Sabina Aguilar and Mary Underwood, both retired LCPS employees, were inducted into the National Education Association-New Mexico Hall of Fame, Saturday, Oct. 28, based on their leadership and contributions to public education, students and the community. In addition, Tommy Flores, lead custodian at Central Elementary School, was named the NEA-NM Education Support Professional of the Year and Irma Valdespino, the Classified School Employees Council – Las Cruces (CESC-LC) president, was named the NEA-NM Advocate of the Year.

Sabina Aguilar

Sabina Aguilar

“It’s great to see these individuals recognized for their talent, hard work and dedication to the educational community,” said LCPS Superintendent Dr. Greg Ewing. “I’m honored to work with such a talented group of employees and I appreciate their immense contributions to the students and community we serve.”

All of the honorees were nominated for their respective awards by regional NEA-NM members and subsequently selected for their awards by the NEA-NM board.

Mary Underwood

Mary Underwood

In order to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, nominees must demonstrate leadership skills at the state and local level, demonstrate a commitment to public education, students and the community and be active NEA-NM members who have been retired from the school system for at least two years, according to NEA-NM officials.

Aguilar served in various teaching and administrative roles for the past 30 years and also served NEA-NM by working as a trainer for the Essential Leaders Cadre, Southwest Region Director, Chair of the Constitution and By-Laws and Technology Chair.

Underwood is a retired educator who taught for more than 30 years at Mayfield High School. Underwood also previously held various NEA-NM positions and was the last union leader in Las Cruces for the New Mexico Federation of Teachers, which is now the American Federation of Teachers – New Mexico.

Tommy Flores

Tommy Flores

Flores is a longtime LCPS employee and active participant in a variety of district initiatives. He was selected for the ESP of the Year award based on his active NEA-NM membership, his support for public education, his work within the community and his work to improve public education.

Irma Valdespino

Irma Valdespino

Valdespino previously spent 36 years as an Educational Support Professional at Mayfield High School. She was selected for the Advocate of the Year award based on her advocacy for the association, her work within the community to better public education and her promotion of public education.

NEA-NM is a membership organization of public school employees in the state. Every year, the organization honors individuals throughout New Mexico who have contributed to public education and to their professions.

-LCPS Communications Coordinator Paul Dahlgren, pdahlgren@lcps.net, (575) 527-5808