Community Advisory Board
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.
Executive Director, Health Equity Council
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
Josue De Luna Navarro
Associate Fellow, The Institute for Policy Studies
Gabriel Antonio Gonzales
Associate Superintendent, Albuquerque Public Schools
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.
Ambassador Delano E. Lewis
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.
Director of the Children's Cabinet
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.
Co-Founder and Co-Director, Santa Fe Indian School Leadership Institute
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.
Chief Information and Strategy Officer, Albuquerque Public Schools
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.
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.
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.
Former New Mexico Senator, Communications Consultant and Author
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.
Corinne Wolfe Fellow for Transformative Advocacy and Lawyer, New Mexico Immigrant Law Center
City of Albuquerque
Deputy Legislative Director, Office of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham
Associate Professor of Government at NMSU and Domenici Institute Representative
Executive Director, Tewa Women United
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.
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.
Founder and Executive Director, Think New Mexico
Cabinet Director, Office of Governor Susana Martinez
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.
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.
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.
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.