Jed Hendee was close to completing his dissertation on his path to earning his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Administration from New Mexico State University’s College of Education when he passed away in May, following a six-year battle with brain cancer. On Friday, NMSU will honor his lifelong commitment to education and the impact he had on students throughout New Mexico by approving conferral of a posthumous doctoral degree on Hendee during a meeting of the Board of Regents.
Hendee, who was 49, served as principal of Las Cruces High School and Zia Middle School in Las Cruces, as well as Gallup Middle School in northern New Mexico. Most recently, he was the executive director of teaching and learning for Las Cruces Public Schools before retiring in August 2019. His wife, Susie, is the principal at Centennial High School.
A popular and respected educator, Hendee was diagnosed in 2014 with glioblastoma multiforme, a rare form of brain cancer, but continued for years to serve students at Las Cruces High School and the entire school district. LCPS Superintendent Karen Trujillo described Hendee as “a leader, a fighter and a compassionate member of the LCPS family for 12 years.”
“He was beloved by students, teachers, and colleagues alike – a welcoming and encouraging leader who was deeply committed to social justice and the power of education to uplift lives,” said Deputy Superintendent Wendi Miller-Tomlinson in a letter supporting his degree. “His advocacy for Las Cruces High School and its students was fierce, as was his unwavering commitment to the well-being of all those in his charge. His determination not to let cancer stand in his way inspired students and colleagues alike.”
Hendee had completed all of his coursework in the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program in the College of Education, and had passed his comprehensive exam. His research and writing for his dissertation were underway when he was forced to step back from his academic work due to the impact of his cancer treatment.
The faculty of the Educational Leadership and Administration Division at NMSU voted unanimously to support awarding the degree, which will be accepted by Hendee’s wife, Susie, and three children during the meeting.
NMSU Provost Carol Parker, who will present the degree recommendation to the board, said Hendee’s passion and dedication to his students and community reflect the very best in educational leadership.
“Mr. Hendee – Dr. Hendee – was a man whose compassion and impact continue to be felt by the students and colleagues he supported throughout his distinguished career,” Parker said. “We are honored to acknowledge the hard work and leadership growth he continued to pursue despite his illness.”
Susie Hendee said earning his doctoral degree had been an important goal for her husband.
“Jed worked hard to get to this level in his academic career,” she said. “He worked closely with Dr. Malu Gonzalez, who was a great mentor to him. He would be very proud and humbled to be receiving this degree today.”
NMSU Regent Arsenio Romero, who is superintendent of Deming Public Schools and a longtime educator himself, said the opportunity to fulfill this goal for Hendee and his family is an honor and a privilege for the board.
“Dr. Hendee was more than an educator to the students he served,” Romero said. “He was a role model and a friend. I hope his example of great leadership inspires future graduates of NMSU’s College of Education to make a similar impact in their schools and communities.”
Writer: Amanda Bradford, 575-646-3223, email@example.com