Las Cruces educator to be honored with posthumous degree after passing away from cancer

Las Cruces News

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – An educator in Las Cruces who died of brain cancer will be recognized for his works on Friday.

Jed Hendee had been working on earning his doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and Administration from New Mexico State University’s College of Education. Hendee was close to completing his dissertation but passed away in May after battling cancer for six years.

NMSU will honor Hendee’s lifelong commitment to education by approving the conferral of a posthumous doctoral degree during a meeting of the Board of Regents.

The meeting will begin at 8 a.m. and will be available to watch online here.

Hendee, 49, served as principal of Las Cruces High School and Zia Middle School in Las Cruces. He also served as the executive director of teaching and learning for Las Cruces Public Schools before retiring in August 2019.

Jed Hendee, who passed away at 49 after a battle with brain cancer, served as principal of Las Cruces High School and Zia Middle School in Las Cruces.

Hendee was diagnosed in 2014 with glioblastoma but continued to serve students at Las Cruces High School and the entire school district.

“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.

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