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The APS Hall of Honor

The Albuquerque Public Schools Foundation, with the support of the district, announced the first APS Hall of Honor inductees in 2017 at the inaugural Gold Bar Gala.  The Hall of Honor is now an annual recognition of the sustaining legacy of those who gave their careers to public education and made a difference in the lives of those they worked with.

Albuquerque Public Schools has been served by a host of  innovators, mentors and trailblazers that made a difference in the lives they touched.  They continue to make a difference in the lives of students every day because of the changes they spearheaded to make the district a better place to work and learn.  


2020 APS Hall of Honor Inductees 

Helen Fox Helen Fox
Helen Fox began as a Resource Teacher in the Special Education Department.  In 1994, she was tasked to lead the Homeless and Migrant Program in order to administrate a small grant aimed at identifying homeless children in Albuquerque and providing support so they could enroll in school.  At the time, the belief was that Ms. Fox and just one other employee would serve approximately 100 children.  They quickly found the need was much greater.  Today, the Title I Homeless Project serves between 3,500 and 4,000 students and their families identified as homeless each and every year.  The staff of two has grown to a staff of nearly twenty.  The expansion of services did not happen overnight, but it took the determination and fierce leadership of Ms. Fox to locate homeless youth and provide critical resources so they could attend school and create brighter futures.

As she began her search for students needing a classroom, Ms. Fox drove up and down Central Avenue, visiting motels and offering transportation.  She championed a preschool called Alphabet Alley and took our city’s youngest and most underserved learners to an environment in which they could thrive and prepare for kindergarten.  She worked with the Central United Methodist Church to engage volunteers in donating and assembling snack packs for students who would not have food to eat when not at school.  She created strong partnerships that proved as catalysts to reaching more families needing help in enrollment and ensuring their students had transportation to school once enrolled. 

Motivated by the achievements of children facing seemingly insurmountable challenges of poverty and homelessness, Ms. Fox fought to provide every resource and basic necessity she could and inspired her staff and colleagues to join her in fighting on behalf of all the children who needed them most.  Albuquerque is home to so many without homes - Families living in motels, in vehicles or in inadequate housing.  Thanks to Ms. Fox, they now have somewhere to turn - an entire team inside Albuquerque Public Schools with programs ready to help ensure every student, no matter of income level, receives an education.

Ruthie Owens Ruthie Owens 
There are schools proud to claim Ruthie Owens, including Washington Middle School, Kit Carson Elementary School, Duranes Elementary School and Lyndon B. Johnson Middle School.  She started in 1969 as an education assistant and retired in 1995 as a principal.

Her 34-year career in education not only provided hard won professional achievements for Ms. Owens, but for countless educators she mentored and counseled.  Her direct impact on students is immeasurable, as she knew early on the important role both the school and outside community play in pushing for success in academics and in life.  She brought together several stakeholders to support each student.  Even when students had moved on to higher grade levels, higher education and careers, she never stopped encouraging them.

For her staff and faculty, Ms. Owens never stopped pushing for excellence, encouraging her staff to learn through professional development opportunities to better their practice.  She was relentless in advocating for career advancements for teachers with the potential to lead, mentor and guide others in the field. 

Ms. Owens was also a great leader and mentor of leaders because of her deep understanding of the importance of ensuring that all students had the opportunity to learn in more than one language of many different cultures, including their own.  Her leadership style is exemplified in her legacy leading the way for single track year-round schools in New Mexico.  Ms. Owens learned the educational needs of our students and found the best ways to meet those needs, ensuring that she and her educators could meet them wherever they were no matter what challenges they faced. 

Both Helen Fox and Ruthie Owens continue to serve as examples to all those working in Albuquerque Public Schools.  They are both described as fearless, never wary of learning and embracing truths.  Their unrelenting dedication meant they were unafraid to champion innovative approaches to better the lives of the students they served.   

Do you know someone that should be considered for induction in 2021?  Please consider nominating them to recognize their impact on education. The deadline to submit is October 30, 2020.

Criteria for APS Hall of Honor Nominations
  • Nominations should recognize individuals who have made significant and noteworthy contributions to the lives of students, employees, the Albuquerque Public Schools district and the community.
  • Nominees may be living or deceased.
  • Nominees must have at least fifteen years of employment within Albuquerque Public Schools.
  • Nominees, if living, must have been retired for at least three years.
  • Nominations cannot be submitted by family members.
  • Couples or pairs will not be considered for an induction together unless they share the same body of work.  Couples or pairs that worked at different locations in different roles will be considered on their own individual merit, body of work and impact.  
  • Nominees should demonstrate excellent conduct and character.
    • All nominations will be vetted by the Albuquerque Public Schools Human Resources Department. 
  • Nominees, if living, should be available to attend the presentation ceremony in the spring of 2021; if deceased, a family member must be present to accept on their behalf.
  • Letters of support must be received from at least three individuals who can testify to the impact of the nominee’s career in education. Letters of support must come from non-family members. No more than three letters of support will be accepted.  Letters of support written by the nominator will not be accepted.  

Please note:  Nominees will be considered for induction two years after the initial submission.  Nominations may be edited and re-submitted for each year of consideration.

2021 APS Hall of Honor Nomination Form 

Tip:  Please save your answers in a separate Word document while working on the nomination.  The form can be saved and resumed with a personalized link at any time, but if the link is lost you cannot access your saved work.  Please contact Lawren McConnell at lawren.mcconnell@aps.edu with any questions on the nomination process.  


2019 APS Hall of Honor Inductees

Margaret ClarkMargaret Clark

Margaret Clark retired from APS in 2006 after 34 years working in the district as a teacher, principal and trainer.  She began her career with APS as a teacher, teaching single grade and mutligrade primary and intermediate students.  She was also a Title I math teacher and Master Teacher.  She went on to earn her license as an administrator and served as principal.  During her tenure as principal of Wherry Elementary School, the school received the U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Award for Excellence.  While at Wherry, Ms. Clark is fondly remembered for ensuring that families felt part of the school and even established a parent room. Parents were also encouraged to participate in professional development opportunities.  Ms. Clark created a positive climate in the school by rewarding positive behavior, and she never failed to dedicate time to each student.  She actively solicited feedback from students, her teachers and staff and parents at every opportunity. 

Ms. Clark is also credited for implementing the Reading Recovery Initiative in APS after becoming a reading recovery teacher in 1999.  She co-authored two publications while serving on the National Board of Directors for Reading Recovery and presented at annual conferences.  As a leader in her field, Ms. Clark taught graduate courses at the University of New Mexico to further educate and support administrators. 

A lifelong learner, Ms. Clark was a passionate advocate for professional development.  Her staff at Wherry made time for professional development opportunities by lengthening the school day so that they could enhance their practice through monthly mini in-services and individual consultations with a literacy consultant.  Ms. Clark pushed her teachers to take risks and learn new strategies.  Her nominator, Pam Kerkmans, writes, “Margaret’s vision continues to be this:  The single most important part of student achievement is teacher expertise.  She is a dedicated educational leader as well as a person who has shared her vision with many educators.  Her quality leadership and inspired lifelong quest for ‘what are best practices for children’ has consistently guided teachers to become focused and effective professionals.”

"Margaret Clark is my ultimate definition of an educational leader.  She led by example, she took risks, she studied alongside us, she kept current on research, she went to bat for us and for her students, and she always respected our efforts.  I wish all teachers could experience the enthusiasm and the joy (and the exhaustion!) we experienced during our time with her."  -- Nancy Adams, former employee  

"Margaret was not the kind of principal to stay in her office.  Anyone who was at Wherry at the time remembers Margaret regularly doing line dancing with a gym full of children during lunch recess.  She visited classrooms regularly.  Whether I cam to school very early, stayed late or came in on weekends, it seemed like Margaret's car was usually parked in the principal's spot at school."  -- Roxie Weger, former employee

 "While she continued her strong administrative leadership as principal of Wherry Elementary School, she took on the development of a strong cadre of Reading Recovery teachers for the district.  While the goal of Reading Recovery is the accelerated learning of the most struggling first graders, the focus of the Reading Recovery program is the intensive learning of the Reading Recovery teachers in the developmental process for a child - how to recognize and honor what the child knows and brings with him or her, and how to support that, build on that, and develop the abilities that create a strong reader.  Only by carefully examining our practice as teachers were we able to learn to be successful with these struggling students, and that examination could only be done in a collegial and respectful environment - which Margaret has a unique gift for creating.  While APS no longer has a Reading Recovery program, Margaret's legacy lives on as her Reading Recovery teachers have moved on as reading intervention teachers, instructional coaches, classroom teachers and administrators with a strong understanding of how children learn and teachers teach."  -- Barbara Petersen, former Reading Recovery teacher

 Video filmed and produced by the film students of Valley High School  


David OstrovitzDavid Ostrovitz

David Ostrovitz retired from APS in 2012 after 34 years as a guitar instructor at Manzano High School.  Before Mr. Ostrovitz (or “Mr. O” as he is remembered by his students and colleagues), there was not a guitar program at Manzano High School, so he built one.  Starting with feeder schools to get the word out, in just a few years his classes were brimming with students. 

Mr. Ostrovitz took a leadership role in providing students the gift of music, and he worked to ensure that his fellow teachers were equipped so that their students could reap the many benefits that music instruction provides.  Mr. Ostrovitz served as the chairman for the APS Guitar Committee for 25 years, he provided methods, curriculum and materials for guitar instructors, he presented workshops at the New Mexico Music Educators Association (NMMEA) and he created a pilot program that resulted in the first formal inclusion of guitar programs at the NMMEA All-State Music Festival.  The list goes on, as Mr. Ostrovitz also created two levels of music technology classes.  He trained students to serve as sound crews and recording engineers that not only served the school but the district.  His students continued to benefit from his hard work and passion as he provided internships with local recording studios, radio stations and live sound companies.

His nominator, Carla Erickson, writes, “David Ostrovitz was not only a successful and popular guitar teacher at Manzano High School, but he was personally instrumental in keeping students enrolled in school.  It was his program that not only encouraged students to stay involved in the educational process, but also gave them an incentive to embrace other educational endeavors.  David Ostrovitz knew they were capable of accomplishing more beyond their expectations.  He never gave up on them.”

"David Ostrovitz, 'Mr. O' as we know him, is one of the most profoundly inspirational human beings that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  It takes a certain skill set to go onstage and rip a mean solo that melts the faces off 10,000 screaming fans in a stadium, but having the energy to stay after school setting up a sound system at 3:45pm on a Friday after a full week of seeing over 350 students a day, to show kids how the pros run live sound for the big timers, is another skill set entirely.  Mr. O has been an amazing man in my life.  Today I consider him my life mentor, a friend and always my teacher.  His unwavering support and his steadfast spirit have inspired me to be the best person I can be, on and off the strings.  I aspire to one day be half as courageous, empathetic, passionate and friendly as Mr. O has been to me for the entirety of our relationship.  He's been a father figure to me for all these years.  Music is my life, my passion, and in many way's it's Mr. O's fault that I've ended up this way!  I'm thankful to him from the bottom of my heart."  -- John Maestas, former student and co-founder of Bubble Bath Records

"There are very few people who have had a bigger influence on our community than David Ostrovitz.  David, though he spent his career as a music teacher, is one of those universally beneficial individuals who have transcended any kind of occupational niche or discipline to reach into the very fabric of how we teach and treat all our children, and for all of their lives." -- John Truitt, Director of Bands and Guitar, Albuquerque Academy (Emeritus)

"As his student, he always propelled me forward.  He taught me how to be a good teacher, and also that learning and teaching work in a circular fashion.  The fact that someone sat patiently with me and taught me all of the things I learned means that I have a responsibility to repay that kindness, and to pay it forward to the next generation of young guitarists.  It is with much pride and gratitude that I can proclaim how profound Mr. O's influence was in changing the direction of my life to be truly as creative as I am, and to be my own boss.  I get to do exactly what I love and feel like I am doing exactly what I ought to be doing with my life.  His gentle heart, zen like approach, open mind and generous soul still live inside all of us that are blessed to have been his students."  -- Claudio Tolousse, former student and musician/artist/podcaster 

 Video filmed and produced by the film students of Valley High School  

 View photos from the 2019 Hall of Honor Plaque Unveiling


Past Inductees

2018

Mary Ann Anderson 
Mark Shea

2017

Janet Kahn 
Dale Kempter
John Milne 
Janet Montoya Schoeppner