LAPS Service Award Recipients Honored

KarlaLos Alamos Public Schools Student Services Director Karla Crane is recognized for 40 years of service by Supt. Kurt Steinhaus. Photo Courtesy LAPS


Even though the first day back to school for Los Alamos Public Schools staff was different this year, the tradition of honoring staff for their years of service continued as Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus announced each service award recipient during school site remote meetings. Ninety employees were honored for 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years of service. Student Services Director Karla Crane was recognized for 40 years of service to the district.

“I don’t remember the exact date but it was at the beginning of the 1980-81 school year that I applied for a part-time job with the school district,” Karla said.  She had worked as a first grade teacher in Connecticut before having her own children and moving to New Mexico. “I interviewed with Peggy Jo Kruse who was the Director of Student Services at the time and I started work immediately as a half-time special education instructional assistant.

“My job was interesting because I went to a different elementary school each day and worked with the special education contact person to help with the documentation,” Karla explained. The duties associated with the accountability and management of special education programs and federal funds increased as did Karla’s responsibilities. She became a technical assistant and then an assistant director. In 2010, she was named to her current position. 

“The most rewarding part of the job is always seeing the ways in which the work we do benefits the students,” Karla said. “Students come in as preschoolers with no language and receive the supports they need to progress through elementary school and on to graduation and then to college.  Working with colleagues who are student-centered and share a common goal is equally rewarding.”

“We are honored to have such a dedicated and hard-working staff in the district,” stated Dr. Steinhaus. “Congratulations to all of our service award recipients and thank you for all that you do to help our students thrive.”

Other award recipients for 2020 (listed by school site) are:

Aspen Elementary

5 Year Awards: Aspen Oksana Draganic, Mark Guider and Jacqueline Salazar

10 Year Awards: Amy Gilbert and Pamela Miller

25 Year Award: Irene Porter

Barranca Mesa Elementary

5 Year Awards: Erin Manzanares, Kayoko Nettleton and Virginia Terrazas

10 Year Awards: Audrey Juliani and Nicole McGrane

Chamisa Elementary

5 Year Awards: Bridgid Brug and Craig Washnok

10 Year Award: Renee Mitsunaga

15 Year Awards: Justin Black, Robin Dinkel, Megan Lee, Teresa Mojica, Debra Snow and Deidre Thorn

20 Year Award: Kim Letellier

Mountain Elementary

5 Year Awards: Yasuko Singell and Jodi Smith

10 Year Awards: Brett Hawkins and Kris Martinez

15 Year Awards: Susan Bustos, Soledad Lopez and Sarah Schirato

20 Year Awards: Carissa Pittman and Donna Schaefer

25 Year Award: Bernadette Ziomek

Piñon Elementary

5 Year Award: Melissa Youssef

10 Year Awards: Ereyna Benelli and Suzette Williams

15 Year Awards: Renita George, Andrea Lynch, Carol Maestas and Sevetlana Martin

20 Year Award: Ivanna Austell

Los Alamos Middle School

5 Year Awards: Suzuko Halberg Brown, Lindsey Montoya, Gary Penny and Akiko Shiina

10 Year Awards: Sherri Bublitz, Kathleen Gonzales, Linda Harlow and Rebecca Smith

15 Year Awards: Denise Carson and Sandy Tobin

20 Year Award: Suzanne Lynne

Topper Freshman Academy/Los Alamos High School

5 Year Awards:, James Hatt, Melissa Laeser, Steven Montoya, Daryl Osden and Michelle Rosette

10 Year Awards: Melissa Goldman, Jill Gonzales, Mary Grace, Carter Payne, Rolenda Saunders, Shannon Seitz and Nikol Strother

15 Year Awards: Barbara Baker, Diana Bequette, Cindy Black, Charles Cotter, Kathy Hipwood, Stephanie Mitchell, Scott Newman and Svetlana Skurikhin

20 Year Awards: Louise Foliot, Mick Matuszak and Sigrid Wurthmann

25 Year Award: Michael Montano


5 Year Awards: Kay Dunn, Daniel Sanchez and Tony Vigil

10 Year Awards: Susan Odegard-Fellows and Joseph Vigil

15 Year Awards: Herb McLean, Santos Pacheco and Chris Smith

25 Year Award: Roger Gonzales

Central Office

5 Year Awards: Kurt Steinhaus and Jennifer Washnock

10 Year Awards: Debbie Brown-Bell and Leslie Gallegos

15 Year Awards: Phyllis Foley and Maria Elena Salazar

40 Year Award: Karla Crane