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Gilbert Public Schools announces the 2021-2022 Employee of the Year nominees

A collage of nine photos showing the surprise celebrations for the Employee of the Year semifinalists.

Every year, Gilbert Public Schools likes to honor the hardworking staff members who help our students excel in and out of the classroom. The success of our district would not be possible without the dedication and commitment of our employees to our GPS family. On March 31, 2022, the district will host our annual Employee of the Year celebration. It’s a time to pause, reflect, and recognize the notable achievements in all employee classifications - Teacher, Support Staff, and Administrators.

The nominees who were chosen by GPS schools and departments are highly effective in their role, inspire excellence in our students, have respect for our community, and continuously model leadership for those around them. This celebratory event acknowledges the contributions they make to provide the highest quality learning and working environment for our students, staff, and community.

Colleagues and loved ones will celebrate the nominees at the Employee of the Year ceremony next month. It will be held at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Phoenix-Gilbert. A total of nine semi-finalists were chosen from the incredibly accomplished group of nominees to represent administrators, support staff, and teachers. The three finalists, one from each category, will be selected on March 31. 


Congratulations to all 45 GPS employees who were nominated this year!  A special thank you to Sun Valley Builders, all of our sponsors, and the Highland High School Strolling Strings Orchestra. 


Support Staff of the Year Nominees

Tatia Power, Ashland Ranch Elementary

Karen Gomez,  Burk Elementary

Maria Rivard, Finley Farms Elementary

Lori Bustamante, Gilbert Elementary

Judy Clark, Harris Elementary

Vanessa Chrzan-Patel, Neely Traditional Academy

David Jimenez, Oak Tree Elementary

Laura Robinson, Playa Del Rey Elementary

Danny Contreras, Quartz Hill Elementary

Susan Palma, Settlers Point Elementary

Marlyn Batoon, Spectrum Elementary

Robin Anderson, Gilbert Classical Academy

Leticia Pineda, Mesquite Junior High

Marc Demicco, South Valley Junior High

Maria Deniz, Gilbert High

Valerie Nettgen, Mesquite High

Camille Recher, Professional Growth and Development

Stacey Baleme, Office Of Talent Management

Teacher of the Year Nominees

Lizbedt Yellon, Boulder Creek Elementary

Kirsten Taylor,Canyon Rim Elementary

Stephanie Grimmer, Carol Rae Ranch Elementary

Traci Trillo, Greenfield Elementary

Kristin Melton, Highland Park Elementary

Rebecca Caffall, Meridian Elementary

Sarah Wallace, Patterson Elementary

Lisa Nothnagel, Pioneer Elementary

Brenda Hardy, Sonoma Ranch Elementary

Ann Maldonado, Superstition Springs Elementary

Janet Miller, Towne Meadows Elementary

Monica Beus, Val Vista Lakes Elementary

Lisa Knapp, Desert Ridge Junior High

Jennifer Parsons, Greenfield Junior High

Suzanne Brown, Canyon Valley High

Stephanie Campbell, Desert Ridge High

William McPherson, Highland High

Audrey Jost, GPS Global Academy


Support Staff Semifinalists

Amy Daly, Islands Elementary 

Jacee Iannarelli, Campo Verde High School

Tyler Newman, Community Education


Teacher Semifinalists

Janelle Clower, Augusta Ranch Elementary

Sue Bunda, Highland Junior High

Robyn Gift, Special Education


Administrator Semifinalists

Jen Frost, Health Services

Dawn Koberstein, Mesquite Elementary

Barbara Torrey, Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment




Written by Kailey Latham