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Posted October 27, 2016

Helen Fox

In her weekly message to employees, Supt. Reedy recognizes longtime advocate for homeless students Helen Fox and others who improving the lives of students.

I bet you weren’t thinking about fame and fortune when you decided to pursue a career in education. Yet, every now and then our colleagues find themselves in the spotlight, and it is sweet.

If you’ve been a part of Albuquerque Public Schools for any amount of time you will be familiar with Helen Fox. Helen was a teacher and child welfare advocate decades before joining APS, but it was here in Albuquerque that she really found her calling. In 1994 Helen founded our Title I Homeless Project. She began scouring motels along Central Avenue looking for homeless students who weren't going to school on a regular basis. She made it her mission to raise funds, awareness and compassion for those students, so they not only got an education but also had somewhere warm and safe to go and something to eat during the school day and often after school, too. 

We’ll never know how many lives intersected with Helen’s work or just how much of a difference she made to those children and families. What we do know is thanks to the City of Albuquerque, there is now a spot we can visit to pay tribute to Helen’s work just as we contemplate our own goals and achievements.

You see, earlier this month Helen was inducted into the Albuquerque Wall of Fame at the Alvarado Transportation Center. It was a big deal with lots of fanfare. Of course, the big splash didn’t faze Helen. Surrounded by family, friends and colleagues, she graciously accepted the award on behalf of all the caring educators who worked with her to transform the futures of some of our most vulnerable.

I don’t mind telling you how emotional the event was for me. I couldn’t help but think how many APS professionals could also be recognized for the indelible footprint they’ve left on our district; how many lives have changed for the better because of them, because of you.

If it were up to me you’d all have stars, plaques and tiles inscribed with your names and details of your contributions to education. I can imagine such a place, or I can simply visit any one of our schools to see the superstars among us.

Thanks to Helen and to each of you for the inspiration.

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