Four employees from Apache Junction Unified School District, Rosie Portugal-Brastad, Angelica Duarte, Julia Flor and Cathy Nazario, were recently named Classified (non-teaching) /Employees of the Month at the AJUSD Governing Board Meeting on April 14.
The women, who all work in different departments in the district, will receive $100 and a certificate. The honorees are nominated by their colleagues, and winners must be employed by the district for three years to be eligible to receive the award. Winners must exemplify one or more of the district’s core values of REACHING, which stands for Relationships, Equity, Accountability, Caring, Honesty, Inclusive, Nurturing and Growth.
Rosie Portugal-Brastad is the coordinator for Project Help. Portugal-Brastad has been with the district for nearly 14 years. She was described as embracing all the AJUSD Core Values with an emphasis on “Nurturing”.
A second nominator elaborated on Portugal-Brastad’s virtues: “Rosie works tirelessly to provide for the families in our district. Her energy and passion shines through when you talk to her. She works with our community to get donations and much needed funding to help our students, teachers, nurses and staff.
“Project Help wouldn’t be as successful if it weren’t for her hard work and dedication. She always has a smile on her face and has a positive outlook.”
Angelica Duarte works for Food Services and has been with AJUSD for nearly nine years. The person who nominated her wrote: “While Angelica could easily fall under any of our Core Values, she is the perfect example of having Equity in AJUSD.
“She reports to work every day with a smile and is ready to take on whatever the day brings. She strives to hold the perfect attendance record every year – and she has, for 8 years now! “She makes the students, staff and parents feel welcome when they enter the cafeteria, as she greets them with kind words and her signature smile. She truly is, “Our Kids, Our Community.”
Julia Flor has been a para-professional (teaching assistant) at Four Peaks Elementary School for four years. She was nominated by two different colleagues. They said the Core Values she exemplifies are accountability (for being accountable for her actions) and Equity (for treating others with equal respect.)
She is described by her peers as being able to meet the specific needs of her students. She is patient, hard-working and a technology whiz. She not only uses her technology expertise to helps the students, but the teachers as well.
Flor aspires to become a teacher and is on her way to becoming a great one.
Cathy Nazario has worked at The Learning Center (TLC) since 2007. She is described as demonstrating the Core Value of being Inclusive. Her colleagues describe her as someone who goes above and beyond her regular duties to make the TLC sparkling clean!
She loves all the children in the programs and makes sure that all the teachers have what they need! Her colleagues said, “We at the TLC love Cathy and think she deserves this award!”
The Classified Employees of the Month program is sponsored by AJ Moose Lodge #2039. When AJUSD sent out a request for sponsors to underwrite a recognition event for classified employees, Jerry Burgess, president of AJ Moose Lodge #2039 quickly jumped into action and agreed to completely fund the Classified Employee of the Year program (EOY).
The Moose Lodge went beyond the original request and also offered to provide $100 to a Classified Employee of the Month from January through April. From that pool of monthly winners, one will be selected Classified Employee of the Year and receive an additional award of $500.
The Moose Lodge’s donation will also help pay for the creation of a Hall of Fame showcase in the district office.
The EOY is a new addition to the Teachers of the Year and Rookie Teacher of the Year event, which the district launched in 2019 to recognize three outstanding veteran teachers and one teacher in his or her first year.
The ceremony was scheduled to be Monday, May 4, but has been postponed due to COVID-19. The event will be rescheduled at a later date.
For more information about AJUSD visit www.ajusd.org.