Nina Otero-Warren coin

Image of Nina Otero-Warren that will appear on U.S. quarter next year.

A leading New Mexico suffragist and the first woman to serve as superintendent of Santa Fe County public schools will appear on the fourth quarter of the American Women Quarters program in 2022, the U.S. Mint announced.

News about the national recognition for Nina Otero-Warren created a buzz at Santa Fe Public Schools, which named its south-side Nina Otero Community School for her in 2014.

“Very exciting news that Nina Otero-Warren will be featured on the quarter!” the district said in a Facebook post Friday.

“Nina Otero-Warren was a pioneer in education, and one who led with her voice as well as actions,” Superintendent Hilario “Larry” Chavez wrote in a recent email.

Pictured in a sketch of the quarter with clasped hands and surrounded by yucca flowers, Otero-Warren is one of five women who will be featured in the quarters program next year — the first of a four-year program. She joins writer and activist Maya Angelou, astronaut and educator Sally Ride, Cherokee Nation Chief Wilma Mankiller and Chinese American film star Anna Mae Wong.

Born in 1881 near Los Lunas as María Adelina Isabel Emilia Otero, Otero-Warren was the descendant of wealthy Spanish colonists and had deep roots in New Mexico. She was briefly married to an Army officer with the surname Warren before she became involved in politics and served as a school leader.

Otero-Warren advocated to preserve Spanish culture and language as more Anglo settlers arrived in the territory in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

She also became an advocate for the preservation of traditional languages and culture in Santa Fe schools for both Native American and Hispanic students during her tenure as superintendent, which began in 1918 and spanned more than a decade.

The position brought her national attention as she lobbied the state Legislature for higher salaries and better training for teachers.

She is perhaps best known for leading efforts in New Mexico to ratify the 19th Amendment and secure voting rights for women.

She is credited with much of the February 1920 victory for the state’s suffragist movement, in which she emphasized the importance of reaching out to Spanish-speaking women and recruiting Hispanic women to the fight for voting rights.

While Otero-Warren and others ensured Hispanic women gained the right to vote in New Mexico in 1920, along with Anglos, it would be years before Native American women and those of other ethnicities also could cast a ballot.

Otero-Warren, who died in Santa Fe in 1965, spent her later years homesteading a ranch outside the city called “Las Dos,” with her partner Mamie Meadors, who also was a prominent suffragist. The pair started a real estate company of the same name in the 1940s.

(4) comments

William Mee

Nina was also the first women pilot to land a plane in Santa Fe at the old State Pen landing strip that the prisoners maintained. Probably at Pen Road and St. Francis Drive.

Ann Maes

What additionally should be done is get Jackson off the twenty!

William Mee

Be careful what you ask fore. For years there was a movement to remove him and replace him with Reagan. Reagan was also to be on the dime, after FDR was associated with the March for Dimes to stop polio. In the current environment I'm sure some White Supremacists will start backing Trump to be on the $20 bill.

Carl Friedrichs

Maybe we could put Trump on a million dollar coin in return for an ironclad agreement to get out of politics?

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