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 an 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

APS All Stars for November 2022 Announced

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

APS is excited to announce the November 2022 APS All Stars, selected out of 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, bring a positive attitude to their work and go above and beyond to serve students. Congratulations to these individuals!

Veronica Perez Perea, Teacher, Arlington Traditional Elementary School
Caring, artistic, professional, knowledgeable and creative
Ms. Perez is an incredibly valued and admired member of the ATS community. Classroom teachers across the school remark on how inclusive and thoughtful Ms. Perez is in how she seeks to understand what is being taught in the classroom and then works to include these themes in her art classes.  Ms. Perez’s work has also been a model for developing a culturally diverse curriculum for ATS students inclusive of all the amazing cultures and communities that make up the fabric of the ATS student body. Anyone who walks into Ms. Perez’s classroom will see how she masterfully brings the vibrant world of art into her classroom while maintaining a safe and welcoming space for all learners. We are lucky to have her at ATS.

Charlotte Hoffer, Teacher, Ashlawn Elementary School
Dream Team Colleague!
Ms. Hoffer is what any teacher would want on a Dream Team. Putting student learning first, Charlotte always strives to dig deep into the curriculum to teach rigorously. She understands the needs of all the students in her class and finds ways to adjust small-group instruction. Her leadership role in CLTs helps build others on her team.  Teachers don’t just need to know the curriculum inside and out and deliver it in a way that students understand, but they must also possess the art of teaching. Ms. Hoffer not only has all of that but finds time to equally balance raising a toddler and a pre-schooler at home.

Teresa Smiroldo, Administrative Assistant, Arlington Science Focus School
Dedicated, hard-working, and invaluable to ASFS
Ms. Smiroldo has been an invaluable member of the ASFS team for the last 12 years. I have been fortunate to work with her for the last 10 years both as a parent, PTA President, and now as part of the front office team. She is incredibly dedicated to supporting the entire ASFS community and always goes above and beyond to keep our school running smoothly every day.  She works seamlessly with school administration, teachers and staff, as well as the PTA and members of the community to provide support for our school. Ms. Smiroldo is incredibly hard-working and organized and manages such a long list of duties. She is one of the first staff members in the building every day, greets everyone with a smile and is always very kind and supportive in all of her daily interactions.

I have been fortunate to get to know Ms. Smiroldo as a parent and PTA lead – we have worked together closely for the last four years while I was PTA President.  She is a wonderful role model and has played an important role in building community with our PTA, parents, and staff. This year, I am lucky to work with her in the ASFS office, where she is an incredible role model, and I learn something new daily from her.  She brings positivity and joy to the ASFS community, and we would love to recognize her for all the amazing qualities that she has.  Thank you for considering Ms. Smiroldo as an APS All Star!

Alexis Robinson, Teacher, Long Branch Elementary School
Dedicated, kind, student-centered, BRIGHT and patient
Ms. Robinson is an all-star in every way because she keeps her students at the center of everything she does and her students love and trust her. She is calm and caring and has the trust and respect of her students, both past and present. My son had challenges with attention and could not sit still, and she took him under her wing, took him on walks around the school and let him stand when others sat because that’s how he learned best. She befriended him and the other kids in the class. She checked on him even after he left her class and moved up to another grade. She remembers his birthday and reaches out.

Ms. Robinson makes every kid in the class feel special and finds a way to bring out their gifts, help them read, and to engage them in their learning. She is an amazing teacher with many gifts that touch the lives of her students and their families.

Ann Irby
Professional!Excels! Wonderful personality!

I love Ms. Irby!  I never get any complaints about Ann, everyone loves her.  She knows her stuff, no matter what you ask her, she has the answer; even if the question is outside of her specialties, say retirement or workers’ comp, she will help.   Although it is highly discouraged for an employee just to drop in without an appointment, it happens frequently.  I call Ms. Irby and she answers, “I’ll be right out!”

She makes the employees feel that APS appreciates their service and loyalty to Arlington Public Schools.  She will be a HUGE loss to APS when she retires at the end of this year.

APS All Stars Announced for October 2022

APS is excited to announce the September 2022 APS All Stars, selected out of nearly 200 outstanding staff nominees!

APS is excited to announce the September 2022 APS All Stars, selected out of nearly 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!


Latoya Hill, Administrative Assistant at Tuckahoe

Tuckahoe is very grateful for Ms. Hill. She embodies what it means to be an APS All Star. The work she does for our school every day goes above and beyond her job description. And everything she does, she does with a smile.
Ms. Hill is an under-the-radar, behind-the-scenes helper. She is a quiet problem solver who regularly makes magic happen to ensure the day runs smoothly for our entire school. She starts her day juggling impossible tasks, including finding substitute coverage for staff who are out or for meeting coverage, setting up laptops and substitute plans for guest teachers, and taking care of anything that needs to be done for the day. She works tirelessly and will do anything to support our staff, from ordering supplies overnight, to helping students, to covering recess duties. She is knowledgeable about all the ins and outs of our school and is patient with everyone she comes across no matter how much work is on her plate.
Ms. Hill helps every staff member, substitute, parent and student who walks into this building. She is a powerhouse whose hard work allows our school and our staff to be able to focus on the work we are here to do – to educate our students. Thank you, Ms. Hill! You are a true APS All Star!

Eileen Gardner, Principal at Nottingham
Dr. Gardner has a mantra that “everything is figure-outable” which (as simple as it sounds), is SO NECESSARY for administrators. She is a resource for teachers, students, and families in our school community. She encompasses everything you’d want to see in a principal- she is knowledgeable, resourceful, caring, and compassionate.
Dr. Gardner knew “every student by name, strength, and need” before that was even an initiative by APS at large and is like an encyclopedia Britannica on the students in our school. We marvel at her ability to recall facts, anecdotes, or academic information on students at the drop of a hat. I am thankful that I get to work alongside her and learn from her each day.

Catherine Ackleson, Instructional Assistant at Cardinal

I have worked with Ms. Ackleson for 7 years at both McKinley and Cardinal Elementary Schools. For the past 2 years, I have had the privilege of working with her for most of our day in second and now third grade. Throughout my work alongside her, I have experienced how she embodies all the good qualities of an amazing educator. She is positive, committed and considerate. Each day, Catherine’s enthusiastic personality and determination can be seen, felt and heard at Cardinal. Ms. Ackleson is a pillar of our community, school, special education team and my classroom.

What sets Ms. Ackleson apart from other staff members at APS is her unmatched passion, positive attitude and drive to support students in our community.

Joshua Bruno, Teacher at Swanson
Mr. Bruno’s priority is his students- on both the academic front and the emotional front. He is the best math teacher I have ever had. I understand his process and can follow his way of teaching. He slows down to ensure 100% of the class gets that skill.
Moreover, Mr. Bruno is a teddy bear. He cares for all his students. As a student of special education, I can tell that he cares. Mr. Bruno is very much worthy of an APS All Star.

 

Daniel Castillo, Specialist at Arlington Community High School

Mr. Castillo is the go-to for so many things at Arlington Community High School. He can help with almost anything! He is approachable and helpful. He treats all students and staff with respect.

From technology support to school videos, to metro card assistance, to translating… Mr. Castillo does it all effectively and with a smile! He is a true APS All Star.

APS All Stars Announced for September 2022

APS is excited to announce the September 2022 APS All Stars, selected out of nearly 200 outstanding staff nominees!

APS is excited to announce the September 2022 APS All Stars, selected out of nearly 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!


 

Cecilia Allen, Teacher
HB Woodlawn
Enthusiastic, selfless, considerate, and generous.
Cecilia gives her heart and soul into H-B, APS, and the surrounding Arlington communities. She goes above and beyond for each one of her students and deserves some recognition for all she has done over the years. Cecilia continuously advocates for everyone in the school to pursue their academic, and personal, goals and dreams. She is a positive influence for all H-B staff and never fails to put a smile on our faces each day. 

Matilde Arcineigas, Teacher
Escuela Key
Tireless, Advocate, Passionate, Supportive, Leader
I have been fortunate to work alongside this dedicated teacher for over 23 years. Ms. Arcinegas is a first-grade teacher and has shown dedication to her students and their families every year. She has taken on leading the FACE team and is so passionate about finding ways to include every single family. Her tireless efforts have helped create a school community where we truly are partners with our families and they feel valued and part of the team. She is also an avid Boston Red Sox fan so that automatically should make her an all star! 

Michelle Jackson, Instructional Assistant
Barrett
All- Encompassing, Dedicated, Fun, Passionate, Trusted- Partner
I am a “Specials” science teacher that instructs students while the homeroom teacher attends CLT meetings and planning. I am fortunate that when the Functional Life Skills class comes to Science, Ms. Jackson is there to support the students. She has gone above and beyond to support me as I learned new skills to teach students with severe learning and physical challenges. She makes learning fun for the students (and me) with her high energy, positive attitude. Ms. Jackson inspires me with her patience and her passion and how deeply she cares about her students. She developed a special bond with two fifth grade students who she has been teaching since kindergarten. The students respond so well to her, and she is always there for them. Ms. Jackson’s passion, patience and dedication embodies the APS vision of an inclusive community that empowers all students to foster their dreams, explore possibilities and create their futures. 

 

Willie Garner, Instructional Assistant
Hoffman-Boston
Positive energy
Mr. Garner works with special ed pre-k students and is so dedicated to helping better their education and their lives. He brings positive energy to everything he does and always brightens people’s day.  You can find him at the front door greeting each of his students by name.  He is often the “safe person” for his students when they are distressed or need support.  Students know he genuinely cares about them. Mr. Garner is reliable and communicative and makes sure that the needs of students always come first.  He has begun taking classes for a Masters in Special Education and will make a great SPED teacher.  His not-so-hidden talent – he’s an amazing dancer.

 

Wendy Pilch, Director of Elementary Education
Syphax
Dedicated, advocate, problem-solver, positive, irreplaceable!
Ms. Pilch is an exceptional leader who cares deeply about ALL students and devotes all of her time to work directly with school leaders to ensure that learning environments are reflective of her belief in ALL students.  Very rarely is she in her office at Syphax but rather lives in her schools. From weekly meetings with new principals, having courageous conversations with instructional staff, consulting with an irate parent to doing bus duty, nothing is too big or small for Ms. Pilch!  Her “whatever it takes” attitude influences anyone who is in her presence and we are so fortunate to have someone of her caliber on our team!

APS All Stars for July 2022 Announced

APS is excited to announce the July 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 July 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!


Monica Roache, Assistant Principal, Jamestown

Words to Describe This APS All Star: Positive, Professional, Teammate, Committed to Students
About this APS All Star: The nominator wrote, “I don’t think Dr. Roache ever sleeps! She is committed to Jamestown and the greater APS at large. Outside of school, she is also a leader within her neighborhood and a passionate member in her sorority. At Jamestown, Dr. Roache models professional behaviors and personal integrity in all her interactions. She remains calm in difficult situations and has hard conversations when needed. She is a champion for building a positive school environment, working to bring staff together for fun and entertaining whole school staff events. Dr. Roache establishes a climate of trust and teamwork, developing meaningful working relationships with staff and an excellent rapport with students and families by being fair, caring and respectful. What I appreciate most about Dr. Roache is that she is a loyal teammate, who supports the mission and vision of Jamestown, and will do everything she can to ensure the smooth operation of the school daily and the overall well-being of all our students and staff throughout the year.


 

Lourdes Sotomayor, Teacher, Washington-Liberty

Words to Describe This APS All Star: Enthusiastic, Student-Centered, Knowledgeable, Innovative, Dedicated
About this APS All Star: Ms. Sotomayor is the “go-to” science teacher at Washington-Liberty. She is knowledgeable and always available to help other teachers. She is an expert in Biology and teaches IB Bio HL. However, she is also an expert on teaching all levels of Biology and Chemistry!! She has at times taught several biology courses. She does innovative hands-on labs and has written numerous grants to bring high-technology tools to W-L which benefit students of all levels. She decorates her room with posters highlighting scientists of all backgrounds and ethnicities, so all her students can see themselves as scientists. This summer, along with teaching summer school Biology, Ms. Sotomayor is working collaboratively with three other science teachers at W-L on a set of Science Project lessons that will guide students efficiently and equitably through the process that will be made available county-wide.As an academic team sponsor, Ms. Sotomayor guides a large group of students in practice and competition. The joy you experience if you come into her room for an after-school practice is palpable. Ms. Sotomayor is truly a superstar who even is working during the summer in summer school to help students pass the Biology SOL. They are truly lucky to have her as a teacher.


 

Tina McPherson, Instructional Assistant, Shriver
Words to Describe This APS All Star: Honest, Caring, Dedicated, Proud and Solid
About this APS All Star: Ms. McPherson is one of the most patient and caring people I have ever met. She is always willing to lend a helping hand and has the ability, patience, and inner personal skills to work with ALL students and staff. She is the definition of “putting students first.” In difficult and complex situations, she remains calm and collective. I have observed her lead morning meetings and adaptive PE classes. She greets every student by name and constantly finds ways to improve student learning.


 

Gabriela Rivas, Assistant Principal, Barcroft

Words to Describe This APS All Star: All about the kids, always!
About this APS All Star: Ms. Rivas is relentless in doing everything possible to make sure Barcroft students get what they need to be successful. This summer she took the responsibility and the initiative to get every student enrolled in summer school to attend summer school at Carlin Springs. She called families over the 4th of July weekend, she drove Mom’s and children without transportation to Carlin Springs and drove them home, she checked in on every student in their classroom during the first week of summer school, she problem solved with transportation to get every eligible student on a bus, and she met with individual summer school teachers to give them insights and ideas to best connect with our Barcroft eagles.  Because of Ms. Rivas, Barcroft students in summer school saw a smiling familiar face waiting for them knowing they matter, and their learning matters.


 

Kerry Abbott, Teacher, Abingdon

Words to Describe This APS All Star: Dedicated, innovative, engaging, thoughtful, charismatic
About this APS All Star: Ms. Abbott has been an essential member of Abingdon’s staff for nearly 20 years. She has served in roles ranging from classroom teacher to specialist and ITC. Her commitment to the Abingdon community has never wavered; she seamlessly integrates technology in meaningful ways and treats students like her own children.  Ms. Abbott creates an inclusive community where her students become family. She recently attended the wedding of a former fifth-grade student! This summer, she welcomed students from several other schools into her classroom with the same warmth and dedication she provided to Abingdon students for years.

June 2022 APS All Stars Announced

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

APS all stars logoAPS is excited to announce the June 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!

Renee Harber, Leadership, Trades Center 

 

Words to Describe This APS All Star: Leader, Positive, Integrity, Professional and Diligent
About this APS All Star: Ms. Harber is the true definition of an All Star. She is relatively new in her role as Assistant Superintendent, Facilities and Operations, but definitely not new to Arlington Public Schools providing service as a teacher and school-based administrator for over 20 years. In her short time within the Department of Facilities and Operations, she has already made a difference in so many ways. She has shown her leadership in helping to foster a more positive work culture and climate at the Trades Center and within her department, and she’s always thinking about her colleagues, students and families.  Ms. Harber took on a major project immediately when she stepped into her new role – organizing the bell time schedule study and navigating a significant, high pressure community engagement process. She worked through a high volume of Engage messages and School Board questions – this is a significant undertaking and Ms. Harber managed the project with professionalism, integrity and diligence. She took complex information about schedules, analyzed feedback and prepared and delivered Board presentations that made sense and were more easily accepted than they would have been without her leadership. We are fortunate to have her as a leader in APS. 


Patty Tuttle-Newby, Teacher, Dorothy Hamm Middle School

 

Words to Describe This APS All Star: Dedicated, Supportive, Helpful, ABSOLUTELY AMAZING
About this APS All Star: Ms. Tuttle-Newby gives everything to the staff and students at DHMS. Not only is she an outstanding teacher, but she really goes above and beyond to support each one of her students.  She sees where they have challenges, meets them where they are and really helps them to rise to their potential.  Additionally, she has truly supported the DHMS staff with her outstanding work making our TA program cohesive, user-friendly, and beneficial. She doesn’t have to do what she does with our TA program, but she has taken on this role and our school is better because of it and her.


Megan Sorrell, Teacher, Drew Elementary School 

Words to Describe This APS All Star: Caring, Intentional, Supportive, Knowledgeable, Safe
About this APS All Star: I am nominating Ms. Sorrell who serves as a reading specialist for kindergarten and first grade students at Drew Elementary.  Each day, Ms. Sorrell comes to work to ensure that these students are growing as readers. When you see Ms. Sorrell working with her small groups of students, they are always engaged and feel safe to take risks.  Ms. Sorrell loves to talk about the growth of her learners as readers and her excitement is contagious. Ms. Sorrell’s love for the students is evident in how she intentionally prepares for their literacy growth. It is a joy to watch the confidence of the students as Ms. Sorrell tells them much they are growing as readers! 


Joanna Yamashita, Teacher, Montessori Public School

Five Words to Describe This APS All Star: Caring, professional, exceptional team player
About this APS All Star: My kids don’t qualify for gifted services, but our gifted teacher works with everyone in our school! Ms. Yamashita reaches into every classroom to help students practice creative ways to think about problems.  Last year, she was a familiar face during virtual school, providing outside-the-box activities for each class and offering enrichment lessons for individuals that went beyond what was in the core curriculum. She was a huge supporter of the rest of her teaching team- creating content to supplement their work and perhaps even giving them a chance to walk away from the screens for a few minutes.  Recently, she pulled one of my children to work one-on-one on material that he fell behind on during virtual schooling. I know some parents have felt a lot of pressure trying to get their kids access to gifted services, but I’m grateful to be in a place where the gifted teacher provides support for gifted students while nurturing everyone else’s gifts as well.  I would not know about some of Joanna’s work with my child if I didn’t spot them working in the hall, and I was just so touched at the level of care that she brings to all her students. Both my kids get so excited when they know Ms. Yamashita is going to be teaching them a lesson. She’s one of so many All Stars at APS, and I’m so grateful she is at MPSA!


Thai Nguyen, Food Services Specialist, Syphax Education Center

Words to Describe This APS All Star: Hardworking, Supportive, Passionate, Approachable, Caring
About this APS All Star: Mr. Nguyen has been a mentor to me and countless other employees in the food service department. He arrives early for work every day. He is always ready to pitch in and help everyone. He is always there for all his staff, and always goes above and beyond to provide the best service to students and staff! His loyalty, dedication and hard work are evident as he visits schools to ensure that meals are ready to be served and staff has the support, they need to be successful. His humor and attitude strengthen our food service team and make it a pleasure to come to work to serve our students. Mr. Nguyen is a true and authentic 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. 

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!