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NMSU College of Education honors longtime educators with Aggie Cornerstone Awards

The New Mexico State University College of Education honored longtime educators Virginia Foltz and Clarence Fielder with Aggie Cornerstone Awards at a reception April 24, at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum.

Three men stand behind a seated man (left) and woman.
Clarence Fielder (seated left) and Virginia Foltz (seated right) were honored with the Aggie Cornerstone Awards at a New Mexico State University College of Education reception, April 24. Standing from left: Mike Cheney, NMSU Board of Regents chair; Michael Morehead, dean of the College of Education; and Daniel Howard, executive vice president and provost, attended the annual event. (Courtesy photo)

The Aggie Cornerstone Award was created in 2012 to celebrate excellence in education and recognize individuals who have made a significant impact on children and families in New Mexico.

?Clarence Fielder and Virginia Foltz are educational icons in our community,? said Michael Morehead, dean of the College of Education. ?They have made a tremendous difference in the lives of students and families in southern New Mexico. As teachers and educational leaders, both of them had high expectations for students, and because of this, students and faculty flourished. Their legacy continues to this day because of their innovative and student-centered approach to education. The College of Education is honored to be recognizing Virginia and Clarence with the Aggie Cornerstone Award.?

Born and raised in Las Cruces, Fielder graduated from NMSU in 1950 with a bachelor?s degree in business. Fielder served in the U.S. Army and was awarded the Purple Heart and Silver Star prior to retiring as a major in the Army Reserve. In 1955, he earned a master?s degree in education from NMSU. Fielder taught in the Las Cruces Public School district from 1951-1983 and at NMSU from 1971-2003.

Fielder, along with Terry Moody, was an instrumental part in placing the Phillips Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church on the National Register of Historic Places as the oldest African-American church in Las Cruces. Currently, the church is being restored with support from the community and NMSU Department of Anthropology.

An Illinois native, Foltz moved with her family to New Mexico in 1954 and began her NMSU career. She entered the teaching profession in 1966 and spent 13 years as a high school English teacher. In 1979, she was promoted to Mayfield High School assistant principal, before becoming the district?s first female high school principal in 1985.

After a short retirement from 1991-1994, Foltz returned to work as interim principal at Las Cruces High School, while also serving as NMSU?s College of Education supervisor of student teachers. Foltz capped off her career in education, which spanned nearly four decades, when she was the Las Cruces Public Schools superintendent from 2001-2003.