Community Advisory Board


Photo: Amanda Aragon

Amanda Aragon

Executive Director, NewMexicoKidsCan

Amanda was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM and grew up surrounded by a large and close-knit extended family. Upon graduation from Rio Rancho High School, Amanda left New Mexico to attend the University of Tulsa. There she obtained a degree in international business and Spanish, becoming the first person in her family to graduate from college.

After college, Amanda began a corporate career working as a supply chain coordinator for ConocoPhillips in Houston, TX. After working in Houston, Amanda returned to New Mexico to continue her career with ConocoPhillips as a supply chain lead and eventually as director of stakeholder relations for New Mexico.

After six successful years in the energy sector, Amanda pursued public service as the director of strategic outreach at the New Mexico Public Education Department. Her experience with the New Mexico Public Education Department affirmed her passion for education and motivated her to engage more stakeholders in working to improve New Mexico’s education system, which led to the development and creation of NewMexicoKidsCAN.

Photo: Enrique Cardiel

Enrique Cardiel

Executive Director, Health Equity Council

Enrique is currently Executive Director at the Health Equity Council (HEC), formerly Bernalillo County Community Health Council (BCCHC). He is a proud grandparent, parent, and spouse. He also does artwork and plays music. The HEC is looking to work on the social conditions that create health equity. Enrique has been a health promotion worker since January 2001 for which he has worked for the NM Department of Health, St. Joseph’s Community Health, and Bernalillo County. Prior to public health work, Enrique worked at Parents for Behaviorally Different Children as a family advocate, NM Voices for Children as a case manager, and at LULAC National Educational Service Center (LNESC) as an educational counselor. Enrique lives in Albuquerque’s International District and graduated from UNM with a BA in Political Science, and NMSU with a Masters in Public Health.
Photo: Jon Courtney

Jon Courtney

Deputy Director, State of New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee

Jon is currently Deputy Director at the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) overseeing their Program Evaluation Unit.  LFC Program Evaluation staff conduct reviews of the costs, efficiency, and effectiveness of activities in state agencies.  Jon has been at LFC for over a decade during which time work of the Program Evaluation Unit has led to major policy changes and cost savings, and has been recognized by the National Legislative Program Evaluation Society with multiple awards for excellence in research methods, excellence in evaluation, and impact of work.  Jon previously worked as a Principal Scientist supporting the work of the United States Air Force Research Laboratory in San Antonio Texas.  Jon is originally from the beautiful Espanola Valley where he graduated from McCurdy High School before earning a B.A. in Psychology from UNM (2000-Go Lobos!), along with an M.S. (2003) and Ph.D. (2006) in Psychology from TCU (Go Frogs!).  Jon also completed the Senior Executives and State and Local Government program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2015. 

Dr. Courtney previously served on the Community Advisory Board from 2019-2021

Photo: Josue De Luna Navarro

Josue De Luna Navarro

Associate Fellow, The Institute for Policy Studies

Josue is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. His interest is in researching and developing solutions on issues regarding the climate crisis, immigration and public health. He also provides climate policy support for the Center for Civic Policy and the coalition of  Power4NM and is the founder of the national UndocuHealth program for United We Dream. His work with United We Dream emphasized the importance of community health within the immigrant justice movement. In New Mexico, Josue is the co-founder of the New Mexico Dream Team (NMDT), the largest statewide undocumented-led organization in NM. With the NMDT, he directed a research study with collaboration with UNM’s TREE Center for Advancing Behavioral Health regarding the health impact of anti-immigrant and racist policies on undocumented youth. Josue holds a B.S. Chemical Engineering from the University of New Mexico.
Photo: Gabriel  Gonzales

Gabriel Antonio Gonzales

Associate Superintendent, Albuquerque Public Schools

Dr. Gabriel Antonio Gonzales is a native New Mexican who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education, a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership, and a Doctorate of Education in Teacher Education, Educational Leadership and Policy, all from the University of New Mexico. He started his Career at Washington High School as a mentor and tutor. His passion for teaching and learning is what took him to Albuquerque High School, where he served as a bilingual social studies teacher, activities director and assistant principal. In 2012, he was named principal of Atrisco Heritage Academy High School where he led during a time of extraordinary growth and change. Currently, Dr. Gonzales serves Albuquerque Public Schools as the Associate Superintendent.
Photo: Maggie Hartstebbins

Maggie Hartstebbins

New Mexico Natural Resources Trustee

In December 2019, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham appointed Maggie Hartstebbins as New Mexico’s Natural Resources Trustee, a role in which she is responsible for ensuring that our state’s precious natural resources are restored, and communities made whole, following contamination by hazardous substances or oil. Her appointment as Trustee followed more than ten years as a Bernalillo County Commissioner where she was elected three times to represent 130,000 constituents in an economically and demographically diverse district in central Albuquerque. On the county commission, Hartstebbins championed ethics reform; improving access to mental health care and substance use disorder treatment; criminal justice reform; and environmental protection. Her background includes work for the U.S. Congress, the New Mexico House of Representatives, and the Mid-Region Council of Governments, where she focused on water conservation and regional transportation. Hartstebbins has a History degree from Harvard University where she was a Division 1 All-American athlete; Harvard Crimson Athlete of the Year; and a Harvard Varsity Club Hall of Fame inductee.

Photo: Ambassador Delano  Lewis

Ambassador Delano E. Lewis

U.S. Ambasador

Delano E. Lewis, Sr., a native Kansan, received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Kansas in 1960 and a Juris Doctorate Degree from Washburn University School of Law, Topeka, Kansas, in 1963. Mr. Lewis served ten years in the Federal Government from 1963 until 1973.
In June 1999, President Clinton nominated Delano Lewis as US Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa. The United States Senate confirmed him on November 10th 1999. He assumed his Ambassadorship in Pretoria, South Africa on December 22, 1999 and served until July 13, 2001.
In September 2006, he assumed the position of Senior Fellow at New Mexico State University where he established The Institute for International Relations. He served as the Director of the Institute. In addition, Mr. Lewis now serves on the board of the American Institutes for Research.
Ambassador Lewis is currently the Chairman of Lewis Limited Productions, LLC - Lewis Limited is a global Business Development, Marketing & Management solutions consulting firm whose strategic methodologies and commitment to precise execution provide high-level innovative solutions for its government and commercial clients. Ambassador Lewis heads up the Cultural Diversity & Inclusion practice.
Photo: Michelle Melendez

Michelle Melendez

Director of Equity & Inclusion, City of Albuquerque

Michelle Melendez is the inaugural director of the City of Albuquerque Office of Equity and Inclusion. She is a Chicana, native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with more than 18 years of experience in community development, leadership development and advocacy to address the social determinants of health and their policy antecedents. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s in Communication, having been as a journalist for 13 years before moving into community health equity work. Michelle worked as the Director of EleValle, a South Valley Healthy Communities Collaborative of the Rio Grande Community Development Corp; and as Development Director and Training Director at First Choice Community Healthcare. She also worked as Community Services Director of CHI St. Joseph’s Children, and for the New Mexico Department of Health after she left her journalism career in 2001.

Photo: Mariana Padilla

Mariana Padilla

Director of the Children's Cabinet

Mariana Padilla supervises coordination between every department that touches on the lives of children in New Mexico. She is the newly appointed director of the Children’s Cabinet, a department that was reintroduced by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham after years of lying dismantled by her predecessor. It’s a position that wields great influence — not least because it affords direct access to the governor.

Padilla taught elementary school in the Albuquerque Public Schools. With a graduate degree in community planning, she headed Lujan Grisham’s New Mexico congressional office for six years. Padilla is the mother of three young girls, all of whom attend public school in Santa Fe. She grew up in the South Valley of Albuquerque, where her parents — both schoolteachers — still live.
Photo: Regis Pecos

Regis Pecos

Co-Founder and Co-Director, Santa Fe Indian School Leadership Institute

Regis Pecos is the former Governor of Cochiti Pueblo and served on the Traditional Council for 35 years. He received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and his graduate degree from UC Berkeley. He is also a graduate of the Senior Government Executive Program at the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University. Regis was the longest serving Chief Executive of the New Mexico Office of Indian Affairs, a position he held for 16 years. The late President Wendel Chino, longtime Chair of the New Mexico Commission on Indian Affairs, referred to him as the chief architect of building State/Government relations. He served as the Chief of Staff to the late Speaker of the House Representative Ben Lujan for 12 years. Regis has also served as the Chief of Staff and the Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs to former Representative Rick Miera in the Office of the Majority Floor Leader. He is a Trustee Emeritus of Princeton University. He has taught each summer for the last 14years in the Junior Policy Institute at the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He is  the Chair of the prestigious Board of Governors for the Honoring Nations Program at the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University He has also been an Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of New Mexico. He is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Leadership Institute, an Indigenous Think Tank based in Santa Fe, New Mexico on the campus of the Santa Fe Indian School now in its 24th year..
Photo: Amy Whitfield

Amy Whitfield

Policy Advisor, Office of the Governor

Amy Whitfield has had a strong career in social services. She has served New Mexico for almost 20 years working in small non-profits serving numerous fields including: anti-violence, substance abuse treatment, teen pregnancy and parenting, leadership mentoring, community organizing and non-profit program development. She is the former Executive of the YWCA New Mexico and NM Domestic Violence Resource Center. She also formerly served as the African American Health Specialist at the Center of Excellence in African American Health for UNM Community Health Program. She has also served as adjunct faculty in social work for Central New Mexico Community College and New Mexico State University. Most recently, Ms. Whitfield served as the Special Projects Coordinator for the NM Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD), responsible for planning and implementing projects that move forward the strategic plan goals. In her role she developed a new Workforce Development Bureau, which builds the professional development of new and existing employees and builds pipeline programs to child welfare employment. Ms. Whitfield also provides the staff support for the 2020 created Governor’s Advisory Council for Racial Justice.


Photo: Richard Bowman

Richard Bowman

Chief Information and Strategy Officer, Albuquerque Public Schools

Dr. Richard Bowman is the Chief Information and Strategy Officer of the Albuquerque Public Schools, where he leads data strategy and technology. Previously, he served as the Chief Information and Strategy Officer for Santa Fe Public Schools, leading district strategy and data and digital learning initiatives as their graduation rate increased over 14 points. In his current role, he has significantly expanded the strategic use of data for policy and management.

Dr. Bowman has more than two decades of experience in education policy, research, and practice. He has served on board of the Association for Education Finance and Policy, and is a current member of the Strategic Data Project Alumni Council at Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research.

Dr. Bowman holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Policy Analysis from the RAND Graduate School, and a Bachelor of Science from the California Institute of Technology.
Photo: Ernie C'de Baca

Ernie C'de Baca

President of Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce

Ernie C’deBaca is President & CEO of the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce (AHCC).  Ernie began in that capacity in June 2017 having served prior as the Vice President of Conventions and Tourism for the chamber.  Ernie retired from PNM Resources in January 2016 having worked there for 38 years and serving the past 20 years as its Vice President of Governmental Affairs.

Ernie was also a long-serving Board Member at the Chamber and was its chair in 2006.  In his current capacity, Ernie leads the AHCC which is the largest chamber in New Mexico and the largest Hispanic Chamber in the United States.  The mission of the chamber is to promote economic development, to enhance economic development opportunities and to provide business and workforce education with an emphasis on the Hispanic and Small Business Community in Albuquerque and New Mexico.

Photo: Scott Darnell

Scott Darnell

Senior Advisor for Policy, Planning and Operations, Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce

Scott Darnell currently oversees policy development and strategic planning for the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce,.  Previously, Mr. Darnell served as the Director of the Albuquerque Innovation Team (ABQ i-team), a city-affiliated entity funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies that conducted groundbreaking research on crime in Bernalillo County. From 2011 to 2016, Mr. Darnell served as a senior advisor to New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez – first as her Director of Communications, and then as her Deputy Chief of Staff. 

A recipient of the distinguished Public Service Fellowship, Mr. Darnell earned a Master in Public Policy (MPP) degree from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government after graduating from the University of New Mexico as a Regents Scholar with a degree in political science. 

Photo: Dede  Feldman

Dede Feldman

Former New Mexico Senator, Communications Consultant and Author

Dede Feldman served in the New Mexico Senate for 16 years, chairing the Senate Public Affairs Committee and the joint Health and Human Services Committee for most of that time. She is the author of landmark healthcare, water, consumer protection and campaign finance reform legislation including the Graduated Drivers License Program, the Do Not Call List, the Brain Injury Services Fund and many others.  Since she left the legislature she has written two books, Inside the New Mexico Senate: Boots, Suits and Citizens and Another Way Forward: Grassroots Solutions from New Mexico.  Prior to joining the legislature she ran a small public relations company, and was a journalist and a high school and college teacher.

Dede holds a BA and MA in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania.  She moved to the North Valley of Albuquerque in 1975 where she and her husband Mark built one of the area’s first passive solar adobe homes.
Photo: Jazmín  Irazoqui-Ruiz

Jazmín Irazoqui-Ruiz

Corinne Wolfe Fellow for Transformative Advocacy and Lawyer, New Mexico Immigrant Law Center

Jazmín is a Corinne Wolfe Fellow for Transformative Advocacy, sponsored by the University of New Mexico School of Law. She was born in Sinaloa, Mexico and grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. Jazmín received her Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in finance and honors interdisciplinary studies from the UNM Anderson School of Management. Thanks to the Obama era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, she graduated from the UNM School of Law in May 2017 and was admitted to the NM State Bar in December 2017. Jazmín‘s fellowship project focuses on economic development for immigrant families and children across New Mexico through policy advocacy, community education, and direct legal advocacy projects. She also serves on the executive board of Encuentro as treasurer and the City of Albuquerque’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs as secretary.
Photo: James Lewis

James Lewis

City of Albuquerque

Mr. Lewis has had a distinguished and honorable public service career that has spanned four decades and included many prestigious honors.  As the first and only African-American to be elected to a statewide office and is the longest serving (13+ years) New Mexico State Treasurer, he served as an elected and appointed official (appointed by presidents, governors, mayors and other elected officers) for the City of Albuquerque.  Currently, Mr. Lewis is the University of New Mexico Alumni Association President and the Senior Advisor for Public Safety for Mayor Keller.  He works closely with UNM Regents, the President, the Foundation, legislators, Athletics, various colleges, student organizations, alumni chapters, University Communications, Alumni Relations Office, and the Greater Albuquerque Community to enhance communication, collaboration, and cooperation.  It is his opinion that “UNM must tell its story as one of the best research institutions in the United States, and accentuate our esteemed alumni and faculty.” Mr. Lewis previously served on the Community Advisory Board from 2017-2019.

Ane Romero

Deputy Legislative Director, Office of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham

Photo: Neal Rosendorf

Neal Rosendorf

Associate Professor of Government at NMSU and Domenici Institute Representative

Mr. Rosendorf previously served on the Community Advisory Board from 2017-2019.
Photo: Corrine  Sanchez

Corrine Sanchez

Executive Director, Tewa Women United

Dr. Corrine Sanchez of San Ildefonso Pueblo is Executive Director of Tewa Women United and has many years of sexual assault intervention and prevention training. She completed her doctorate at Arizona State University in Justice Studies. She has worked in the sexual violence field for 20 years and helped refine Tewa Women United’s awareness and healing intervention, “Trauma Rocks”. Dr. Sanchez has been part of the co-creation process of building Indigenous Knowledge through the contribution of TWU’s Research Methodology and Theory of Opide, a braiding of practice to action. Dr. Sanchez was one of sixteen visionary leaders across the country selected as the first cohort of the Move to End Violence. She served on the National Tribal Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) Taskforce to look at policy development for child sexual abuse investigations in Indian Country.


Photo: Julie Morgas Baca

Julie Morgas Baca

Bernalillo County Manager

Julie Morgas Baca is presently the County Manager of Bernalillo County, chosen for the county’s top position by the Bernalillo County Commission in September, 2015.  She brings a wealth of experience in public administration, finance and community relations. With her guidance, Bernalillo County leads the way with improved mental health and support services.From 1995-2003, Morgas Baca served as fiscal director of the Second Judicial District Court, where she oversaw a $40 million budget and presented before statewide legislative bodies.From 2004-11, she served as a deputy county manager in Bernalillo County, where she was responsible for parks and recreation, economic development and other community services. From 2013-15, she was president and CEO of the National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation, where she was responsible for the foundation’s fiscal integrity.Morgas Baca holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix and received the designation as fellow of the National Institute of Court Management.

Morgas Baca was born in Tooele, Utah, a small town outside of Salt Lake City. She was raised in El Paso, Texas and has three older brothers. She is married to former Chief District Court Judge Ted Baca, and they have a daughter, Celina.

Photo: Gabriel Campos

Gabriel Campos

Director, Office of Diversity and Human Rights, ADA Coordinator City of Albuquerque

Gabriel Campos is the Director of the Office of Diversity and Human Rights and the designated ADA Coordinator for the City of Albuquerque. Under his direction, the department addresses discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and physical handicap in areas such as housing, employment and public accommodation. To this end, he proactively engages in pre-litigation strategies to help citizens reach a win-win resolution. He also works on broader initiatives related to pay equity and race equity and strives to drive positive programmatic systemic change.

Mr. Campos received his Bachelor of Science in engineering from New Mexico State University. He later attended the University of New Mexico for his Master of Business Administration (MBA), and the University Of Wisconsin School Of Law for his Juris Doctor. Prior to his current role as the Human Rights Officer, he worked for New Mexico Legal Aid, the 11th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, General Motors and Westinghouse Electric. He is also an appointed member of the NM Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission.

Photo: Fred Nathan

Fred Nathan

Founder and Executive Director, Think New Mexico

Fred Nathan founded Think New Mexico and is its Executive Director. Fred served as Special Counsel to New Mexico Attorney General Tom Udall from 1991-1998. In that capacity, he was the architect of several successful legislative initiatives and was in charge of New Mexico’s $1.25 billion lawsuit against the tobacco industry.
Photo: Leslie  Porter

Leslie Porter

Cabinet Director, Office of Governor Susana Martinez

Photo: Jennifer  Ramo

Jennifer Ramo

Executive Director, New Mexico Appleseed

Jennifer Ramo is an attorney and the Executive Director of New Mexico Appleseed.   New Mexico Appleseed is a nonpartisan, nonprofit policy advocacy organization that creates effective solutions to poverty.  We work from the community level up to the state, federal, and tribal governments to understand the barriers that keep families in poverty and address them through effective policies. New Mexico Appleseed’s work has recently been highlighted the New York Times, CNN, NBC Nightly News, the Huffington Post and media outlets around the world.  

She is a graduate of the University of Southern California and Tulane Law School.  

Photo: Charles Sallee

Charles Sallee

Deputy Director, Legislative Finance Committee

Mr. Sallee has worked for the Legislative Finance Committee since 2005 conducting and overseeing program evaluations of state agencies, higher education, and public schools.  He also conducted evaluations for the Texas Legislature at the Sunset Commission.   Some of his work has led to major policy changes or cost savings in the areas of Medicaid, higher education, adult and juvenile corrections, public schools, and workers compensation.  He also has experience providing direct human services, including to people with developmental disabilities and abused children.  Mr. Sallee grew up in New Mexico and earned a BSW from New Mexico State University and MSW-Administration from Texas State University-San Marcos. 

Kristin Szczepaniec

Knowledge Manager & Indigenous Education Specialist, NACA Inspired Schools Network

Kristin Szczepaniec is Seneca and Polish, from North Tonawanda, New York. She is responsible for the NACA Inspired Schools Network Indigenous Education Knowledge Management system working to facilitate the sharing, development, and measurement of best practices across Indigenous schools. NISN works to collect quantitative and qualitative information to help tell the stories of the work being done in Indigenous communities, particularly through education. Before coming to NISN, she served as the Director of Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships for Teach For America's Native Alliance Initiative, supporting efforts to build a strong community of Native leaders focused on culturally relevant education. She served as a middle school Math teacher in the Pueblo of Laguna. She earned an MPA in Education Policy & American Indian Studies from Cornell University, holds a Master of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico and a BA in Economics and Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame.

Photo: William Taylor

William Taylor

Dean, New Mexico Highlands University School of Business, Media, and Technology

I was born in Los Angeles, California, and lived there until I graduated from UCLA in 1974.  The day after I graduated, I left the U.S. for West Africa, where I served as a Peace Corps volunteer.  I also served with the Peace Corps in Chile.  I later earned an M.A. from the University of Chicago in Public Policy with a concentration in applied economics and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of New Mexico.  I have spent most of my professional career in senior levels of government, having worked for the Cities of Chicago and Albuquerque, the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee, and the United States Treasury.  Most of my work in government has been in areas related to applied economics and public finance. I have worked as a consultant in the developing world and have presented seminars in many countries in Africa and the Middle East.  I have been with Highlands University for twelve years, having served as a Professor of Economics, Vice President for Finance and Administration and the Dean of the School of Business, Media and Technology.