Photo of FFE staff

Our Team

Our Staff

Rebecca Belletto headshot



Rebecca’s career journey has taken her from international nonprofit work and classroom teaching to statewide grant management and policy-making. Growing up on and near the Navajo Nation as a white person, Rebecca learned a lot and was compelled to study systems to navigate change. She holds a BA in International Relations from Pomona College in Claremont, CA and, through a Rotary Scholarship, an MA in International Development from Nelson Mandela Metropole University in South Africa. Upon returning to the U.S., Rebecca taught 6th grade history and English in South Los Angeles as a Teach For America corps member while earning an MA in Elementary Education from Loyola Marymount University. When she returned to New Mexico, Rebecca worked as a P20 Analyst for the New Mexico Higher Education Department where she co-wrote and managed a federal college access grant (GEAR UP). Rebecca’s policy experience also includes several years as a Committee Analyst for the New Mexico State Senate and a Quality Control Reviewer for the Legislative Education Study Committee.

Most recently, Rebecca was Managing Director of Network Strategy with Teach For America New Mexico where she supported the 250+ alumni in the state and developed new programming, such as the New Mexico Teacher Leader Fellowship, available to all early-career educators statewide. Rebecca is committed to opening doors for young people via work-based learning experiences and is excited to be a part of the Future Focused team. She brings skills in relationship building, facilitating connections, strategic thinking, and developing programmatic infrastructure to the position.

Outside of work, Rebecca and her son enjoy hiking, camping, making up dance routines on the trampoline, and practicing taekwondo.


Communities of Practice
Rebecca is co-facilitating and co-designing a statewide Community of Practice (CoP) for districts implementing authentic learning experiences for their students through work-based learning.

She is developing ways for CoP participants to learn from each other to strengthen the high school experience and post-high school transition for New Mexico’s young people.

WBL Implementation
Rebecca provides thought partnership and support to schools implementing work-based learning and sharing lessons learned from Future Focused’s X3 internship program.

Alayna Bowman headshot



As the Assistant Director of Project, Data, and Technology Systems, Alayna provides data system training and technical assistance to partners across New Mexico who are implementing work-based learning programs. She collaborates with FFE’s evaluation, operations, and internal project teams to build systems and processes that support program quality and continuous improvement.

Before joining Future Focused Education, Alayna worked with youth in the International District in Albuquerque, Los Lunas, and Belen.  She grew up in the International District and attended the University of New Mexico. She hopes to use her role to create youth- and community-based equity in the systems used at Future Focused Education and its partners. She loves spending time with her family, photographing people and places, and eating new foods with her two tiny foodies.


X3 team support and program development
Alayna facilitates the development of systems and practices to ensure that X3 interns are supported and able to successfully complete their internship experiences. However, she also bridges them into relationships that can help them continue to meet their educational and career goals.

She provides differentiated levels of support and connection to family, school, and community-based structures collaboratively with the Director of Social Emotional Learning & Well-being.

Mentor, school, and X3 intern and coach support
Alayna cultivates positive relationships with all partners to ensure strong lines of communication and support are offered. At the same time, she guides X3 coaches to engage in relationship-centered social and emotional learning practices. Alayna cocreates and co-facilitates training with the X3 team and interns, as well as our partner mentors and schools. She additionally supports students who are currently matched at on-site internships.




Keila began her career in the world of education as a bilingual paraprofessional while completing her Bachelor’s in Fine Arts at the University of New Mexico. She later began her teaching career as an alternative licensed teacher and completed her Masters in Special Education at New Mexico Highlands University. Prior to joining FFE, Keila worked as a District Resource/Professional Development Support for Albuquerque Public Schools for 6 of those 17 years. As a second generation Mexican-American, raised in the International District of Albuquerque by immigrant parents, her undying passion to work shoulder to shoulder with educators & help create more opportunities ‘para mi gente’ brought her to the Future Focused Education team.


Graduate profiles and Capstones in New Mexico:
Leaning on Keila’s experience as a Professional Development facilitator, she offers PD directly to schools and districts related to equitable grading practices, Project-Based Learning, Performance Assessments, and Graduate Profile and Capstone Project design and implementation.

Keila works with educators and school and district leaders from throughout the state in the Communities of Practice and through direct partnerships to support schools as they develop community-defined Graduate Profiles and community-connected Capstones.

Lucia Duncan Headshot

Lucia Duncan

FFE & CIS Alumni and Internship Director

As the Alumni and Internship Director for X3 NeXt, Lucia is collaborating with Communities In Schools of New Mexico to develop transition supports and work-based learning opportunities for youth in Santa Fe.

Lucia has taught and mentored youth interns in a variety of settings, including New Mexico Highlands University. Prior to moving to New Mexico, Lucia was Manager of ZUMIX’s youth and community radio station in East Boston, where she collaborated with schools and community organizations. Lucia is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, has an MFA in film production, and loves to dance.


CIS Alumni Program

Lucia is designing an Alumni Program with Communities In Schools of NM to create a continuum of support for youth transitioning out of high school.

X3 NeXt

Lucia is building out the employer base and recruiting youth participants for work-based learning opportunities in Santa Fe.

Lisa Martinez headshot

Lisa Harmon-Martínez

Learning By Doing Director

Lisa, who joined Future Focused Education as our Learning by Doing Director, has 13 years of experience as a high school educator. During that time, Lisa served in many roles, including as the co-coordinator of the bilingual program and a teacher–leader facilitator. Lisa is passionate about supporting teachers and conducting holistic assessments that demonstrate the extent of students’ knowledge and abilities while celebrating their complex linguistic and cultural wealth. In 2020, Lisa received the NCTE award for Leadership Award for People with Disabilities, which is a competitive national award put out by the National Council of Teachers of English.

She is currently a candidate for a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership at the University of New Mexico. Her dissertation focuses on the assessments used to award seals of bilingualism and biliteracy around the country and in New Mexico and explores whether they are equitable and intended to value the identity and linguistic range of emerging bilinguals.


Graduate profiles and capstones in New Mexico
Lisa and the Capstone Initiative Team work directly with the Public Education Department, schools, and districts, by offering support and resources as they develop or refine graduate profiles and capstones as a way to reimagine teaching, learning, and assessment in the state. This initiative is offered as a solution to the inequities pointed out in the Yazzie/Martinez ruling, as well as a means to re-engage students across the state.

To grow the Capstone Initiative, Lisa and the team offer design sessions and professional development and facilitate a number of collaborative learning groups, which include New Mexican students and educators, as well as school and district leaders.

X3 NeXt, post-secondary internships, and career pathways
Lisa and the X3 NeXt team are exploring youth apprenticeship in New Mexico by working with schools, employers, and post-secondary partners to develop meaningful career pathways that can begin as early as the 10th grade and continue after high school graduation.

Jaime Headshot

Jaime Hernandez

Assistant Director of Workforce Learning

Jaime Hernandez is a native New Mexican raised in Belen and Albuquerque’s South Valley. The proud son of Mexican immigrants, he is a first generation college graduate, holding a Master’s degree in Communications and Public Relations from Eastern New Mexico University. In his role as Assistant Director of Workforce Learning, Jaime collaborates with all X3 initiatives to expand the programmatic reach across the state.

Working with both business and education has shown him the importance of giving every young person the opportunity to gain employability skills to shape their career. Jaime’s goal is to help close equality gaps, break cycles and barriers, reduce brain drain, and show how talented New Mexicans truly are.

Jaime played college and semi-professional soccer, he is now a youth soccer coach, husband, and father of three.


X3 Internships and X3 NeXt
Jaime works on recruiting and expanding employer partnerships across the state to open up new and diverse internship opportunities
Jaime also coaches and mentors X3 interns  

Work-based Learning
Jaime focuses on strengthening collaborative partnerships with secondary institutions, cities, industry associations, and other key partners to bolster the work-based learning opportunities in the state

Mistie Gallegos Headshot


Director of Operations

Mistie has been part of the Future Focused team since 2015. As the director of operations, Mistie manages the systems and processes that the organization uses to ensure that our work is of high quality and our employees are cared for. A background in engineering informs Mistie’s approach to solving problems and building systems.

Mistie was born and raised in the South Valley of Albuquerque and studied at New Mexico State University. She interned and then worked at Intel for 13 years before moving to Future Focused Education. Knowing firsthand the power of internships to grow skills and professional networks, she has helped lead X3 and X3 NeXt program development to ensure that interns and employers have meaningful and supported experiences. Mistie’s family is her greatest joy, so when not at work, you can often find her attending her children’s sporting events or crafting for team functions.


X3 and X3 NeXt operations
Mistie established and now oversees comprehensive onboarding processes, employer contracts, stipend awards, internal communication, and other logistics for the X3 and NeXt programs, balancing an entrepreneurial mindset with quality standards and systems. 

Supporting organizational growth and expansion
Mistie dedicates herself to streamlining and documenting processes and practices as Future Focused extends our work to new geographies in and out of New Mexico. Mistie is helping the organization continue to scale our programs while prioritizing support for the unique needs of young people.

Finance management
Mistie manages the organization’s finances and partners with the executive director to support Future Focused’s financial health and growth. This includes grant management and reporting while also building systems to accommodate the organization’s growing portfolio of fee-for-service projects.




As the X3 Work-based Learning Coordinator, Gema works to create meaningful opportunities for youth to gain employability skills, by providing life skills support and direct social and emotional support. Gema’s goal in working with youth is to help them build their confidence, and remind them of their unique gifts and talents.

Gema grew up in Sunland Park, New Mexico–near border town, El Paso, Texas–and has lived in Albuquerque for 13 years. She is a first-generation, queer, Mexican-Indigenous, master’s graduate, holding a degree in Education Reform from the Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies Department at the University of New Mexico (UNM). At UNM, Gema examined the impacts of Historical and Intergenerational Trauma and advocated for Trauma-Informed Approaches in Schools K-12. Gema comes to Future Focused as an experienced educator and coach, coordinator, facilitator, youth advocate, and mentor. They are deeply passionate about equity, education, mental health, and the arts.


X3 Internships
Gema coaches and provides direct support to X3 interns. 

Employer Relations and Recruitment
Gema identifies, recruits, and expands employer partnerships across Albuquerque to find exciting, diverse, and relevant internship opportunities for interns.

Work-based learning
Gema facilitates and strengthens relationships between school partners, interns, and mentors.

Grace Headshot



Grace comes to Future Focused Education with nonprofit administrative experience informed by her education and interest in organizational change and development. She received her Bachelor in Psychology and Communications and completed her Master in Public Administration with a minor in Community & Regional Planning from the University of New Mexico. Her role cuts across Future Focused’s initiatives and includes internal evaluations, data systems implementation, organizational learning and continuous improvement, the dissemination of learning, and data and evaluation projects for external clients. She endeavors to employ diverse methods, including participatory, collaborative, culturally responsive, and non-Western approaches, in the design of Future Focused project and program evaluations. Grace is passionate about elevating the experience and expertise of young people in New Mexico to improve their educational systems and outcomes.

She is a lifetime resident of Albuquerque and lives in the North Valley with her husband, niece, and fur babies. Her happy places include running through the Bosque and being in the community garden with her hands in the dirt.


Capstone experiences in New Mexico
Grace co-facilitates a statewide Youth Participatory Action Research internship, which recruits and pays youth to conduct research on graduation profiles and capstone projects through a lens of liberation and community empowerment.

Data Systems and Program Evaluation for Future Focused and others
Grace collaborates with programmatic teams to develop data plans and evaluation parameters to collect data to improve and grow Future Focused and other programs, report to funders and policymakers, and share stories of learning.


Patricia Headshot

Dr. Patricia Jiménez-Latham, Ed.D.


Patricia comes to Future Focused Education with 39 years of experience in K-20 education settings and the non-profit sector. Patricia’s years of experience have centered on ensuring equity and access to high quality education experiences for diverse student populations and the educators who welcome them into their classrooms.

Patricia was the former director of the Center for the Education and Study of Diverse Populations at New Mexico Highlands University where she served in various roles for over 18 years. She continues to be part of the New Mexico Highlands School of Education family as an Alternative Certification Teaching Program Field Supervisor. Patricia served as project manager for Transform Education New Mexico, a grassroots non-profit organization created by advocates across the state to ensure implementation of the landmark lawsuit, Martinez/Yazzie vs. the State of New Mexico (2018).


Senior Advisor for Communications and Outreach
Patricia is responsible for connecting Future Focused Education with nonprofit organizations and education stakeholders across New Mexico. Her duties include brainstorming potential partnerships, engagement with partners across the state, maintaining a calendar for outreach events and working closely with community partners to plan and execute various outreach events. Patricia also serves as a project lead for the annual EdUprising Conference.

Derek Headshot

Derek Kuit

Assistant Director of Operations

Derek was born in California and raised in Arizona and New Mexico. A Sandia High School graduate and first-generation college student, Derek went to the University of New Mexico as a non-traditional student and earned a double major bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology and was a Ronald E. McNair scholar. He also holds a master’s degree in educational psychology with a minor in educational leadership. 

Derek comes from the world of education research and program evaluation. This background will help as he grows his role into project and operations management.


Developing and growing the X3 program’s operational processes and procedures
Derek is supporting the growth of the X3 Internship program by developing processes to streamline the operations of X3 initiatives as they expand. Derek also works behind the scenes to ensure X3 interns submit the required paperwork and receive their stipends.

Growing the use and value of the WorkReady Certificate
Derek is helping to build up the value of the WorkReady Certificate among interns and employers. The WorkReady Certificate offers X3 interns the opportunity to show employers the range of skills they have developed throughout their internship experiences and can be included on a resume.

Providing project management for Fee-for-Service projects
Derek supports new Fee-for-Service projects in the role of project manager.


Dr. Kim Lanoy-Sandoval

Deputy Director

Dr. Kim Lanoy-Sandoval is a proud New Mexican with over 20 years of experience in education. As Deputy Director at Future Focused Education, she co-designs educational systems with local expertise to ensure a more equitable, relevant, and engaging learning experience for youth. Kim is a mom, educator, and member of the Navajo Nation who grew up on the reservation. She is passionate about creating educational landscapes that value and affirm students’ identities, experiences, and learning well beyond standardized scores.

Kim began her teaching career as an alternative licensed teacher with a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Ft. Lewis College and completed her Master’s in Special Education at the University of New Mexico. She loved teaching at Albuquerque Public Schools as a special education teacher supporting youth needing specialized learning, mental health, and emotional support. After nine years in the classroom, Kim became a reading specialist and district trainer, co-creating a practitioner-based model for a special education licensure program for a district serving over 70,000 students that is still being implemented.

In 2016, Kim joined Cooperative Educational Services as their Senior Trainer, where she had the honor of collaborating with districts in every part of the state on professional development, curriculum alignment, student engagement, mentorship models, leadership development, and new teacher induction. The opportunity to train hundreds of educators and co-teach in classrooms across New Mexico solidified her passion for supporting the work of educators in rethinking and redesigning outdated and inequitable school systems. In 2019, Kim became the Co-Founding Director of LEAP, Leading Educators through Alternative Pathways, New Mexico’s statewide teacher licensure program, and completed her Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership at Gonzaga University.

Kim serves as Vice Chair for the New Mexico Indian Education Advisory Committee and is on the New Mexico Professional Practice Standards Board.


Strategy Development
Kim is creating and planning the organization’s growth strategy and overseeing the strategic plan’s implementation. She collaborates with colleagues to build management systems that improve efficiency for our team, partners, and clients. Kim also leads the organization’s financial viability beyond the day-to-day accounting and budget responsibilities.

Deepening Equity Culture
Kim works to collaborate, nurture, and support staff to help make the working environment safe, productive, and rooted in equity. Kim leads the partnering strategy to ensure Future Focused Education’s respect, reciprocity, relevance, and responsibility to the organization’s mission and values.

Mike May Headshot


Director for Workforce Learning

Mike leads the X3 Internship team in creating paid internships for underserved youth in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Espanola. He also supports schools and districts around New Mexico to create their own work-based learning programs that provide youth access to pathways to industry exposure, training, and employment. 

Mike grew up in a rural community, and because his own path was shaped by internship experiences in politics, journalism, and education policy, he knows first-hand how accessing mentorship and industry exposure can be transformative for young people. He’s passionate about creating such opportunities for others.

Mike has worked in education since 1996. He has held teaching and school leadership positions domestically and internationally in a variety of settings, including laboratory, charter, public, and private schools. Mike has lived and worked internationally in Honduras, Switzerland, and Germany, and enjoys travel, languages, and spending time in New Mexico’s beautiful outdoors. He also serves on the governing board of the American Heart Association.


Expanding the X3 Internship Program
Demand for high quality work-based learning opportunities continues to grow. Through collaborations with local schools, post-secondary institutions, and employers, Mike and the X3 Team are guiding the expansion of FFE’s X3 Paid Internship program to serve more participants. The program has now placed over 1,300 interns and paid out close to $1.5 million to youth, ages 16-24.

WBL Continuum Buildout
Mike is working with representatives from education, workforce development, and youth to create a local WBL landscape that supports earlier work-based learning exposure and a more intentional transition out of high school toward higher-wage career pathways. FFE has become a state leader in developing pathways into Healthcare and Construction Design and is now close to launching the state’s first registered youth apprenticeship pathway.

State-wide Community of Practice
New Mexico’s rural communities are invested in growing and retaining their own young talent. Mike co-facilitates a statewide community of practice in partnership with the NM Public Education Department to support educators and employers from around New Mexico to refine, design, and expand work-based learning opportunities in their communities.

Tony Headshot


Executive Director

Tony’s family has a long history in New Mexico, and his Chicano heritage informs his vision. Tony has worked in education since 1990. Over the years, he has been a leader in establishing the context for a new vision of high schools in his hometown of Albuquerque and across New Mexico. His broader vision is for schools to become assets that can make our communities healthier, more prosperous and just.

In 2008, Tony co-founded the first in a network of the next generation of career-focused schools that are designed to serve students who are off track with respect to graduation or are no longer attending school. Prototyping and launching these schools has provided a framework for transforming schools focused on providing “the best education for the students who need it the most” throughout New Mexico.

His work focuses on the inherent value of young people and their lived experience, which frames his approach to the most complex and seemingly intractable problems we face.


Future Focused Instituto del Puente
Tony is working with Mike May to launch Future Focused Instituto del Puente. The Instituto is a component part of Future Focused Education with a specific mission to scale work-based learning across New Mexico. Together, they are creating the policy vision for the New Mexico Legislature and Public Education Department and the right conditions in the school districts of our state.

School transformation
Tony is working with Lisa Harmon-Martinez to implement graduate capstones and graduate profiles across the state of New Mexico. Together, they are implementing a “vertical” strategy education transformation. This includes statewide Communities of Practice that impact all levels of public education, teachers, young people, and district leaders. 

School and community reciprocity
Tony and Moneka Stevens are collaborating to create the Youth Civic Infrastructure Fund as a way to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations in New Mexico so that they can become vital partners with schools. 

Social and emotional learning and well-being
Tony is helping Ali Moore realize her vision of social and emotional learning as the pathway to learning and lifelong well-being. The success of the X3 Internships and the future of the Capstone Initiative are rooted in care and concern for young people, and the record numbers of disengaged and alienated young people are their focus going forward.

Atieno Ouma headshot



As an X3 Work- based Learning Coordinator, Atieno supports recruiting and maintaining relationships with employers and schools to create meaningful internship opportunities. She facilitates group internships which prepare youth with work and life skills that are based in cultural and community relevance. Supporting youth with social emotional learning and uplifting them to their full potential is her strength! 

Atieno is originally from Kenya and grew up in the land of the Wampanoag, Nipmac and Mass-adchu-es-et people. She has lived in New Mexico for twelve years and has worked in outdoor environmental education.  Before joining Future Focused Education, Atieno worked as a Program Director for Hands on Heritage in Santa Fe. Her hope is to continue to disrupt the barriers to accessing education, land and wellness. 

In her time off, she loves backpacking, skiing, biking and exploring.


X3 Internships
Atieno works on recruiting and expanding employer partnerships across the state to open up new and diverse internship opportunities
Atieno also coaches and mentors X3 interns  

Work-based Learning
Atieno focuses on strengthening collaborative partnerships with high schools, cities, industry associations, and other key partners to bolster the work-based learning opportunities in the state




Brisa Rodriguez, a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is an accomplished professional dedicated to driving positive change through policy initiatives and equitable access to education. With a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Spanish, as well as a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of New Mexico, Brisa combines her academic background with a passion for creating opportunities for marginalized communities of color. Brisa’s commitment to equitable access to education brought her to Future Focused Education, where she serves as the Evaluation Manager and Analyst. Drawing from her extensive background in evaluation and analysis, she collaborates with internal and external partners, including working alongside team members, to build robust internal evaluation practices for the organization.


Program Evaluation
Brisa plays a key role in shaping the internal evaluation framework for Future Focused Education. Her collaborative efforts extend beyond organizational boundaries, as she works with external partners to develop evaluative practices tailored to meet the unique needs of students.

Instituto del Puente
Passionate about policy initiatives, Brisa works diligently to advance work-based learning opportunities for the youth of New Mexico through Instituto del Puente. Her efforts contribute to fostering equal access to education and creating pathways for the future leaders of the state.

Results-Based Accountability
At the heart of Brisa’s evaluation and analysis methods is a commitment to Results-Based Accountability. She employs this alternative approach to measurement, placing students and multicultural communities of New Mexico at the center of outcomes. This ensures a comprehensive understanding of the impact of educational initiatives.

Beyond Work
Outside of her professional pursuits, Brisa finds solace in nature. An avid camper and hiker, she enjoys exploring the scenic landscapes of New Mexico with her two dogs. Her love for fishing adds a touch of tranquility to her life outside the office.

Maria Headshot

Maria Rogahn

Assistant Director of Learning by Doing, Capstone Project Manager

Maria brings over 30 years of experience to Future Focused Education, including classroom teaching, program development and management, family/community engagement, community organizing, case management, and academic research.

With a Bachelor’s degree in Government from Harvard University and a Master’s in Curriculum and Instructional Leadership from the College of Santa Fe, she has worked with communities in Albuquerque, Socorro, the D.C. area, Boston, Guadalajara, and Ghana. Guided by a fierce commitment to efforts that center equity and justice, Maria is a proud member of Families United for Education (FUE), a coalition of students, parents, teachers, and community members organized to address institutional racism in Albuquerque Public Schools, and of the Planning Committee for La Cosecha, a national, annual dual language conference hosted by Dual Language Education of New Mexico. 

Maria is also certified as a Youth & Teen Mental Health First Aid Instructor and a Facilitator for Equity with Embracy Equity. 

Originally from Minnesota, Maria has called New Mexico her home for 25 years. In her free time, she embraces opportunities to improve her Spanish, explore the outdoors with her husband as well as their two children and five dogs, and uses her decades-long journey with mental illness to help erase the stigma surrounding mental illness and treatments.


Capstones in New Mexico
Maria is a core member of the Capstone Initiative Team, an effort to support schools and districts in designing capstone projects as a way to reimagine teaching, learning, and assessment in the state. 

Local Support for Implementation
Maria provides fiscal management of the Initiative, organizes technical assistance for schools and districts , documents Communities of Practice and Capstone Educator Network meetings, provides support to local contractors, manages module development for graduate profiles and capstone design and implementation, organizes in-person and online events, and arranges site visits.

Ali Headshot



Ali focuses on the advancement of culturally- and linguistically-responsive social emotional learning and support practices. This work enhances the positive development of youth, and the professional growth of adults working with youth, to transform community and workplace settings. Ali is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) from New Mexico with over 15 years of social work experience domestically and internationally.

Her work in New Mexico has included: in-home services to youth and families, building case management services within School Based Health Centers, training youth peer support workers, and opening a peer-support drop-in center for transition-age young people who have experienced disconnection from school, work, family, and/or community. Ali is part of the leadership team with SEL4NM, and a certified Youth Mental Health First Aid instructor. 

Ali is most proud of her role as a partner and a mama to five children who keep her humble, honest, and practiced in her own SEL and wellness strategies so that she can show up as her best self for those who need her the most.


SEL Capacity Building
Ali collaboratively advances trauma-responsive SEL practices that can be adapted to various cultural and environmental contexts to improve mental wellness and wellbeing.

X3 Coaching Team
Ali supports the growth of the X3 coaching team, which serves as the primary support for interns and mentors. Her coaching is grounded in SEL and ongoing reflective practice, so that support and learning is modeled alongside interns and in collaboration with schools, family, and community partners.

Multigenerational Impact: Creating Opportunities for Young Parents
In partnership with X3 Young Parent Alumni and statewide community partners, Ali is creating family-centered strategies to engage young parents in paid work-based learning opportunities to bridge them into college and career pathways for economically viable futures for themselves and their children.

Thalía Silva headshot

Thalía Silva


Thalía comes to the Future Focused Education with a background working with youth in the International District in Albuquerque. She grew up in the Southeast Heights and is finishing her Business Degree at the University of New Mexico. She is passionate about making a difference in her community and working on projects that positively impact youth in Albuquerque.

As Operations Administrative Assistant, Thalía assists the Operations team on developing and implementing financial procedures while performing various supportive tasks of the organization.

Moneka Headshot



Moneka is a community organizer. For the past 20 years, Moneka has worked in community development and curriculum design focused on positive youth development and youth leadership. At Future Focused, she serves as the community engagement director and supports schools in shifting to community-centered and community-driven practices. She served as the former director of the New Mexico Youth Alliance, a statewide youth council committed to community transformation through policy development. She also served as the co-director of Community Learning and Public Service, a university-based organization developed through community partnerships, to engage university students in youth development. 

She serves on the boards of Dorn Charter School, Together for Brothers, and Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of New Mexico with a concentration in family studies, health education, and community and regional planning. She earned her master’s degree in community and regional planning.


Youth Civic Infrastructure Fund
Moneka supports youth organizing in our state through the Youth Civic Infrastructure Fund, which focuses on education transformation and philanthropic innovation. The fund builds collaborations between non-profit organizations and schools to engage youth in their communities to affect social change.

Sin Fronteras Education Partnership
Moneka collaborates with schools to expand family partnerships through Sin Fronteras Education Partnership (SFEP). SFEP is a learning series that provides educators, educational leaders, community partners, and school staff with strategies to practice equitable family partnerships in their school communities. 

Anti-racism trainings and convenings
These discussions reflect on systematic racism and explore how schools must transform to be accountable to students, families, and communities. Moneka does this by implementing an anti-racist framework that makes students successful because of their communities rather than in spite of them.

Courtney Thompson headshot



As the Assistant Director of Social Emotional Learning & Internship Support, Courtney’s role is to support the X3 interns and staff as well as our partner mentors and schools. She collaborates with X3 staff and partners to cocreate and implement the curriculum and preparatory experiences for the standard, virtual, and group internships. Courtney further provides training and professional development opportunities for X3 coaches to support their coaching growth in conjunction with the Director of Social Emotional Learning & Well-being. 

Courtney comes to Future Focused Education with multiple years of non-profit program management experience where she partnered with young people to create more youth centered spaces. Courtney received her Master of Social Work from New Mexico Highlands University with a concentration in Leadership and Administration after working many years with unhoused individuals. Courtney has worked with youth in multiple settings including shelters, drop in centers and street outreach programs in both New Mexico and Nevada. Courtney has developed and created multiple trainings that focus on how adults can support young people better while also addressing their own perspectives and responses. Courtney is a macro thinker and excels at making programs more accessible to provide the best support for young people and the community that works with them.


X3 team support and program development
Courtney facilitates the development of systems and practices to ensure that X3 interns are supported and able to successfully complete their internship experiences. However, she also bridges them into relationships that can help them continue to meet their educational and career goals.

Courtney provides differentiated levels of support and connection to family, school, and community-based structures collaboratively with the Director of Social Emotional Learning & Well-being.

Mentor, school, and X3 intern and coach support
Courtney cultivates positive relationships with all partners to ensure strong lines of communication and support are offered. At the same time, she guides X3 coaches to engage in relationship-centered social and emotional learning practices. Courtney cocreates and co-facilitates training with the X3 team and interns, as well as our partner mentors and schools. She additionally supports students who are currently matched at on-site internships.

Our Board

Katie Avery

Katie Avery

Katie Avery is a Professional Learning Director with Panorama Education, where she provides strategic advising to school districts nationwide who are committed to centering student, family, and staff voices in efforts to improve school culture and climate. Katie also engages in local consulting, supporting public education and education-adjacent entities with stakeholder engagement, family resource development, and equity-centered design and programming. Before moving to New Mexico to serve as the Strategic Outreach Director for the Public Education Department in 2019, Katie led educator development at the Flamboyan Foundation.

Katie spent the first fifteen years of her career in Washington D.C. where she served as a bilingual Montessori teacher, charter school co-founder, teacher evaluator and coach, engagement trainer, anti-bias facilitator, and educational director. She holds a BA in Criminal Justice from The George Washington University, attended The Barrie Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies for her Primary Teacher training, and currently lives in Albuquerque with her two truly awesome children.

Elisa Begueria

Elisa Begueria

Elisa Begueria is superintendent of Lake Arthur Municipal Schools and President of CES. Elisa advocates for student equity and inclusion, supports much-needed educational reform for teachers, and lobbies for funding opportunities to improve teaching and learning. Before her superintendence, Elisa was the Director of Leadership and a mentor and coach for principals of schools implementing turnaround initiatives for the Roswell ISD.

Her understanding of standards and research-based strategies and her ability to provide high-quality professional development are proven to increase student engagement and overall student achievement. Elisa also served as an innovative principal of a top-performing elementary school after having taught for several years at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

Jason Espinoza

Jason Espinoza

Jason Espinoza is co-owner of KW Consulting LLC, which is a full-service firm specializing in government affairs and association management. Jason has years of experience in public policy development, government affairs, and association management. He served as President and CEO of New Mexico’s statewide chamber of commerce and prior to that served as its Vice President of Government Affairs. In both roles, Jason led the organization’s public policy and government relations efforts.

Jason also has successfully led two statewide business associations. Jason has demonstrated an ability to increase revenue and member engagement. Jason received national recognition for membership growth and retention from the Association of State Chamber Professionals.

Nichelle Gilbert

Nichelle Gilbert

Nichelle Gilbert serves as Director of Operations for the Partnership for Community Action (PCA). Through advocacy and leadership development, PCA focuses on building a movement around critical community issues such as education, economic equity, wellness, and immigrant rights. In her role, Nichelle oversees day-to-day operations for the organization, implementing a broad strategic plan aligned with the mission and vision while strengthening infrastructure to increase efficiency and effectiveness. 

Prior to her position at PCA, Nichelle served at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center for over a decade, working to increase and support a diverse health workforce for New Mexico. Nichelle holds a MBA with a concentration in strategic planning and policy from the University of New Mexico.

Dr. Meriah Heredia-Griego

Dr. Meriah Heredia-Griego

Dr. Meriah Heredia-Griego is currently the Evaluation, Learning and Impact Consultant for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in New Mexico. During the 2019 Legislative Session, Dr. Heredia-Griego served as the Acting Deputy Director for the New Mexico Legislative Education Study Committee. She has been a bill analyst for the New Mexico Council of University Presidents, the University of New Mexico and the New Mexico State Senate.

Dr. Heredia-Griego holds a PhD in Higher Education Administration from Colorado State University, a Masters of Community and Regional Planning and a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and Chicana/o Studies from UNM. During her time at UNM, Dr. Heredia-Griego served as Director and Research Assistant Professor at the UNM Cradle to Career Policy Institute (CCPI), previously the Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR), where she partnered with key education agencies and stakeholders to conduct applied research in the areas of education policy and program evaluation. Her work has been critical to making data and research available and useful for decision makers. She has nearly twenty years of experience working with students, families, leaders, and policymakers to address some of the biggest challenges facing children and families in New Mexico.

Dan Hill

Dan Hill

Dan Hill, Future Focused Education’s Board President, is an education lawyer who primarily represents charter schools. Previously he was the General Counsel for the New Mexico Public Education Department. As a former teacher and Teach For America corps member he maintains a deep commitment to public education. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Law, and the University of Arizona. He has two children, and in his spare time runs ultramarathons.

Mayte Lopez

Mayte Lopez

Mayte Lopez is the Educational Program Manager and Course Facilitator in the Home Health Aide Training Program for Encuentro NM, a non-profit adult education center for Latine immigrants in ABQ. Mayte has over five years of experience in community organizing and advocacy, program and curriculum development and implementation, data collection and analysis, in both Spanish and English. She currently teaches the entry level Home Health Aide Training Course two times per year. 

During her role at Encuentro, she has lobbied in Washington D.C. with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, participates on the Essential Jobs, Essential Care Steering Committee in New Mexico, and has spoken to the realities and importance of investing in immigrants as domestic workers at the American Society on Aging National Conference with PHI.

Martin Madrid

Martin Madrid

Superintendent, Santa Rosa Consolidated Schools, NMSSA- President-Elect

Martin is currently serving as superintendent of Santa Rosa Consolidated Schools. He also serves on the New Mexico Activities Association Board of Directors. Martin has served his entire 24-year career at Santa Rosa Schools.

He is currently in his fourth year as the SRCS superintendent. Martin enjoyed teaching elementary and hopes to one day finish his career teaching at the elementary level because he feels male teachers make a significant impact.

Milo McMinn

Milo McMinn

Director of College & Career Readiness, Farmington Municipal School District

Milo McMinn is the lead for district CTE curricular programming and student work-based learning internship experiences. Milo has over 16 years of experience working as a high school teacher, coach, principal, and administrator in New Mexico.

Milo is a champion for creating new and innovative learning experiences for students and has worked to develop robust community partnerships to promote local economic development. In 2021, Milo was awarded the ACTE New Mexico Career and Technical Education Administrator of the Year for his work as founding Principal of Bond Wilson Technical Center which is an early college high school CTE academy in partnership with Navajo Technical University and local industry partners such as Navajo Transitional Energy Company, Arizona Public Service, and Raytheon.

John Mierzwa

John Mierzwa

John Mierzwa is CEO and cofounder of Ingenuity Software Labs, a custom software firm. Ingenuity Software Labs has designed and developed various custom software applications for commercial, nonprofit and government clients in all types of industries around the country. He is the Founder of Deep Dive Coding Bootcamps, a software development bootcamp in Albuquerque, later acquired by Central New Mexico Community College. 

John was Director at the CNM STEMulus Center in Downtown Albuquerque since its inception. He helped forge partnerships with businesses, government agencies and foundations to build opportunities for low-income residents, people of color and others to learn to code and obtain high-paying jobs in New Mexico. 

John serves on the boards of Workforce Connection of Central New Mexico, Technology Leadership High School, Future Focused Education, Computer Science Alliance, and the New Mexico Technology Council. John holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management.

Glenna Voigt

Glenna Voigt

Glenna Voigt serves as a Public Education Commissioner for the State of New Mexico. She is a WK Kellogg Foundation Fellow and the retired founding Principal of the Media Arts Collaborative Charter School, the first state-authorized charter school in New Mexico. As an educator, Glenna believes that public education policy should support schools as incubators for students as independent thinkers and creators within their communities and society at large, while providing them the 360 degrees of support they require to grow and flourish within the 21st Century.

Prior to becoming a school administrator, Glenna was a physical education teacher, athletic coach, a photographer in the U.S. Air National Guard, and a teacher in Tokyo, Japan. Glenna serves on three boards and in her free time enjoys playing golf, piano, cycling and reading.

Kateri Zuni

Kateri Zuni

Kateri Zuni is a proud daughter of the Isleta and Zuni Pueblos. She is a BA graduate of the University of New Mexico in multimedia journalism and political science. She earned her MA in Studies of Law with a concentration in Indian Law from the UNM School of Law in 2019.

Kateri is the Associate Director for the Center of Southwest Culture whose mission is to develop healthy Indigenous and Mexicano/Chicano communities through economic development, cultural, and educational programs. She previously worked as a radio producer and youth coordinator for Generation Justice where she was trained in Positive Youth Development practices for youth engagement. She was also awarded the 2018 New Economy Coalition Climate Reporting Fellowship as a result of her work. Kateri serves as Board Chair for Naeva, formerly the Native American Voters Alliance Education Project. She lives in Albuquerque with her husband and son.