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ACPS Announces Four Support Staff Selected as VIP Award Winners

ACPS Announces Four Support Staff Selected as VIP Award Winners

The most recent recipients of the second annual Vision, Integrity and Passion (VIP) employee recognition awards have been selected. Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) is proud to announce the 2022-23 award winners in the category of support staff, which includes Central Office support, building-level support, administrative assistants, ACPS monitors and school security monitors.

  • Casonja Lee, administrative specialist for Alexandria City High School-King Street Campus.
  • Maria Portillo, security officer for Alexandria City High School-King Street Campus.
  • Linda Rodriguez, administrative specialist for the ACPS Office of Community Partnerships and Engagement.
  • Sheree Stephens, administrative specialist for Alexandria City High School-Satellite Campus.

Casonja Lee has worked for ACPS for 31 years and is a highly respected staff member. In nominating Lee, Alexandria City High School-King Street Campus (ACHS) Street School Counselor Dee Marrara said, “Not only is she an efficient, informed and helpful assistant with her ‘normal’ duties, but she goes above and beyond in regard to her relationships with our students. Ms. Lee is firm, but also loving and fair.” Marrara notes that Lee can always be found in the hallway between classes getting students to move along. “She has a terrific sense of humor that breaks through even the toughest of shells.”

Maria Portillo works each day to support and protect ACHS International Academy (IA) students and is known as “the rock” of the third floor at ACHS. With nearly 20 years of service, she is known as being consistently firm and fair with students. “She knows them by name and shepherds them to class. We struck gold with having her as our hall monitor in the IA,” IA Teacher Patricia Gordon said. “She inspires the people around her to be professional and the students feel safe around her,” English Learner Teacher Mijal Altmann added. IA Assistant Principal Michelle Campiglia also nominated Portillo, saying she is phenomenal at her job. “She consistently supports the International Academy through her steady presence, positive relationships with students and willingness to collaborate with staff and administration.”

Linda Rodriguez has served ACPS for more than 27 years and is praised by Executive Director of Community Partnerships and Engagement Kurt Huffman as being essential to the success of his office and the entire division. “Ms. Rodriguez is a multi-skilled, committed team member,” Huffman said in nominating her. “She provides guidance and support as needed for our partnerships and civic engagement. She knows that creating a strong connection with team members is essential to the success of the program.” Cindy Centeno, external relations specialist, added, “her breadth and depth of knowledge of ACPS has helped me approach my job in a more holistic way and I feel so grateful that I get to share this time with her as colleagues.” Chief of School and Community Relations Julia Burgos said, “Ms. Rodriguez is a shining example of what it takes to be a staff member that is committed to having vision, integrity and passion. She is a guru with finance and shares her expertise to ensure that staff are accurate and in compliance, which supports integrity. Her vision for a well-oiled machine and an effective department comes through in all of her work and support.”

Sheree Stephens is called the GOAT — greatest of all time — and the heartbeat of the ACHS-Satellite Campus. With nearly 25 years of service in ACPS, Stephens is known for doing everything possible to support students, families and staff. “She has an amazing memory and will remember small details about students and families, using the information to help guide teachers and counselor interventions,” Satellite School Counselor Kristin Neil stated. “She is one of the most organized people I have ever met and never misses a beat. She is empathetic, insightful and a problem-solver.”

  • 2022-23
  • VIP Awards