Las Vegas, N.M. – The New Mexico Highlands School of Education dean will lead the state’s Professional Practices and Standards Council that oversees teacher preparation in the state.
The New Mexico Public Education Department appointed Virginia Padilla-Vigil as chair of the council for a three-year term.
“Dr. Padilla-Vigil was highly recommended to Secretary of Education Christopher N. Ruszkowski by others in our profession as a thoughtful and caring professional who can give him the independent advice he seeks to make decisions related to approval of teacher education programs and establishing programs that comply with PED standards,” said Becky Kappus, Ph.D., educator preparation program manager for the New Mexico Public Education Department.
Padilla-Vigil said she has devoted her career to encouraging rigor and excellence in the classroom through high-quality teacher education.
“I have a deep respect for teachers because they have the power to make a profound difference in the lives of their students,” Padilla-Vigil said. “I’m excited to be part of the council because it is focused on ensuring top-notch programs that prepare excellent educators for our New Mexico children.”
Padilla-Vigil brings a wealth of experience as an educator and administrator to her appointment to the Professional Practices and Standards Council.
She joined the Highlands School of Education faculty in 2002 and directed the university’s Rio Rancho Center from 2013 – 2017. Padilla-Vigil was appointed interim dean of the School of Education in May 2017.
Padilla-Vigil is a national leader in using technology innovations to deliver quality online education, earning a Top 30 Technologists, Transformers and Trailblazers Award in 2014 from the Center for Digital Education.
“I believe technology can be harnessed to enhance teaching and learning, and also expand education beyond the four walls of the classroom,” Padilla-Vigil said.
Some of Padilla-Vigil’s previous leadership roles with the New Mexico Public Education Department include serving as chief academic officer, executive director for IDEAL-NM, a statewide e-learning program, and bureau chief for virtual schools.
Padilla-Vigil has taught on the education faculty for other universities such as the University of the Southwest, University of New Mexico, Northern New Mexico College, Santa Fe Community College, and the University of Phoenix.
“As faculty, I consider it an honor and a privilege to be part of my students’ educational journeys and to witness their evolution as professionals,” Padilla-Vigil said.
Padilla-Vigil earned her doctorate from the University of New Mexico in language, literacy and sociocultural studies and her M.A. in education and counseling from the College of Santa Fe.
Early in her education career, Padilla-Vigil was a teacher in Pojoaque Valley Schools, where she taught second through fifth grade.
“My experience as a classroom teacher is my compass, grounding me as an educator. All the work I do ultimately impacts the learning that happens in classrooms and I strive to never lose sight of that,” Padilla-Vigil said.