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Soules on higher education commission


Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has appointed New Mexico State Sen. Bill Soules, a Las Cruces Democrat, to represent the state with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).

A semi-retired teacher, Soules joins Barbara Damron, professor and senior advisor to the dean at University of New Mexico, and Patricia Sullivan, associate dean at the College of Engineering at New Mexico State University, on the commission, replacing state Sen. Mark Moores of Albuquerque.

WICHE is comprised of 48 commissioners from 15 western states, along with U.S. Pacific Territories and Freely Associated States. The commission was created in 1953.

First elected to the state senate in 2013, Soules was a long-time teacher and principal with Las Cruces Public Schools, was a member of the LCPS Board of Education and served as president of the New Mexico School Board Association. He is chair of the New Mexico Senate Education Committee and the Public School Capital Outlay Oversight Task Force and is vice chair of the Legislative Education Study Committee. Soules also is a member of the New Mexico Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, a consortium expanding the state's capacity to conduct scientific research and train a diverse, highly qualified STEM workforce.

Soules earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology and a Ph.D. in education and psychology from NMSU.

“My priorities as a policymaker and teacher have been education, empowerment, and building a society where everyone can thrive, and these align perfectly with the mission of WICHE,” Soules said. “I look forward to collaborating with the other commissioners to support students across the West,” Soules said.

WICHE “works collaboratively to expand educational access and excellence for all residents of the West,” according to www.wiche.edu. “By promoting innovation, cooperation, resource sharing, and sound public policy, WICHE strengthens higher education’s contributions to the region’s social, economic, and civic life.”