February 2023 APS All Stars Announced

APS is excited to announce the February 2023 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!

Raymond Ways-Ayala

Strategic, Energetic, Passionate, Helpful, and Empathetic
Mr. Ways-Ayala is the Lead School Safety Coordinator for our comprehensive high schools, supervising the teams working in Wakefield, Washington-Liberty, and Yorktown. In his first year at APS he has jumped right in making connections with students, staff and his co-workers. He is an exceptional supervisor and leader and helps make a positive impact in each school to ensure a safe and secure learning environment. His years of experience has enriched and benefits not only the Department of Safety, Security, Risk and Emergency Management, but also the entire APS organization.

Laura Kim

Caring, multi-tasker, dedicated, artistic, beloved by students
Mrs. Kim is an amazing EL teacher who does her best every day to connect with and encourage her students. She knows each student’s individual personality, likes/dislikes, strengths, and needs. The kids adore her for her kind, gentle way of speaking, and literally flock to her when she pushes into my room. She is also so supportive of her coworkers and is always willing to lend an ear when we are stressed or overwhelmed. In addition to listening, she is also wonderful at helping us problem-solve and delegate tasks to ensure we are working smarter, not harder.

Mrs. Kim is EVERYWHERE throughout the day, from the K-2 Interlude class to 3rd-grade Fundations to Kindergarten reading and back again! Plus she teaches VPI art! She is absolutely a rock star and we are so lucky to have her at Campbell.

Alesandra (Alie) Bakaj

Dedicated, passionate, intelligent, welcoming, helpful
Ms. Bakaj is one of the most dedicated teachers I know. In addition to teaching AP U.S. Government and Economics & Personal Finance, she has also taken on the position of Instructional Lead Teacher this year. She has approached this new role through an equity lens and has worked tirelessly to support colleagues as we seek to achieve greatness for our students. I know multiple students whose lives Alie has changed for the better through her combination of kindness and high expectations. Students enter her APUSH class nervous for the year ahead and leave it in June having grown as writers, historians, and humans. She is numerous students’ “Trusted Adult” at Yorktown, and spends countless hours during lunch and outside of school working to improve lessons and make sure all of her students have the opportunity to learn. As a colleague, I have grown immeasurably as a teacher with her as a role model and friend, and would not be half the teacher I am today without her guidance. She is an advocate for her students and goes above and beyond in making sure the school is a safe, welcoming space. Her classes are thorough and well thought out ensuring her students have engaging lessons and leave class with a firm understanding of the subject matter. She cares for her students like her own children and does whatever she can to help them succeed.

Lori Ockerman

A leader, kind, knowledgeable, gentle-hearted, and a giver of energy
Ms. Ockerman is a School Psychologist at WL and is one of the best parts of the student services team and department at WL. She has been a WL staple for years and brings a quiet and wise energy to every environment and meeting she is involved in. I personally cherish the SST, IEP, and 504 meetings I am in with Lori because not only does she bring the wisdom to explain a psychological report in a way that we can all understand, she also relays it in the kindest and gentle way to the team (and especially the student and family). When working with students, Ms. Ockerman has the patience and demeanor to bring anyone down from a heightened state. She is the queen of regulating.

Peter Anderson

A brilliant, exciting, inclusive teacher
I am nominating Mr. Anderson, because he exemplifies the goal of creating an inclusive, supportive learning community that empowers all students. He is a strong and vocal ally to LGBTQ+ students, and co-sponsors the GSA club. He has a diverse selection of books in his classroom library for all students to enjoy. He has a creative and engaging way of teaching, and is so well-informed on current best practices for inclusive teaching. Three of my children have had and loved Mr. Anderson, and my daughter who is currently in his class says that she wishes ALL her teachers were as fun as he is!