Nina Otero Community School
From Santa Fe, New Mexico, Yesi was raised in the Santa Fe Public Schools community. Having attended St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, she received her Bachelor’s of Arts in English Language Literature. She has dedicated her college years and most of her high school years to serving under-privileged communities and closing the achievement gap through a program called Breakthrough, Santa Fe. Being a Spanish native speaker and a first-generation college student, Yesi returned to Santa Fe to help communities that face similar obstacles as herself in reaching the ultimate goal of higher education.
Ortiz Middle School
Born and raised on the Southside of Santa Fe, Luis has “walked in the shoes” of many of the students he serves. A graduate of Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work, he decided to return to Santa Fe to make an impact by assisting students to ultimately reach the goal of college. Luis was involved in the Breakthrough program as a young student and taught in that program from 14 years of age until his graduation from college. He serves CIS at Ortiz Middle School, a school he himself attended. Luis strives to provide the same guidance and support he feels he received as a young adult and which made a significant difference in his life.
LINA CHAVEZ DE LARA
Nina Otero Community School
Born in Aguascalientes, Mexico and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Lina graduated from Capital High school in 2016. With the support of programs such as Breakthrough Santa Fe and AVID, she continued her education by attending St. Edwards University, where she received a Bachelors of Arts in Biology in 2020. During her four years of college, Lina participated in volunteer programs that worked with students, immigrant communities, low-income groups and people experiencing homelessness. Coming from an immigrant family and understanding the struggles that students go through, Lina hopes to use her experience and skills to act as a source of support for students and their families.
ALICIA DEL AGUILA
Ramirez Thomas Elementary School
Born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Alicia pursued her dream to attend college by participating in academic programs such as Breakthrough Santa Fe and AVID. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Kinesiology with a focus in Physical Therapy and a minor in Spanish. Coming from a Hispanic family, Alicia has always been aware of the challenges students like her face in order to graduate from high school and move on to higher education. Alicia returned to Santa Fe with the intention of helping students with similar backgrounds to pursue their educational goals.
Capital High School
Maria was born and raised in Santa Fe and graduated from Santa Fe High School. She attended college in Durango, Colorado where she received her B.A. in Spanish and her teaching degree and taught Spanish at Durango High School for 19 years. She went on to earn her Master's Degree in TESOL through Concordia University and moved back to Santa Fe in 2019. Maria comes from a family of respected educators who truly enjoy working with youth. She looks forward to continuing this tradition in her work with Communities In Schools.
El Camino Real Academy
Bryan was born and raised in Hyattsville, MD, right outside of Washington, DC, and then attended Philander Smith College in Little Rock, AR, where he received his Bachelors in Physical Education. He then made the move to Las Vegas, NM, and received a Masters degree in Sports Administration from New Mexico Highlands University. Bryan is no stranger to education, spending four years teaching and coaching football at MAS Charter School in Albuquerque. Bryan has spent the last four years working in international development, serving as an Educator in the Peace Corps in Malawi, the warm heart of Africa, and conducting trainings in positive masculinity and rape prevention in eight different African countries and Mexico. Bryan is excited about serving the children of Santa Fe and being their advocate for anything they may need.
Chaparral Elementary School
Born in California and raised in Philadelphia, PA, Becca attended Penn State University for undergrad. She went on to pursue her Master's in Mental Health Counseling at Manhattan College. She has a strong commitment to bringing mental health awareness to the workplace and providing an education to students and their families about mental health. She is believes her position at CIS will give her the opportunity to do that as well as provide resources for the school community!
Aspen Community Magnet School
Originally from Virginia, Emily graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and a minor in Education Studies. She taught fourth grade for two years in Greenville, South Carolina before moving to New Mexico. She has worked in Bilingual Curriculum Development and creating trauma informed educational practices during her time as an educator. Her mission is to engage with children and to support their journey so that they may become and maintain their best selves. Being a part of Communities In Schools allows her to do that.
Nava Elementary School
Blanca was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico and graduated from Earlham College with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science. Being raised on the South Side of Santa Fe, Blanca is no stranger to the hardships that many families navigate in their day to day lives. These challenges have inspired her to be a present and active member of her community, with hopes of bridging the socioeconomic gap through educational resources.
ERIKA REYES GONZALEZ
Capital High School
Erika was born in Zacatecaz, Mexico and raised in Santa Fe. She graduated from Capital High School in 2003. With the support of programs such as Engaging Latino Communities for Education and Aspire to Success, she is proud to be a first generation college graduate. In 2014, she received her Bachelor's of Social Work from New Mexico Highlands University and completed her Master's in Social Work in July, 2020. Erika is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW). She was raised in a low-income immigrant household and understands the challenges that many students and their families undergo every day. Erika “pays it forward” by helping students achieve their academic goals and by motivating them to aspire towards higher education.
Milagro Middle School
RosaRío earned her Master's Degree in Social Work with a clinical focus. Her studies led her into outreach with adolescents, teen parents and families. She served at the Santa Fe Adult Corrections Facility, working with incarcerated parents and at the Juvenile Detention Facility. She also completed her practicum in Social Work at the Drug Treatment Court and has been involved in advocating for Prisoners' Rights. RosaRío has worked with Communities In Schools at Nava Elementary since 2014 and transitioned to Milagro Middle School in 2020.
Cesar Chavez Elementary School
Originally from Colorado, Camilla moved to New Mexico and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology with a minor in Spanish. Camilla feels very fortunate to have a family that supported her in any educational endeavors. She plans to continue her education, and by sharing her education journey and being an example to students, she is hoping they can work together to achieve the goals they may have. She feels that many people have encountered struggles, whether they are related to education, work, finances, etc. Camilla plans to use her skills and knowledge to be a source to students and families and demonstrate that a bump on the road should not deter one from moving forward.
JUSTIN MICHAEL SALAZAR
El Camino Real Academy
Justin Michael Salazar was born in Greeley and grew up in Johnstown in Northern Colorado. He attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins and in 2008, he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Languages, Literatures, and Cultures with a concentration in Spanish. In 2010, he earned a second Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies, also from Colorado State. Working for Communities In Schools allows Justin Michael to help students and families be their best selves, which in turn helps him to be his best, too. "It’s an honor to be a part of Communities in Schools of New Mexico where I can make a positive contribution to Santa Fe."
Capital High School
Adrian attended Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Honors in Composition and Rhetoric. Having been raised in a low-income community, he wanted to come back to Santa Fe and work with students from a similar background to help set them on a path towards their dreams. He will work with the students of Capital High School, where he graduated in 2015, to help students realize their own potential and to become thoughtful communicators who inspire their own community to pursue a college education.
THOMAS "SINTE" TORREZ
Capital High School
Sinte Torrez is a proud Mestizo artist of Mexican, French, Iroquois and Mohican descent. He was born and raised in Wisconsin and has called Santa Fe home since 2006. Sinte studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in New Media Arts & Film in 2013. Sinte has over 23 years of experience working with youth in various programs from Juvenile Corrections to Emergency Shelters and After School Programming. Sinte has been a Site Coordinator with Communities In Schools of New Mexico since 2014.
Salazar Elementary School
Born and raised in Santa Fe, Andel is not only a product of Santa Fe Public Schools, but worked as a classroom teacher for the district after graduating with her degree in Elementary Education. She also taught in Denver, Seattle and Albuquerque. After being in the classroom for a total of nine years, she returned to Santa Fe to work with Communities in Schools, realizing that she wanted to be able to support students in new ways. “I always saw a need for our students, families, and school staff to receive the kind of support that CIS can offer. As a classroom teacher I was limited. With CIS I am able to help build foundations, so that students can succeed.”
Sweeney Elementary School
Jennifer was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico and has lived in Santa Fe since 2017. Jennifer completed her Bachelor’s in Communication at the University of New Mexico and her Master’s in Social Work at New Mexico Highlands University. As a licensed social worker, Jennifer worked in various schools in Santa Fe as a therapist for one year as well as completed both of her internships throughout the Santa Fe Public Schools. Jennifer is passionate about communication, holding space for others, and serving the community she loves.