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Success Maker award recipient Samantha Hammer, center, is joined by award sponsors Tate Branch, right, of Tate Branch Auto Group, and TBAG employee Jason Ebert at Monday’s school board meeting. (Teresa Lemon – Daily Press)

Hermosa Elementary School special education assistant Samantha Hammer was the recipient of the “Success Maker” award for September at Tuesday’s meeting of the Artesia Public Schools Board of Education.

Hammer was presented with a check for $500, a plaque, and a bouquet of flowers from Tate Branch Auto Group. She was recommended for the honor by Elisha DeHoyos, Hermosa first-grade teacher, who wrote, “Thank you for always being helpful in my classroom. You help in so many ways, you go out of your way to work with everyone else’s schedule and to help students in need.”

“I am very honored to say thank-you to Samantha; she is one of our special education assistants, and we work her like a teacher,” said APS Special Education Director Cody Hanagan. “She does a Sunday reading program and is very effective at doing that. She is very diligent in working with the students, and she is very perceptive of their needs.

“We appreciate you for all that you do, and there couldn’t have been a better recipient.”

“We are glad that Samantha is a huge part of our success at Hermosa and the district,” said APS Superintendent Dr. Crit Caton.

In other business, the board received a report from Assistant Superintendent for Federal Programs and Instruction Danny Parker on the ACT testing results for the Class of 2017.

Parker reported the national average on composite scores was a 21, the New Mexico average 19.7, and the AHS Class of 2017 had an average of 19.92. The participation average was 60 percent nationally, 66 percent statewide, and 72.4 percent among the AHS class. Parker also reported the highest score for Artesia’s Class of 2017 was a 31, which is in the 97th percentile for the test.

Assistant Superintendent of Operations Thad Phipps received the board’s approval to replace the gymnasium roof at Hermosa Elementary in the amount of $66,493.36; to purchase new welding equipment for the AHS welding shop in the amount of $28,954.42; to purchase five Aquos boards to be used throughout the district for $25,292, which will be funded by a private donor; and to upgrade the elevator at Park Junior High School in the amount of $98,305.

Caton reported the resignation of Brenda McKnight, special education diagnostician at Yeso Elementary School, and the employment of Stephen Franklin, electives teacher, Park Junior High; Anna Herrera, special education assistant, Central Elementary School; and Joe Vega, custodian, Zia Intermediate School.

Caton also reported the fire alarms had been activated at Yucca Elementary School twice Monday morning due to residual oil from the installation of two new HVAC units earlier in the year. He said the units had not been used for heating until Sunday evening, when the temperatures dropped and one unit came on, causing the oil to smoke. That set off the first alarm, and after it had been cleared and no fire was detected, the other unit activated with the same results.

Caton said the smoke had been cleared from the school, and there was no danger to the building or its occupants.

The board adjourned to executive session to discuss the purchase of property prior to the meeting’s conclusion.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the APS board will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, in the Lowell M. Irby Board Room at the Administration Building.