Rio Rancho Public Schools inducted four new members to its Hall of Honor May 13: Kenneth Todd, Gary Hveem, Glynes Foster and Jim Wheatley.
“These are individuals who have truly given on themselves to ignite student potential, and only those that have reached that very high level are considered for this prestigious honor,” said Dr. Sue Cleveland, RRPS superintendent.
Todd been a vital member of the RRPS community for more than 25 years. During this time, he has served as a volunteer, athletic event coordinator for Rio Rancho High School, baseball booster club member, bond committee member and much more. His efforts and dedication to the success of both RRPS academics and athletics are as long lasting as the district itself. Todd has created a legacy that will reach students and staff for years to come, and is still an active member of the RRPS family.
See what others had to say about him here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZlxWeCWQeA
“He just helped in so many ways, and there was never anything I can ever recall that we asked him to do (that he didn’t do),” Cleveland said. “He said, ‘I can do it; I’ll get it done,’ and he got it done at a very high level. So he is truly a wonderful asset to our district and, and we appreciate all of the time and effort that he has given in so many different areas.”
“I’ve loved all my heart, doing what I’ve done,” Todd said. “I’ve had one saying that my mom put in my mind over the years: If you’re going to do something, do it right. Do it 100%. And I’ve enjoyed doing it all for the district.”
Hveem was hired as RRPS’s first-ever athletic director in 1996 and was instrumental in the creation of the RRPS athletic programs. Since RRPS was originally created as a K-8 district, it did not have high school level athletic programs or facilities. Hveem worked tirelessly over the years to create the athletic program from scratch with limited resources, building community support and sponsorships and helping to bring the district’s first football/soccer, baseball, and track stadiums to fruition. By the time he retired in 2007, RRHS’s wrestling and volleyball teams dominated the big school state championships and the young district had won state titles in girls soccer, softball, baseball and boys basketball. The foundation he laid set the stage for success in many other sports, including football, cross-country and track and field.
See more about him: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMVKJHey4WI
“Gary is one of the really unusual individuals. He has been recognized as a top school administrator for athletics in New Mexico and also in Iowa, and so few people have had that honor in two different states,” Cleveland said. “Over the years he worked so hard in so many different ways … It wasn’t just the winning; it was the winning and the life skills and important lessons that you learned as being part of an athletic team.”
“To say I’m overwhelmed is an understatement … I’ve had the opportunity, as I said, to be involved with so many great people that 20 years — 42 years in the school business — and as I said, leaders make a difference,” Hveem said, briefly speaking on several he served with at Rio Rancho. And while honoring his wife, he had one piece of advice: “Without that special person in you lives, all of you achievers and overachievers, take time to tell that special person how much he or she has meant to you. Take that time.”
Foster was hired by RRPS in 1994 and became the district’s first human resources director. Under her leadership, hundreds of employees from two vastly different school districts, Jemez Valley and Albuquerque Public Schools, were successfully integrated into a seamless, high-performing staff. She was also responsible for creating all of RRPS’s HR systems and processes from scratch, many of which are still utilized today. Fondly remembered and respected by many at RRPS, her efforts laid a foundation for professionalism and excellence that, over nearly 30 years, continues to enable RRPS to hire and retain outstanding employees.
See more about her journey here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnWS_alDjgI
Cleveland noted the integral role Foster played in getting the district organized when it started — and that they only had five months to do it. “One of the things I learned very early about Glynes was that she had very expectations for everyone, but certainly for herself.”
Cleveland talked about how Foster went and hand-copied files teacher records from APS and Jemez Valley as the district was getting started. “She did put the foundation down for our HR department, and she was just a wonderful inspiration to work with,” she said.
“I do know we worked very, very hard getting the district started,” Foster said. “We made long-range plans and we made short-range plans, but most of our plans were ‘get it done right now.’ Sometimes we jumped in with both feet; sometimes we jumped in head first, and I remember many times coming for for air. … Thank goodness Rio Rancho continues to be the best district that I know.
“I’ve always been invested in Rio Rancho Schools, and I really appreciate this opportunity because it means I get to still be considered part of Rio Rancho Schools.”
Wheatley was a dedicated Rotarian who was active in the Rio Rancho Rotary Club for more than 20 years. He was passionate about education and wanted to support students who might not have the advantage of others. Wheatley was involved at the schools with the foreign exchange program and would regularly check up on the students to make sure they were adjusting well to their new environments. His legacy has lived on through the Rotary annual scholarship program. Through his work with the RR Rotary Club, he supported students at RRHS each year with three $1,000 scholarships. These scholarships were reserved for students who overcame hardships in order to graduate from high school. When CHS opened, Wheatley strongly advocated that CHS also receive three scholarships from the Rotary Club of Rio Rancho. He was always a strong advocate and supporter of the youth in Rio Rancho. His advocacy in Rotary was to ensure the club made the contribution each year that helped three graduates of RRHS and then three graduates from CHS each year.
Jim Wheatley remembered: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXf9YfgaEZ8
“Jim really didn’t have any children or grandchildren in our district that I’m aware of, an he was always interested in helping everybody’s children achieve the very best that they could,” Cleveland said. “Jim really had a heart for young people, and those that were touched by his life are so appreciated, and so we want to honor him this evening and wish he were here to be able to accept this plaque.”