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.
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.
Mercedes grew up on the coast of rural northern California and later graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Global Studies and an emphasis on Spanish culture and language. After graduating, she returned home to work with underserved students and families in her community through Americorps. Mercedes is thrilled to continue her passion of helping to create strong families and communities in Española with Communities In Schools of New Mexico.
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.
School Support Liaison at Nina Otero Community School
Rachel grew up in Oregon where she also attended college at the University of Oregon. There she got a degree in Spanish and International Studies, with a focus on international gender issues. After graduating, she lived in Gijon, Spain for three years where she worked as an English teacher for elementary, middle and high school aged kids. She then brought her love of working in the schools back to the US where she lived in Colorado and now New Mexico. She is extremely passionate about public education, and is dedicated to helping kids succeed in the school system.
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.
Berta is originally from San Jose, Costa Rica. She attended college in Heredia, Costa Rica and earned her BS in Marine Biology. Berta came to New Mexico in 2003 and pursued her Master's at NM Tech, where she graduated with an MS with a Specialization in Science Teaching. Berta's experience includes working with students who are low income and students that are first generation college-bound. She brings three years of experience working with at-risk youth in the Albuquerque schools. She is passionate about delivering quality services to benefit youth and their families.
Katrina grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and in 2008 moved to Dallas,Texas to get her Bachelor’s Degree in Children and Family Dynamics. While there she spent summers working at an inner city kids' camp. Following graduation, she lived in Tacoma, Washington where she worked with families in after school programs. Her experience in Washington inspired her to move back to Santa Fe to earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work. She became a Licensed Master Social Worker in October 2019. Katrina is passionate about working with students and families to help them build strong foundations to succeed in school and achieve their dreams. She is very excited to be a part of Communities In Schools of New Mexico!
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.
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."
Heather found New Mexico in 1998 as an AmeriCorps Vista Volunteer associated with the Boys and Girls Club in Santa Fe. She went on to receive a Master's Degree in Social Work from Highlands University and began her career working with youth in the Santa Fe Public Schools, later assisting youth involved in the Juvenile Justice system. She now combines her diverse and exceptional experience with a love of the outdoors that enriches her support of students and 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.
Originally from Ventura, California, Angelica graduated with a Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in the Latino Population from Antioch University in Santa Barbara, California. She has worked in the development stage of new programs for families in need of resources and guidance through family court. She has also participated in the development of court mandated programs for families with mental health needs and worked as a Marriage and Family Therapist for Foster and Adopted children.
Evolving from an education and Bachelor's Degree in Media Art and Film from the Institute of American Indian Arts, Sinte has worked in service to youth for over sixteen years. Before joining CIS, he worked with Youth Shelters and Family Services, aiding at risk and homeless youth of New Mexico. He also coordinated various elements of the “Access” (Community Arts and Career Collaboration ) program – a branch of Youth Shelters in Santa Fe. Sinte is a valuable member of our program at Capital High 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.”
Stephanie joined the Santa Fe CIS team in 2014. She previously served with CIS as a Site Coordinator for a dual language school in Michigan. Stephanie’s rich experience includes work in youth development as a Peace Corp volunteer in El Salvador and teaching experience in Honduras. She is deeply committed to enthusiastic and compassionate support for her students and school.