Our Team

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Jade Rivera
Lead Founder

 

Jade Rivera is an educator with experience in education policy reform. Ms. Rivera solidified her commitment to education after she joined Teach for America in Las Vegas, Nevada. During her time in the classroom, she achieved significant academic gains with her middle school mathematics students. Realizing the tremendous impact of state and local policy on transforming education, Ms. Rivera went on to join the state of New Mexico’s Public Education Department as a Policy Administrator. At the Public Education Department Ms. Rivera directed innovative Truancy and Dropout Prevention programming, as well as managing professional development opportunities for educators in areas of culturally and linguistically responsive instruction and Common Core State Standards implementation. In 2016, Ms. Rivera was accepted into the highly selective Building Excellent Schools Fellowship, a rigorous, yearlong, comprehensive training program in urban charter school creation and leadership. Eager to make a positive contribution to her hometown of Albuquerque and the neighborhood where she grew up. Ms. Rivera holds a B.A. from the University of New Mexico and a M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Cynthia Al-Aghbary
Founding Board Member

 

As the Executive Dzirector of Government Programs and Clinical Operations, Mrs. Al-Aghbary oversees health care management project implementation, acting as the business lead for multi-million dollar Medicare and Medicaid projects. She is responsible for starting the Social Community Care teams that address social determinants of health, starting a Health Education and Health Literacy program, and ensuring compliance with federal and state CMS and Medicaid regulations during program implementations and ongoing operations. She has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Nursing and Masters of Science Degree in Community Health Nursing from the University of New Mexico. She has worked as a nurse in New Mexico since 1982 and is aware of the literacy needs of many of the state’s residents due to her role in healthcare. As a result, she understands the importance of a solid foundational education program in improving the overall health and social welfare of the community.

Beverly Cruz
Founding Board Member

 

Beverly Cruz is currently a Senior Vice President at the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, where she oversees all areas of the Chamber’s programs and operations. With a team of 10, Mrs. Cruz works to move forward the mission of the Chamber and plan for the future of the business advocacy organization through project and budget management, talent acquisition, contract negotiation, financial statement analysis, internal and external logistical and communications planning, community outreach, and press correspondence. She also has a professional background as a 4th grade teacher, president of a manufacturing company, and television reporter, producer, and anchor. Mrs. Cruz is passionate about improving educational outcomes for children across our city, particularly those who reside within the greater downtown area.

Tomas Garcia
Founding Board Vice Chair

 

Tomas Garcia is a litigation attorney at Modrall, Sperling, Roehl, Harris, and Sisk, P.A. in Albuquerque, where he practices in the areas of commercial, healthcare, torts/personal injury, and transportation law.  Mr. Garcia serves as the Chair of the State Bar of New Mexico Young Lawyers Division, and he holds a seat on the State Bar of New Mexico Board of Bar Commissioners.  He is a fellow of the American Bar Association Business Law Section and, as a participant in the American Bar Association Litigation Section’s Diverse Leaders Academy, he is also a member of the Litigation Section’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.  Mr. Garcia was named “Young Lawyer of the Year” by the New Mexico Defense Lawyers’ Association in 2015.  Before entering private practice, Mr. Garcia clerked for Justice Charles W. Daniels of the New Mexico Supreme Court.  A native of Albuquerque’s South Valley, Mr. Garcia received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, his master’s degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and his bachelor’s degree from Yale University.

Joshua Gallegos
Founding Board Secretary

 

Joshua Gallegos is a Senior Academic Advisor at the University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management. Mr. Gallegos established his desire to work with students in higher education after participating in a fellowship that emphasized using a theory-to-practice-based approach to student development.  Mr. Gallegos has provided professional academic advisement and mentoring to college students across colleges at the University of New Mexico for five years. His particular interests are engaging first-year students, primarily first-generation, LGTBQ, and military veteran students. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of New Mexico and has been committed to the UNM community as a professional since that time. 

Scott Hughes
Founding Board Chair

 

Scott Hughes is Research Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR). After finishing his doctorate in history in 2000, Mr. Hughes entered public service in the fall of 2001. He spent two and half years as a research analyst for the New Mexico Legislative Education Study Committee and seven years on the staff, with the last two years as the Director of the Office of Education Accountability within the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Finance and Administration. Mr. Hughes has been with CEPR for the past six years, where he has headed or served as a team member on various education-related projects from early childhood to higher education.

Rosa Pynes
Founding Board Member

 

Rosa Pynes has dedicated her professional career to education, seeing it as her purpose to continue involvement in education to assure all children can obtain an excellent education. Mrs. Pynes is a native of Grants, New Mexico and a graduate of the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management. After graduation from UNM, she joined Teach For America, to teach 4th and 5th grade bilingual Math and Science in Dallas, TX. After teaching for 2 years, she joined the central staff at Dallas Independent School District as the Early Childhood Coordinator, supporting Dallas ISD’s early childhood initiatives, impacting over 7,000 children. Mrs. Pynes now works for New Classrooms as a Site Operations Manager, overseeing and leading innovative solutions to operational challenges to increase effectiveness as partner schools.

Katie Rarick
Founding Board Treasurer

 

PictureKatie Rarick has worked in education for over ten years. She is a native New Mexican who attended Albuquerque Public Schools and received her undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems from The Anderson School of Management at University of New Mexico. She taught 7th and 8th grade math in Philadelphia, PA and also received her Masters of Education from The University of Pennsylvania. She currently runs the regional finance team at Teach For America, where her team manages a $216 million budget. She moved back to New Mexico three years ago with her family and plans to send her children to public schools, because she believes her children will receive an excellent education from her local community schools.

 

One School, One Vision, Together we are on a Mission