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More Than an Award: GPS Holds Annual Employee of the Year Recognition

More Than an Award: GPS Holds Annual Employee of the Year Recognition
Story by Tristan Chavez, Photos by Jonason Pauley
Dr. McCord Speaking

On Friday, April 26th, Highland High School buzzed with an atmosphere of celebration. Gilbert Public Schools (GPS) hosted its annual Employee of the Year ceremony, a dedicated space to honor and recognize the hard work and dedication of its incredible staff. From teachers and administrators to support staff and everyone in between, the event emphasized that each employee in every position is heard and appreciated.

“In our district, we truly believe it takes every single one of our employees to make GPS a special place to work and learn,” said Dr. Shane McCord, Superintendent at Gilbert Public Schools. “It is important to us to recognize and celebrate all the different people and roles it takes, working together every day, to make a positive difference in the lives of our students and families.”

Winning an Employee of the Year award is a tremendous honor, but the true impact of the ceremony goes beyond individual recognition. For the staff of Gilbert Public Schools, the event serves as a powerful validation of their efforts and a reminder of the important role they play in the lives of students.

Bertha Ogden, an Administrative Assistant at Val Vista Lakes Elementary, exemplifies the impact that the Employee of the Year recognition has on staff. Initially surprised and excited by the nomination, Bertha's emotions shifted to a deeper appreciation after the ceremony. "It helped me realize the impact that I make in people's lives, even if a moment is as small as a smile." In addition to how the Employee of the Year celebration impacted her, Ogden shared how her 22-year career at GPS has impacted her life by stating, “I am very fortunate to be part of the GPS family, not only as an employee but as a parent of two former students that now are teachers here as well. I have built so many relationships with the staff, parents and students that I feel there is no other district that I would enjoy working for, because GPS is my family and home.”

GPS Employees

Jim Baker, a counselor at Campo Verde High School with 27 years of experience in the district, talks about how the Employee of the Year program has reminded him of the importance of his role. "One thing I'll take away from this recognition is that some of what I do is making a difference in my students and on my campus." Baker says that this takeaway is something that all employees at the event can feel by adding, “I think anyone who sat in the auditorium that night and heard all the accomplishments of each Employee of the Year came out of there wanting to do better and aspire to do even more to impact our students positively. I know I did.”

The Employee of the Year event is a true testament to the dedication and impact of the incredible staff across Gilbert Public Schools. Each member of the GPS Family across all levels and positions works tirelessly to make a positive impact on the lives of students and their families. 

Gilbert Public Schools extends its appreciation to the Gilbert Education Foundation for their instrumental role in making the Employee of the Year celebration a reality, thanks to the unwavering support of their sponsors. Sun Valley Builders graciously returned as the presenting sponsor, while Benson Systems generously sponsored the awards for each employee. In addition to these key supporters, twenty-seven local, regional, and national sponsors have also supported this significant event.  Their collective contributions empower Gilbert Public Schools to celebrate its incredible staff and ensure they feel valued for the positive impact they have on our students and local community. 

To learn more about working at Gilbert Public Schools and to get started in joining the GPS Family, visit