Virginia Padilla Vigil, Ph.D.
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- Virginia Padilla Vigil, Ph.D.
Virginia was born and raised in northern New Mexico. She grew up in the village of Cuarteles and currently resides in Rio Rancho, NM. She earned a bachelor’s in elementary education and master’s degree in at-risk youth education and counseling, both from the College of Santa Fe, and a Ph.D. in language, literacy, and sociocultural studies from The University of New Mexico. Her dissertation focused on teacher perceptions about diversity and the achievement gap. Virginia has nearly three decades of experience in the field of education. She has held teaching and administrative posts in secondary and post-secondary settings and state government, giving her a 360-degree view of the educational system.
She believes education is a human right and that everyone deserves access to a quality education and the opportunity to pursue their calling. As an educator, she has focused her teaching, research, and leadership on promoting equity and access in education. She believes education occurs in community and through our intersecting paths as teachers and learners, we evolve intellectually, spiritually and emotionally along the continuum of our unique individual and collective journeys. In the words of Parker Palmer, “Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique. Good teaching comes for the identity and integrity of the teacher.” She strives to be an authentic educator and leader who is driven by heart .
In 1991, she began her educational career as an elementary teacher in the Pojoaque Valley Schools, where she taught in a multi-age inclusion classroom and served as a mentor teacher for several student teachers from the College of Santa Fe. In the summer of 1996, after teaching a child development and psychology class for Northern New Mexico Community College, she fell in love with adult learning. That fall, she accepted a position as full-time faculty in teacher education and shortly after, she accepted an appointment as the division head for humanities, social sciences, language & letters, teacher education, and health and physical education and recreation. During her tenure, Virginia established the first alternative teacher licensure program in the state of New Mexico and a successful teacher mentorship program through an Eisenhower Professional Development Grant.
In 2000, Virginia accepted a position as the director of the Fremont Campus of Pueblo Community College. During her tenure, she spearheaded the development of a learning resources center that provided tutoring services for students and a Plato Learning Lab. She also spearheaded the Senior College, providing digital learning opportunities for seniors in Fremont County.
From 2002-2008, Virginia served as the Director of Teacher Education at Santa Fe Community College where led the effort to establish a fully online alternative teacher licensure program to address the statewide teacher shortage. Under her leadership, the Teacher Education Department developed a fully online TESOL/Bilingual Endorsement program through Title II grant. Additional leadership accomplishments during her tenure at Santa Fe Community college include leading a successful state NCATE accreditation visit (2004) and re-envisioning the early childhood development center. Virginia also served as the director/principal investigator of the Title V: El Colegio Project, which involved establishing online programs in high demand fields targeting underserved populations in New Mexico in partnership with Central New Mexico Community College.
In 2008, Virginia became the Chief Academic Office for the New Mexico Public Education Department’s (NMPED) Innovative Digital Education and Learning (IDEAL-NM), statewide eLearning program that served P-12, higher education and state agencies. In 2010, she became the Executive Director for IDEAL-NM, where she served until 2013. During her tenure NMPED, IDEAL-NM grew from a program of 2 online courses, 12 eTeachers, and 51 statewide enrollments to a program that offered over 126 semester-long online courses, with over 170 trained eTeachers statewide, and over 1,500 enrollments per semester. In addition to providing a supplemental virtual school in partnership with New Mexico Public, Charter and BIE schools statewide, IDEAL-NM provided training and support to NM schools in the development and implementation of online and blended learning programs, providing the statewide learning management system as the platform. Read more about IDEAL-NM: http://vpadillavigil.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/ideal-nm-leveraging-technology-to-promote-equity-access-opportunity/.
In April of 2013, Virginia accepted a position with New Mexico Highlands University as the director of the Rio Rancho Center and from 2016-2019, she served as the Dean of the School of Education at New Mexico Highlands University. In this role, she also directed education grant projects including: the Title V Conectado grant project, which is focused on developing online programs in rehab counseling, curriculum and instruction, and special education and, providing scholarships for students; the Unidos grant project also focused on developing online programs; and the Title II Pre-K3 PASS grant project focused on providing comprehensive professional development for teachers in the area of STEM education. During her tenure as Dean, she led the CAEP accreditation leading to the submission of the self-study and laying the groundwork for the full accreditation of the educator preparation programs at NMHU.
Virginia’s areas of expertise include higher education teaching, leadership and administration; teacher education and teacher professional development; curriculum, instruction and assessment; online learning and technology integration, diversity and critical multiculturalism. Although she has served primarily in administrative positions, Virginia has always taught at the college level online and face-to-face. As a leader, she believes that it is important to stay in touch with teaching and learning at the classroom level and the experiences of teachers and students.