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Educator/Humanitarian Helen Fox Inducted into Albuquerque’s Wall of Fame

Founder of Albuquerque’s first Title I Program for Homeless Students Honored at Alvarado Transportation Center

There’s a good chance the name “Helen Fox” may not ring a bell for you. But to thousands of Albuquerque Public Schools students and families, she’s a life changer; someone who’s made it possible for them to imagine and to pursue a better life through schooling.

That’s why Fox was the fourth-ever inductee into Albuquerque’s Wall of Fame on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. She was recognized for her 50 years in education, as well as for her extraordinary public service at APS.

“Helen Fox is a nationally-renowned teacher, educator and founder of Albuquerque’s first Title I program to help homeless students,” said City of Albuquerque Chief Operations Officer Michael Riordan, who MC’d the event. “She embodies the caring and commitment we hold dear in our teachers and through her work, she has contributed positively toward making our community better.” 

Helen was born and raised in Texas and taught in her home state as well as California, West Virginia and Alabama. She also worked in child welfare in Arkansas and Wyoming before bringing her teaching skills and humanitarian instincts to Albuquerque Public Schools in 1982.

In 1994, she was given the opportunity to work with homeless students, so she jumped at the chance and started the Albuquerque Public School’s Title I Homeless Project. She began scouring the motels along Central Ave, looking for either homeless kids or ones who were spending their days inside motels. What she gave these students – academic resources, food, clothes, and school supplies – was surpassed by the hope that she brought into their lives.

It’s because of Helen’s unflagging devotion to helping those less fortunate, to bringing kindness and a smile to everyone she meets, and to giving generously of herself, that she has brought light to everyone whose life she has touched. When she retired in 2014 after 32 years of dedicated service to our community, thousands of homeless students had been helped as a direct result of her efforts. Among the numerous honors Helen and APS’ Title I Homeless Project have received are:

  • 2009 Queen Smith Award for Commitment to Urban Education from the Council of the Great City Schools
  • 2009 Soroptimist International “Women Making a Difference Award”
  • 2007 Outstanding Individual Award from the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
  • 2006 Lewis Hine Award for Service to Children and Youth from the National Child Labor Committee.

“Helen Fox has been described as a tireless educator, civil servant and an “angel on earth” said Bruce Rizzieri, Director of ABQ RIDE. “As one of Albuquerque’s greatest treasures, she deserves a place on our Wall of Fame for helping make Albuquerque and New Mexico better communities.”

Helen Fox receives award from (l) City of Albuquerque Chief Operator Officer Michael Riordan, P.E. and ABQ RIDE Director Bruce Rizzieri.


Helen Fox unveils her plaque on Albuquerque's Walk of Fame. From left: City of Albuquerque Chief Operator Officer Michael Riordan, P.E., Albuquerque Public Schools Superintedent Raquel Reedy, Helen Fox, Jerry Fox-Helen's husband and ABQ RIDE Director Bruce Rizzieri.