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School board recognizes BPA, basketball team

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Success Maker Award recipient Melissa Lopez stands with APS Superintendent Dr. Crit Caton, left, and award sponsor Tate Branch during Monday’s school board meeting. (Teresa Lemon – Daily Press)

The Artesia Public Schools Board of Education recognized the Artesia High School Business Professionals of America (BPA) students Monday for their recent qualifications to compete on the national level in Dallas in May.

“This is an excellent group of kids,” Jennifer Humble, BPA sponsor, said. “They worked hard, and when they weren’t competing, they had fun and were very respectful. I just knew I had a great group, and I’m so excited to take these 18 students to Dallas and to see what happens in the future.”

Melissa Lopez was named the Tate Branch Auto Group Success Maker for the month of February and was presented with flowers, a plaque, and a check by award sponsor Tate Branch.

Lopez is a second-grade teacher at Yeso Elementary School and was nominated for the award by Brooklyn Fuentes, who wrote, “I want to thank Mrs. Lopez for helping me on borrowing. It helps me a lot and thanks for helping me on starting thousandths and hundreths and also for helping me on reading. Love, Brooklyn.”

Lopez thanked APS Superintendent Dr. Crit Caton and the board for starting the award program.

“It’s such an uplifting thing for us, and I can’t tell you what it does for us when we get those in our mailboxes,” she said. “When we go in and we find a note in our mailboxes, it is so uplifting, and sometimes you don’t know if you’ve made a difference and then you get that little note and it’s just so heartwarming. It puts a smile on our faces.”

Caton also recognized the AHS basketball team by reading a column written by Daily Press sports editor Brienne Green in the March 11 edition of the Daily Press.

“I want Brienne to know how much I appreciate her and the community appreciates her for the positive support that she gives our kiddos,” Caton said. “Thanks to her for making it known that our kids are a class act.”

Caton went on to read to the board a text message that hand been sent to Cooper Henderson, APS athletic director, by Dusty Young, deputy director of the NMAA.

“I shared this with Coach Mondragon already, but I have sat through a couple hundred post-game media interviews here at The Pit over the years, and your coach and four of the kids just blew me away,” Young wrote. “Pure class. And after a tough loss like that, I was very impressed and wanted to pass the information on.”

In other business Monday, Assistant Superintendent of Operations Thad Phipps received the board’s approval to accept a $118,786.14 proposal from PVT for active directory services for the district.

Phipps also received approval to accept a bid from Rhoades Construction for $507,918.57 to replace the HVAC systems at Roselawn Elementary School; a bid of $947,909 to upgrade, replace and repair the “antiquated” intercom systems in the district; and a bid in the amount of $44,326.44 to install an irrigation control system for all districts campuses and playing fields.

Phipps was additionally given the go-ahead to obtain bids for electrical, HVAC and painting services for the district, which is done every three years, and to seek and obtain bids for food, fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, milk, and kitchen supplies, which is done annually.

Caton reported the retirements of Michelle McEachren, science teacher at Zia Intermediate School; Cindy Panzer, administration; Lonnie Ruiz, truancy officer at AHS; and Leann Wilson, kindergarten teacher at Grand Heights Early Childhood Center.

Caton also announced the resignations of Leslie Catano, Title I reading teacher at Roselawn Elementary School, and Carol Goss, registrar at Grand Heights, and the employment of Billy Delgado as custodian for Bulldog Bowl and Callie Garcia as registrar at Grand Heights.

The board reviewed the changes that had been suggested during the special board meeting last month on the future aquatic center, which included the addition of public restrooms separate from locker rooms and a coach’s office, as well as the depths of the pool itself and additional bleachers.

Caton reported the next step was to reach a joint powers agreement and/or a memorandum of understanding with the City of Artesia, and he said he will be in touch with the city to discuss such an agreement.

The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the school board will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, April 9, in the Lowell M. Irby Board Room at the Administration Building.

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