campbell, Teacher, Gunston Middle School
Five Words to Describe This APS All Star: Helpful, kind, smart and caring
About this APS All Star: I’m nominating Ms. Campbell because she is by far the best teacher I’ve ever had. She does what’s best with all her students and creates a bond and a safe space for students who need anything.  She wants what’s best for us which is why the work we get from her is always so helpful and understanding. She makes us feel at home in her classroom and she’s very safe and clean especially during this pandemic.  Ms. Campbell is always offering help whenever needed and before going over something she makes sure everyone understands. She is preparing us with the best way and resources possible for the SOL. I love when she shares stories to us also and gives life lessons as well. We have SEL lessons on Tuesdays which some kids don’t like but Mrs. Campbell makes it so fun, entertaining and helpful.  I love Ms. Campbell and she is certainly setting us up for success and much more. Thanks to Mrs. Campbell I am confident in math than ever before as well as next year in algebra.

Jeremy Siegel, Coordinator, Jefferson Middle School
Five Words to Describe This APS All Star: Does everything for TJMS!
About this APS All Star: Mr. Siegel is the TJMS activities coordinator, but his day-to-day role is so much more. He can be seen covering classes, running mentoring groups, helping with the SCA, and of course, facilitating the massive number of after school events TJMS offers.  He cares deeply for our students and their health and well-being, and he always makes sure TJMS is a fun place to learn. Our school would not be the same without him!

Krystina Lange, Teacher, Arlington Tech at the Career Center
Five Words to Describe This APS All Star: Energetic, creative community builder
About this APS All Star: Since Arlington Tech is a new program, its ability to develop a sense of community has been limited and was curtailed by the pandemic. As we emerged out of virtual schooling this year, Ms. Lange’s leadership of the AT student Culture Team has been crucial in creating events that has the school community excited to be together.  From an amazing Halloween Graveyard Smash with fun activities for all the attendees (including the differently abled and neuro-diverse) despite pouring rain that day, to the Arlington Tech TechTastic event before winter break incorporating engineering skills resulting in marble run and CanStruction creations (which resulted in a 3,000 can donation to AFAC as well). She keeps going and already has a Family Trivia Night under the belt and is currently planning for a Spring dance.  Arlington Tech families are so grateful that our students can experience school togetherness with such fun and exciting events since we do not have the traditional school milestone activities available at the home high schools. Ms. Lange has embraced Arlington Tech’s nature as an unconventional program and raised it. We love Ms. Lange!

April 2022 APS All Stars Announced

APS is excited to announce the April 2022 APS All Stars, selected out of over several hundred outstanding staff nominees!

APS all stars logoAPS is excited to announce the April 2022 APS All Stars, selected out of over several hundred outstanding staff nominees! These individuals demonstrate excellence in collaboration, equity, inclusivity, integrity, innovation and stewardship. They are members of the APS team who are the first to pitch in, who bring a positive attitude to their work, and go above and beyond to serve students. Congratulations to these individuals!

 

Joyce Jordan, Extended Day, Randolph Elementary School

Words to Describe This APS All Star: Supportive, Kind, Great Listener, Understanding, Dedicated
About this APS All Star: Ms. Jordan has worked for Extended Day and served the community for 34 years. She is looked up to as a leader and a role model, and our teachers, parents, staff and the students feel her passion, her positive energy and the welcoming vibe when she greets them. She is a true leader who has a passion for helping her students and her colleagues, and she brings a caring, calm and joyful spirit to work. This means so much to our community and especially to the kids at Randoph who depend on her. During her career, Ms. Jordan has handled many challenging situations. She is a good listener and allows each person to tell their side in a calm, peaceful manner. In all these ways, Ms. Jordan has helped to build an incredibly supportive and caring culture among the staff and students in the Extended Day program at Randolph.


Chris Gillespie, Teacher, Wakefield High School

Words to Describe This APS All Star: Inclusion and kindness for all
About this APS All Star: Mr. Gillespie has gone above and beyond to make my daughter feel welcome and included in his theater class. She is struggling with school-based anxiety but when she attends theater, she transforms into a self-assured, confident person. His extremely kind, calm demeanor puts her at ease, and he makes concerted efforts to connect with her to ensure she is comfortable and can perform at her best. He has been a crucial link in her success at reintegrating into school. The psychosocial support he provides students is invaluable in ensuring student success and we have experienced this firsthand.  Mr. Gillespie, it is clear from this and the other nominations that you are a true hero and a great role model in this community. You go out of your way to inspire and empower your students to be their best. Thank you for all you do.


Juana Love, Instructional Assistant, Fleet Elementary School

Five Words to Describe This APS All Star: Committed, creative, compassionate, modest, perceptive
About this APS All Star: Ms. Love is impossible to fully encapsulate with words.  She is “love.”  She has dedicated nearly two decades to championing for the academic success of the deaf and hard of hearing students in Arlington’s DHH elementary program.  She is early to arrive, late to depart; she diligently documents student data, as well as reports relevant observations; she encourages and advises her co-workers with her gentle wisdom, and she creates trusting and empathetic relationships with each unique student. Ms. Love also speaks Spanish, so she acts as an unofficial liaison between the program and parents. When students struggle academically, she works to identify new approaches for instruction with the teacher and offers her own time.  I cannot imagine running the program without Ms. Love.  She is the truest All-Star I have ever met.


Ramona Harris, Administrative Assistant, Syphax Education Center

 

Five Words to Describe This APS All Star: Exemplary, dedicated, perfectionist, indispensable, helpful
About this APS All Star: In her tenure at APS, Ms. Harris has seen many Assistant Superintendents of HR come and go and she makes sure that every transition is smooth and seamless.  Ramona is a perfectionist in all aspects of her work, and she serves as a wonderful example of excellent service to others – always thorough, helpful to APS staff, and service-oriented in her work. Phones never go unanswered, calls are returned immediately, and the response to emails could not be better. Ramona often works weekends or during breaks. Even though she has constant interruptions, she stops what she is doing and pleasantly addresses the new issue that has been brought to her attention.  In all my years of knowing Ms. Harris, she is always dressed professionally and exudes a professional demeanor.  I have never seen her anything but calm, even though her job is very stressful.  I believe that she should be recognized as the “All-Star” she is.


Sara Daniel, Webmaster & Design Supervisor, Syphax Education Center

Five Words to Describe This APS All Star: Meticulous, strategic, responsive, analytical, reliable
About this APS All Star: Ms. Daniel is gifted in all that she does — she works quietly, quickly and diligently to produce great graphics and design work, ensure the website is accessible and up-to-date, format and design publications, and oversees our School Talk communications system. Ms. Daniel is analytical and solutions-oriented in her work, making her a go-to for other departments and school-based staff – they know that if they reach out to Sara for help, they will get honest advice and a high-quality work product. Sara has played an important role in establishing a great brand image for APS through the years, and she trains many staff across the division not just on the website, but on how to make their information accessible, clear and visual. She also helps staff and community members navigate and use School Talk and the Intranet. Speaking of the intranet, it never would have happened without Ms. Daniel! True star!

March 2022 APS All Stars Announced

APS is excited to announce the March 2022 APS All Stars, selected out of over 400 outstanding staff nominees! These individuals demonstrate excellence in collaboration, equity, inclusivity, integrity, innovation and stewardship.

APS all stars logoAPS is excited to announce the March 2022 APS All Stars, selected out of over several hundred outstanding staff nominees! These individuals demonstrate excellence in collaboration, equity, inclusivity, integrity, innovation and stewardship. They are members of the APS team who are the first to pitch in, who bring a positive attitude to their work, and go above and beyond to serve students. Congratulations to these individuals!


Chris McDermott, Teacher, Williamsburg Middle School

Five Words to Describe Employee: Caring, enthusiastic, inclusive, stimulating, inspiring

chris mcdermott, APS staff and studentsWhy they are an APS All Star:  Mr. McDermott connects with his middle school students like no teacher I have ever seen. He inspires them to be good people and to love learning. He goes beyond his job requirements to create students who to want to learn by treating them with respect, providing them with enthusiasm, and presenting them with academic material in a way they enjoy. He has taught my son to love world geography and also has given him a new appreciation for music at the same time. He has helped my son find the confidence you sometimes can lose while in middle school. He is a teacher my son will always remember and I am so thankful as a parent to have encountered him at WMS. Additionally, your principal highlighted your dedication, your excellence as a teacher and just how much you contribute to making Williamsburg a great place to learn! Thank you for bringing so much positivity to the community.


Kristen Patterson, Extended Day, Discovery Elementary School

Five Words to Describe Employee: A calm, caring, champion of kids
kristen patterson and aps staff posing for photoWhy they are an APS All Star:  Ms. Patterson is invested in every child with whom she works. She carefully plans activities and ensures student safety. She is ALWAYS willing to help out in any way. She worked with several students during the Pandemic during the Phase 1 return to school. She is flexible and adapts to all situations. She is ALWAYS willing to go above and beyond. Since she has been assistant supervisor, teacher and parents have had positive comments about Extended Day.  Ms. Patterson, your work makes a true difference in the lives of our students and has made our Extended Day Program a wonderful place for the students to be. They are safe, supported and engaged in fun and learning while in your care and in the care of your team.


Alam Lainez, Bilingual Family Liaison/Instructional Assistant, Kenmore Middle School

Words to Describe Employee: Innovative, flexible and passionate
alam lainez, aps staff and a student posing for a photoWhy they are an APS All Star: Mr. Lainez is an amazing Bilingual Liaison and Instructional Assistant. Not only does he ensure that announcements sent to the community every morning are translated into Spanish, he helps to communicate with families regarding academic and behavior concerns. Because of his flexibility and willingness to work with students in small groups, he is responsible for helping about ten eighth-graders pass this year. His passion for math, as well as his passion for helping students be successful, has helped Kenmore students make up for some of the learning loss that was seen during the pandemic.


Lyzbeth Monard, Bilingual Family Liaison, Carlin Springs Elementary School

Five Words to Describe Employee: Passionate; innovative; resourceful; inclusive; forward-thinking.

lyzbeth monard and aps staff posing for a photoWhy they are an APS All Star: Ms. Monard is our Bilingual Family Liaison who puts families first. She works hard to ensure she is well informed and educated on all the fronts families may interact with the school (registration, communication, community resources, special education, assessments, report cards, mental health services, health services, after school enrichments, summer school, etc.). She thoughtfully and regularly shares out information with families in hopes our community feels well informed and empowered to engage with our school. Her passion is to support families in being true partners with the school. The foundation for her success is having strong relationships with families, community leaders and school staff so she can connect all parties successfully. We are so very lucky to have such talented BFL at our school and our school community is a better place because of her talents and dedication.


Morgan Payne, Pandemic Coordinator

Five Words to Describe Employee: Caring, dedicated, thorough and thoughtful

Why they are an APS All Star: Ms. Payne is recent graduate of George Washington University’s Miliken Institute of Public Health and was hired during the height of the pandemic to serve as the school division’s COVID-19 pandemic coordinator. Ms. Payne is an amazing young woman with so many talents that extend beyond her formal education; jumping into this temporary role as pandemic coordinator based on a referral, Ms. Payne has been able to learn quickly, implement swiftly and support all members of the community from her first day.  Morgan has been committed to helping students, families, and employees to ensure that everyone remains healthy and safe during these difficult times. Regularly going above and beyond her responsibilities, Ms. Payne has been able to recruit and train an additional four temporary staff that have supported pandemic response including contact tracing for over 4,110 positive cases and over 7,340 close contacts. In addition to all the response work Ms. Payne has led, she has also been passionate about ensuring health equity for our students and families by collaborating with the public health team to set up school-based clinics for vaccination. Supervising the administration of over 200,000 antigen or PCR tests, Morgan has provided opportunities for every member of the Arlington Public Schools community to live up to their APS All Star potential during a pandemic.

Ms. Payne was not available during our APS All Stars tour. She will be awarded in the near future. 

APS all stars logo

First Five APS All Stars Announced

APS is excited to announce the first APS All Stars, selected out of over 200 outstanding staff nominees! These individuals demonstrate excellence in collaboration, equity, inclusivity, integrity, innovation and stewardship.

APS all stars logoAPS is excited to announce the first APS All Stars, selected out of over 200 outstanding staff nominees! These individuals demonstrate excellence in collaboration, equity, inclusivity, integrity, innovation and stewardship. They are members of the APS team who are the first to pitch in, who bring a positive attitude to their work, and go above and beyond to serve students. Congratulations to these individuals!


Mariflor Ventura, Bus Attendant

Five Words to Describe Employee: Humanitarian, empath, community-builder, and neighbor

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From left: Mariflor Ventura, Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán

Why they are an APS All Star: Ms. Ventura embodies the bridge between newly immigrated Latino families and a homey life here in Arlington County. As a bus attendant, Ms. Ventura accounts for the safety of students of all ages and ability statuses. Ms. Ventura creates pathways for first-generation students by noticing if someone does not have winter attire and makes connections for properly clothing them. Ms. Ventura uses her Arlington neighbors network to provide adequate resources for enrolling students in school and in August 2021 organized a back-to-school drive.  In the early days of the pandemic, Ms. Ventura found herself staying home from work and getting to know her neighbors better. After realizing many around her were not getting paid, struggling to keep everyone fed, and surviving coronavirus, she began giving away pantry staples. A bag of rice and beans from her kitchen lead to a multitude of regular donors of food, diapers, clothes, and household items. Initially, she would stage free giveaways for neighbors on the curb in front of her apartment but now organizes her biweekly, community events at a local church. Ms. Ventura exemplifies an employee going above and beyond their job description of caring for students inside of a school bus.


Claire Peters, Principal, Innovation Elementary

Five Words to Describe Employee: Understanding, Supportive, Positive, Authentic, Kind

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From left: Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán, Claire Peters

Why they are an APS All Star: It is every teachers’ or school employees’ dream to work for a principal who treats you like a human. Ms. Peters does more than that. She’s created a school environment where staff, students and families WANT to be every day. As staff members she makes us feel like she has our back and no issue is too big, too small or too ridiculous to bring to her attention. She takes the time to work through problems and brainstorm solutions. Claire isn’t afraid to cover a recess duty or serve a lunch. If she’s asking a staff member to do it, she wouldn’t hesitate to do it herself. She is her true authentic self, and she treats each and every one of her staff members as people who have lives in and outside of APS.


James Sample, Teacher, Washington-Liberty High School

Five Words to Describe Employee: Compassionate, strong-willed, hard-worker, ingenious, and open-minded.

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From left: Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán, James Sample, Tony Hall

Why they are an APS All Star:  Those who work with Mr. Sample see firsthand his remarkable passion for service to his students, staff, parents and community. His authenticity, kindness, motivation, dependability, and work ethic make him an invaluable member of our school community. He is also a tireless advocate who, in every decision and action, asks himself, “What is in the best interest of this student?” Mr. Sample consistently displays a high degree of honesty, responsibility, and motivation. Mr. Sample has a keen eye and empathy for all individuals, adults, and students as we facetogether the issues of racial equity. He knows the nuances and obstacles we need to address in data collection and data dives to show the inequities and challenges BIPOC students face in our education system. James also looks for the gifts and talents of all the students he works with and seeks to find opportunities to grow their abilities.


Christina Smith, Teacher, Yorktown High School

Five Words to Describe Employee: Compassionate, dedicated, empathetic and hardworking 

Christina Smith
From left: Christina Smith, Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán

Why they are an APS All Star: Ms. Smith is an APS All Star because she has always gone above and beyond for her students. Just recently, she was sewing a hole in a jacket for one of her students who didn’t want to wear it. Ms. Smith gives tirelessly of herself to make sure students have food, clothing and get a great education. She is in constant contact with her students and their parents. Ms. Smith never stops working for students. She works with the summer program to help ELL’s bridge the gap of learning loss they may experience coming to a new county. Ms. Smith is a great teacher with a huge heart of gold.


Guillermo Moran, Maintenance Supervisor, Randolph Elementary

From left: Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán and Guillermo Moran surrounded by students
From left: Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán and Guillermo Moran surrounded by students

Five Words to Describe Employee: Hard-working, dedicated, responsive, kind, important

Why they are an APS All Star: Mr. Moran is the Head Custodian at Randolph and truly keeps the school running! He is ALWAYS working, always accessible and takes incredible pride in the work he does. Mr. Moran is extremely responsive to the needs of every staff member and quickly comes to help a staff member in need.  He is always smiling and positive, greeting everyone happily every day as he walks the hallways.  He is very present for our students…and can often be found playing soccer with our students at recess! Before school started, he came up with the idea to decorate the school to make it as welcoming as possible for students and staff and created and hung beautiful decorations down the main hallway.  It truly made everyone feel welcome and ready to start the year.  He just cares so deeply about Randolph and everyone he meets.

Mr. Moran was on vacation during our APS All Star tour and will be honored upon his return. 

Nominate an APS All Star today!