Faculty & Staff Directory

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Rebecca Allahyari


Learning Specialist. Rebecca has a BA in political science from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. in sociology with an emphasis in Feminist Theory and Research Methods from the University of California, Davis. She has taught anthropology, religious studies, and American Studies courses at various universities and has recently been a tutor and then Associate Director of the Library at Santa Fe Prep. Rebecca completed a six-year term on the Santa Fe Public Library Advisory Board. Her son Jeremy Brooks graduated from Prep in 2014, and her daughter Lila Brooks in 2015.


Marco Antonio Jaime Andrade

Facilities Staff. Marco is from Aguascalientes, Mexico, and has also lived in Denver, Colorado. Marco has three children.


Summar Aubrey


Associate Director of Admissions, Co-Director of Tuition Assistance, Director of the EE Ford Summer Teachers’ Colloquium. Summar Aubrey was born and raised in Santa Fe and graduated from Santa Fe Prep in 2000. She earned her BA in History from Yale University and her MA in Teaching Social Studies from Columbia University, Teachers College. Summar returned to Prep in 2019 after working in education in California for many years. She was Dean of Students at Sonoma Academy in Santa Rosa, Director of Student Life for the Stanford University Online High School, and taught world history while serving as the Assistant Director of the Middle School at Chadwick School in Palos Verdes. Summar loves exploring New Mexico with her family and is well practiced in the art of camping with kids under 5.


Eduardo Beltran

Lunch Program Chef. Originally from Mexico City, Eduardo moved to the US in 2000 and began working as a sous-chef at Crown Plaza, San Marcos, and Italian Rustic Restaurant in Chandler, Arizona. In 2010, he moved to Santa Fe, where he managed the Body Cafe Restaurant for two years, followed by working as a Chef and Event Captain for Walter Burke Catering, where he has been for the last 12 years. He has recently worked in Prep’s maintenance department for five years. However, Eduardo’s true calling and passion are in the kitchen, where he is skilled in preparing Sushi, Italian, American, and traditional and gourmet Mexican cuisine.


Tamara Benally


ROCA Program Fellow. My name is Tamara Benally. I am a part of the Diné (Navajo) tribe in New Mexico. I am from the small town of Kirtland, NM. I graduated from Fort Lewis College with a BS in Public Health and a minor in Chemistry. My hobbies are gardening, baking, morning walks, painting, Pilates, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.


Mark Bixby


Dean of Students, 11th Grade Class Sponsor, History Teacher. Mark holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin and earned a Master of Arts in liberal arts from St. John’s College.  Mark teaches the 11th-grade U.S. History course that covers the colonial period through WWII.  The class offers a wide variety of instructional materials, including traditional text, primary and secondary source scholarship, as well as fiction, essays, podcasts, etc.  As the students are kids of the Southwest, the class also includes a great deal of regional history and current events discussion to further connect them to the problems and possibilities of their home region.


Chris Border

Mathematics Department Chair, Geometry, C-I. Chris received a master’s degree in physics from the University of Washington and a subsequent master’s in teaching from the University of Alaska Southeast. Prior to joining Prep, he taught mathematics and science in remote Alaska, Hawaii, and, most recently, Washington. Outside of the classroom, Chris enjoys travel, astronomy, cooking, photography, and hiking.

Jordan Bosiljevac


Breakthrough Associate Director. Originally from Albuquerque,  Jordan graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a bachelor’s degree in International & Intercultural Studies and Spanish. After graduating, she taught English in Puebla, Mexico as a Fulbright-Garcia Robles Grantee. Jordan worked for three summers as a Breakthrough Teaching Fellow, and she is happy to be back working full-time in the Prep community.


Hayley Burke


Associate Director of College Counseling. After graduating from Bryn Mawr as a sociology major, Hayley stayed on to pursue her Master of Social Work degree from Bryn Mawr’s Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. While at Bryn Mawr, Hayley was surrounded by extraordinary women who pushed her to become a strong advocate against social inequity and injustice. Working towards this goal, she co-founded a reading and writing group for local incarcerated women. She recommitted to this mission of making higher ed more accessible by serving as an Admission Counselor at Pitzer College in Claremont, California for five years. Hayley loves to travel, and spends much of her time subtly sending plane ticket deals from Scott’s Cheap Flights to her friends. Her dream destinations include Greece, Montana, Spain, Chile and Mexico City. Outside of work, Hayley is an avid beach-goer and fearlessly experimental baker.


David Caldwell


Assistant Athletic Director, Middle School Athletics Director, Varsity Swim Coach, Strength and Conditioning Coordinator, Middle School PE teacher. Dave received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from James Madison University. His professional background is in coaching. Dave has coached for over 30 years at the club, high school, and college levels in multiple sports. The NFHS named Dave the Women’s National Coach of the Year for swimming and diving 2017-2018. Dave enjoys his free time biking and spending time with his family.


“I believe a teacher helps students to understand how they learn; what works, and what doesn’t.  The most important aspect of this process is to work with students within a structure that each student builds; they are self-reliant, and can direct themselves to achieve.”

Chris Chakeres


Head of Middle School, Math C. A 1994 graduate of Prep, Chris holds a BS in Psychology from the University of New Mexico and an MA in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University. He is also a Teach for America: Baltimore alum. Chris is in his 20th year at Prep and 9th as Middle School Head. He has taught in the Science, History, Math, and Health/PE departments and has coached over 30 Prep teams in basketball, soccer, volleyball, and track and field across levels and genders. In addition, Chris has served on various visiting teams for ISAS accreditation and as a BTI leader for ISAS’ Beginning Teacher Institute. Away from school, Chris loves outdoor adventures with his family and playing pickleball.



“The early adolescent years are as critical as ever. At Prep, we strive to engage, challenge, support, nurture, and inspire our middle school students to be budding scholars and compassionate and responsible community members–and win their attention over screens, soundbites, and playing it safe.”

Udell Chavez


Spanish. Udell received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Spanish Literature from the University of New Mexico. He also holds a Master of Education from the University of the People in Pasadena, California. Udell has been part of the program Teach for America in Los Ángeles, California, where he taught Spanish in the LAUSD. He has also had experience teaching Spanish to heritage speakers and French in Las Vegas, Nevada. Udell is originally from Chihuahua, México, but has grown up in Santa Fe most of his life. He has had the opportunity of working at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and incorporates social justice and human rights elements in his curriculum thanks to that experience. A citizen of the world, Udell is happy to come back to Santa Fe to help give back to his community. When not teaching languages, he enjoys learning new languages as a hobby, like Arabic and Russian. He also enjoys traveling to different places, Star Wars, playing football, video games, dancing, singing, and reading.


Marissa Chrysler


PE, Health, Life Skills. Marissa graduated with a Bachelor and Master of Arts in Spanish from the University of Colorado with an emphasis on language acquisition, cultural studies, and educational methods and theories. She is also currently completing a master’s in clinical mental health. Marissa has worked in both private and public schools in California and Colorado. Marissa is passionate about traveling and has studied abroad in the Dominican Republic, Spain, Italy, and Costa Rica. She has also led several international student trips. Apart from teaching, Marissa enjoys Salsa dancing, yoga, and spending time with her family.


Jocelyne Comstock


Upper School Science. Jocelyne has been teaching middle and high school science for 21 years. She holds a bachelor’s in Natural Sciences from UHH in Hawaii, with a minor in Earth and Space; a master’s level secondary science teaching certificate also from UHH; and a masters in Earth Science from UNC in Colorado. Her research involved describing an extraterrestrial impact structure (crater) located near Peerless, Montana, that formed ~430 mya.  Jocelyne has a Level II secondary science teaching license with the state of New Mexico and previously held a professional teaching license in Colorado. Jocelyne teaches 11th-grade Physics in both a regular class format and a more accelerated honors class format.  She also teaches an 11th/12th grade elective in Earth Sciences on Natural Disasters and a 12th grade elective in AP Physics 2.

“Quantum Learning (an education system) teaches that “Failure leads to Success”.  It teaches us what doesn’t work. True to that point, Edison found 1,000 ways how not to make a light bulb. So, ‘it is okay to try and fail and try and fail again, but it is not okay to try and fail and fail to try again!'”

Ellee Cook


Biology, Anatomy & Physiology, and Virology. Ellee Cook (Dr. E) is an academically trained scientist with a passion for science education. Ellee graduated from Santa Fe Prep in 2009 and returned to campus in 2019 to teach science. She holds a BS (Trinity University) and Ph.D. (University of Missouri) in Biological Sciences. Outside the classroom, Ellee enjoys historical fiction, green chile, and trips to the mountains-preferably on horseback!


Lis Desmond


P.E., Middle School Track and Field Coach. Lis has taught and coached middle and high school students for 19 years. Lis grew up in the Chicago area and attended St. Lawrence University in Upstate New York. Upon graduation, Lis immediately moved to Santa Fe to pursue her interests in outdoor education and the visual arts. She is a certified USA Triathlon coach of a youth triathlon and track and field team outside of school, and she also holds certification as a USAT Level 1, USATF Level 2, and ASCA level 1 swim coach. Not only does Lis enjoy teaching and coaching kids, but she is also a five-time Ironman competitor, former river guide, expeditionary backpacking leader, and a motivated athlete. When Lis isn’t running around with the P.E. students at school, she can be found running around some more with her husband, daughter, and two rambunctious dogs.


Jennifer Dryfoos


Registrar. Jennifer moved from New York City to Santa Fe in 1998 when she first worked at Santa Fe Prep as College Counselor.  After twenty five years in that field (including at Monte del Sol in Santa Fe and Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School in Albuquerque) and many years as Registrar at Desert Academy, she is thrilled to be returning to Santa Fe Prep in a new capacity. Jennifer has an undergraduate degree from Smith College and a master’s degree from Harvard University.


Marián Giráldez Elizo


Spanish. Marián received her bachelor’s degree in English philology from the Universidad de Alcalá in Madrid. She also holds a M.A. in Hispanic Linguistics and a Ph.D. in Educational Linguistics from the University of New Mexico, with a focus on vocabulary learning in Spanish as a Second Language and Spanish as a Heritage Language. Marián has extensive experience teaching at both, high school and university level. She is originally from Madrid, Spain, but has lived in New Mexico since 2008. As part of her hobbies Marián enjoys spending time with family and friends, travelling, hiking and exploring new places.


Bradford Fairbanks


Performing Arts Department Chair, Acting, Advanced Drama, Musical Theater, Fall Play and Musical Director. Brad holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Boston College and a master’s degree in education from City College of New York. He also graduated from The Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre, a two-year acting conservatory in New York City. Brad has also worked as a college counselor at Northeastern University, an actor in New York, and has been teaching since 2000.


“The best thing about teaching at Prep is the enthusiasm of our students. Classes are filled with students open and willing to participate in activities, and who respect each other’s work.” -Brad Fairbanks

Ambrose Ferber


Associate Director of Technology, Technology and Engineering Department Chair, Acting, Speech and Debate. A native New Mexican born in Placitas, Ambrose graduated from Prep in 1993 and earned a BFA in graphic design from Colorado State University. He worked professionally for over 15 years as a production artist, designer, art director, web developer, video editor, web standards guru, and copywriter before becoming a teacher— but now can’t imagine doing anything else. In addition to art, design, and code, Ambrose is an accomplished stage actor and working stunt performer.


Kendel Fesenmyer


Director of Studies. With over ten years as a classroom teacher, Kendel oversees the curriculum in both the middle and upper schools and coordinates faculty professional development.Prior to arriving at Prep in 1996, she taught at the Northfield Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts. Kendel has a bachelor’s degree in comparative religion and anthropology from Dartmouth College and a Master of Theological Studies in comparative religion from Harvard Divinity School. She completed secondary-level educational coursework and certification at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In 2001–2002, she was awarded a Klingenstein Fellowship to study at The Klingenstein Center, Teachers College Columbia University. She has two children: AJ, Prep class of 2021, and Emery, Prep class of 2024.


“Prep students are without a doubt tremendously well-prepared. But what really astounds me is their ability to make things happen! Of course, our students believe in themselves, but what sets Prep students apart is truly knowing they can have an impact and doing so with absolute determination.” -Kendel Fesenmyer

Liz Friary


9th/10th Grade Dean of Students, 12th Grade Class Sponsor, English 12, M.A. Healy Chair for Teaching Excellence. Liz received a Bachelor of Arts from Trinity College in Hartford, CT, and her master’s degree from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English. She taught at schools in San Francisco and Boston before making Santa Fe her home. While a proud native of Western Massachusetts, Liz loves the culture, landscape, and sense of place of northern New Mexico and is happily raising her daughter Rachel here in Santa Fe.


“During a recent student-led Honors English discussions, I listened to 18 juniors/seniors who I hadn’t taught since 9th grade. Their depth of analysis and quality of articulation deeply impressed me. It was a great testimony to the teaching going on at Prep.” -Liz Friary

Melissa Fricek


Executive Assistant to the Head of School. A California native, Melissa has a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history from California State University Fullerton. Her professional background is in art and education, and she has worked for public and independent schools in California and New Mexico. Outside of work, she enjoys exploring photography, travel, hiking, and cooking.


Camila Friedman-Gerlicz


Integrated Math I, Pre-Calculus Honors, Calculus. Camila grew up in Santa Fe and graduated from Prep in 2006. She studied math at Claremont McKenna College and received her master’s in math from UT Austin. Following UT Austin, Camila pursued a passion for ceramics and art. She received her MFA in ceramics at CU Boulder and incorporates mathematical forms and ideas into her art using 3D modeling and digital fabrication. After many years away, Camila is excited to return to Santa Fe and Santa Fe Prep.


Joseph Gonzales

Facilities Staff.


Debra Gonzales


Front Desk Manager, Booster Board. Debra is originally from Española and has a large extended northern New Mexico family. She recently retired from the Children, Youth, and Families Department with the State of New Mexico. At CYFD, Debra supported child care, pre-kindergarten, and food and nutrition programs in several capacities, including Background Check Manager and Audit and Policy Manager. She has two daughters. Nicole is a current Prep student, and Raelyn is a Prep graduate of the class of 2021.


Heather Gutierrez


Account Payable Manager. Originally from Albuquerque, Heather has lived in Santa Fe most of her life and considers herself a local; Santa Fe is a beautiful town that has brought much joy to her life.  A 2014 graduate of Santa Fe High, where she played softball for four years, Heather continues to play for fun in her free time. She also enjoys bass fishing (her personal best was a 4lb smallmouth bass), and although she does not like to handle fish, she enjoys the excitement of reeling them in.  Heather became a mother to her loving son in 2017, and he has shown her “true love.” Heather joins Santa Fe Prep following a four-year stint as a universal banker. Excited to be at Prep, Heather is eager to see what the future holds.



Anna Hastings


Front Office Manager. Anna holds a BA in Art History. She has three children who are Prep Alum and one child currently attending Prep. In her free time, Anna loves gardening, hiking, and reading.


Tom Mix Hill


World History. Tom holds a B.A. in history from Pitzer College and an M.A. in social science and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago, where he taught for five years during his doctorate training. He has worked in the New Mexico public schools and internationally in China and has 10 + years of teaching experience at the secondary level. Tom has taught both general world history and AP world history. Historical knowledge and thinking, in his view, are essential for navigating today’s complex world. In addition to content knowledge, Tom’s classes focus on foundational skills like essay-based writing and public speaking, evaluating evidence, and understanding how the past shapes the present and future. Tom enjoys hanging out with his dog, riding horses, cooking, listening to music, and reading.


Dieu Ho


Executive Director of Breakthrough Santa Fe. Dieu holds a bachelor’s degree in Government and Music with a minor in Spanish from Bowdoin College. After college, she worked in college admissions at Bates and Bowdoin Colleges before pursuing her master’s degree in Higher Education at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She spent two years working in college counseling in Boston before transitioning to Breakthrough. A native of Phoenix, Arizona, Dieu is excited to return to the Southwest to explore the desert and mountains, eat lots of green chile, and work alongside students and families in Santa Fe!


Chris Ishee


Music, Vocal Performance, Jazz/Rock Band, US/MS Musicals, Chamber Music, Music Theory. Chris earned his bachelor’s degree in jazz piano from the University of Miami. He is active around the Southwest in jazz education, presenting clinics/workshops, and as a guest conductor. Chris has worked internationally as a professional pianist/keyboard player for many jazz, pop, and rock bands and performs regularly in Sante Fe.


“I’ve been teaching here for 20 years, and some of my most joyful moments come when a former student of mine asks me to play with them.”

Mauricio Jaime-Andrade

Facilities Staff. Mauricio grew up in a large family on a farm in Aguascalientes, Mexico. He has three children.


Dina Jansen


Global Studies. Dina received her bachelor’s degree in social studies education from Indiana University and a graduate degree from St. John’s College. She continues to take classes and is currently working towards adding a special education endorsement to her New Mexico teacher’s license. Dina has been a classroom teacher for 25 years, teaching history, health, and English courses. She has also worked as part of the administrative team at Santa Fe Prep and eventually decided to transition back to the classroom because she missed teaching. In addition, Dina is an avid reader and enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, and running.


Breshaun Joyner


English 8. Breshaun has a master’s in Children’s Literature and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in the Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies department at the University of New Mexico. Her current research explores Shakespeare pedagogy across multiple grades. She has taught for nearly twenty years in traditional and non-traditional learning environments from Shakespeare performance summer camps for Kindergarten students to college classrooms. Breshaun is also a Reader at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., which houses the world’s largest collection of printed works of William Shakespeare. Her passion for teaching is matched only by her desire to continually learn how to be a better educator. Breshaun’s personal teaching philosophy is that a person learns best when exposed to new concepts and ideas and is then engaged in enjoyable and critical thinking activities. Ultimately, this leads to enlightenment.


Jean “Parka” Kithil


Assistant to Director of Athletics, Coach.


Robin Koval


Middle School Science, Science Department Chair. Having grown up on a boarding school campus in Colorado, Robin’s teaching career has included experiences in day and boarding schools in England and, most recently, on the north shore of Boston. A graduate of Bowdoin College with an undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry, Robin received a master’s degree in exercise physiology from Ohio State University. Recently, Robin completed the Master Naturalist program through the Santa Fe Botanical Garden and the Climate Masters course with the Santa Fe Watershed. Robin’s passion for travel and outdoor adventure has taken her on various student trips, including cultural experiences in Italy and Russia, sea-kayaking in Belize, and rock-climbing in Moab. When not at school, Robin enjoys photography, hiking, yoga, and spending time with her family.


Todd Kurth


Director of Athletics.  Todd has been a classroom teacher (math and biology) and multi-sport coach for over thirty years in both day and boarding schools in New Hampshire, the D.C. area, the United Kingdom, and New Mexico. He has coached football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, softball, baseball, and diving. In 2001, he was named the New Mexico State Coach of the Year for soccer. Todd serves on the New Mexico Activities Association by-laws committee and has acted as District Chairman throughout his career. Born and raised in Santa Fe, he was valedictorian for the class of 1981 at Santa Fe Prep and received a Bachelor of Arts in biology from Williams College. Todd is an avid cyclist and outdoor enthusiast.


Zoe Ledbetter


 Integrated Math I, MS Robotics. Zoe earned her bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland. After college, she moved to Kentucky to help build a chemical agent destruction pilot plant. Her love for New Mexico brought her to Santa Fe in 2015. After several years working at LANL, she decided to pursue a more meaningful career working with youth at Girls Inc. of Santa Fe. Now, she is delighted to be part of the Santa Fe Prep community. In her free time, Zoe enjoys working on her house, being outside, snuggling with her cats, traveling, and spending time with her family.


Sarah Meghan Lee


Darkroom photography, yearbook, 3D art. Sarah holds a history degree from Stanford University and an MA in Media Studies from San Diego State University.  She worked as a professional photojournalist for about 20 years with The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times based in Rwanda, Africa, and Mexico City, Mexico.  She has taught photography at the Santa Fe Photo Workshops, National Geographic Expeditions, and the University of California at San Diego Extension.  Sarah’s hobbies are hiking, backpacking and swimming.


Hanna Levin


Associate Director, Davis New Mexico Scholarship. A staunch advocate for public and equitable education (and a true education nerd), Hanna has spent a decade volunteering, working with, or working on behalf of youth and educators. Before joining the Davis New Mexico Scholarship team, she spent five years in the Bay Area leading national data collection, analysis, and dissemination efforts at Breakthrough Collaborative. In her current role, she wrangles scholarship data, oversees the scholarship’s organizational grants program, and associates with the scholarship’s director. Hanna holds a B.A. in sociology from Pomona College.


Mary Little


Director of Admissions and Marketing. Originally from Connecticut, Mary made the trip west after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history from Denison University. She joined the admissions office at Santa Fe Prep in 2012. Mary points to the energy on campus, the tight-knit community, and the wide variety of academic and extracurricular opportunities available to students as school strengths. She enjoys meeting with prospective students and families as they explore middle and upper school options in Santa Fe. In addition to her work in admissions, Mary also serves as Director of Marketing. Mary’s professional background is in business administration and management. Prior to joining Prep, Mary owned and operated Sangre de Cristo Mountain Works with her husband, Kent. Mary and Kent have two children, both of whom graduated from Santa Fe Prep. Mary loves to run, hike, ski, and share time with her family in her spare time.


Adam Lowenstein


Upper School English. Adam was born and raised in Los Angeles, where he studied English at UCLA at the undergraduate and graduate levels, earning his Ph.D. in 2011. After lecturing in the UCLA English Department, Adam began working at Marlborough School, an all-girls independent middle and high school in LA, mainly teaching 10th, 11th, and 12th grade English. While at Marlborough, Adam completed a yearlong mindfulness teacher training course with iBme (Inward Bound Mindfulness Education) and began leading twice-weekly drop-in community meditation sessions and offering several workshops to students and employees. In 2022, Adam and his wife, Shenee, and two kiddos, Atticus and Margot, made the move to Santa Fe, a city they fell in love with while on a road trip in 2020. Adam feels very fortunate to be a part of the Santa Fe Prep community as a 9th-grade English teacher (and occasional mindfulness instructor).


Jessyca Lucero-Flores


Assistant Head of School/Head of Upper School. Jessyca was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and graduated from New Mexico State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences. After working with NM Game and Fish for a few years, she went to Oregon State University to pursue a master’s degree in Global Environmental Policy, Fisheries Science, and Education. Education became her true passion and she has followed it ever since. Jessyca has held many positions in education, from a long-term substitute to a Deputy Director, most recently in Mexico. Having worked in both public and private schools both stateside and abroad, Jessyca brings nearly 20 years of experience working with students, staff, parents, and other stakeholders. In her free time, Jessyca enjoys spending time with her husband and their two mini dachshunds, whether traveling the world or going to Home Depot. She also enjoys running, yoga, reading, camping, amateur photography, and much more.


Jennifer MacDonald


Library Assistant. Jen is originally from Massachusetts and has lived in Santa Fe for the past 15 years. She received her BS in pharmacy from the University of Connecticut. After working as a pharmacist, Jen has most recently been working and volunteering in Santa Fe schools. In her free time, Jen enjoys reading, hiking, and traveling (especially to beaches) with her husband, Rob, and their three daughters: Kelly (class of ’26), Audrey (’27), and Nicole (future ’29).


Catherine McKenzie


Director of Library Services, Instructional Technologist. Catherine has a BA in geography from San Francisco State University and an MLS from Indiana University. Prior to coming to Santa Fe Prep, Catherine directed library and technology services at schools in St. Louis and Washington, DC. She has also worked in software development and at independent bookstores in St. Louis and Atlanta. Catherine is currently serving on the AISL board as secretary. In her free time, Catherine enjoys reading, tennis, and being outside.


Michael McNeill


Director of Advancement.  Michael holds a MA and PhD in French Literature from Princeton University as well as a BA from Colgate University and has vast experience in independent schools as a teacher of French and Latin both in NYC and in Denver, Colorado where he served as foreign language department chair at Kent Denver School.  Michael became the Director of Development at Kent Denver in 2006 and grew a successful career as an advancement professional and non-profit fundraiser for The American School in Paris, The Denver Museum of Nature & Science, The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, and La Napoule Art Foundation.  Michael has also served on many non-profit boards, including: Breakthrough Kent Denver; The Art Students League of Denver; The Anchor Center for Blind Children; and The Joshua School for Autistic Children.  When not at work, Michael enjoys cooking and baking, playing classical piano, and doing crossword puzzles with his two standard poodles, Walter and Bill.


Matt Mullins


Painting, Drawing, Printmaking, Art History, 3D art. Matt earned his master’s in Fine Arts from UC Berkeley, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with Department Distinctions. While at UC Berkeley, he received the prestigious Eisner Prize for Visual Art and was named as a Fellow of the Arts Research Center. He taught Painting, Drawing, and Introduction to Visual Thinking at UC Berkeley and also worked as a professional artist before moving to an earthship in the quiet and rugged desert near Abiquiu, NM. Matt is a practicing artist and is represented by several art galleries, including Form & Concept (Santa Fe) and Visions West Contemporary (Denver, Jackson Hole, Livingston, and Bozeman). He has shown his work across the country, including at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Berkeley Art Museum. Matt’s artwork has been collected internationally and has been published in New American Paintings, The Wall Street Journal, and several other publications. Matt enjoys spending time with his wife and new baby, long-distance runs in the mountains, and working in his art studio.


Dan Murray


History Department Chair, 12th Grade Modern U.S. History/ Latin America Studies. Dan has been teaching at Prep for 17 years. Dan received his bachelor’s degree with a double major in communications and theater arts from Metropolitan State College in Denver. Prior to becoming a teacher, he was a theatrical lighting designer and worked at such places as the Santa Fe Opera and the Denver Center Theater Company. One of his passions is traveling and he has been fortunate to have traveled and lived extensively throughout the world.


“Some of the best things about teaching at Prep are the creative, compassionate colleagues, working in a beautiful environment, and teaching students who are engaged, creative and fun.”

Marvin Nogueda


Spanish, Breakthrough Student Support Coordinator. Marvin graduated from the University of Virginia with degrees in foreign language education and Spanish literature. He has assumed various roles in the field of education with particular emphasis in access to opportunity. A jack-of-all-trades, Marvin delves into a variety of hobbies including dancing, acting, running, traveling, and writing.


Lisa Nordstrum


7th Grade New Mexico History. Lisa graduated from The Colorado College with a major in Southwest Studies and a minor in Women’s Studies, earned her NM K-12 teaching certification at the University of New Mexico, and has completed many graduate-level courses in a variety of Southwestern topics. A native Santa Fean from a family of educators, Lisa has taught and tutored in local public and private schools. Lisa has worked in the museum world as well: as a field researcher in northern New Mexico with the School for Advanced Research; as an educator at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, and in the development of educational programs for the New Mexico History Museum. One of her primary goals as an educator is to create meaningful learning experiences for students to discover the significance of multiple perspectives and narratives in the telling of a comprehensive story of the past. Lisa enjoys spending time with her family, especially while exploring the outdoors in our beautiful state of New Mexico.


“Prep is a place where students and teachers venture on varied paths of learning experiences, whether it is in the classroom completing independent research and group projects, or hiking through Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks and exploring local museums. At Prep we delve deeply into our pursuit of knowledge and community connections.”

Jebb Norton


Ancient World History, Model UN Advisor. Jebb was born and raised in Santa Fe and graduated from Santa Fe Prep in 2009. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Middlebury College with a joint major in Geography and Environmental Studies. After journeying through the Americas for two years and working in the backcountry of the Montana National Forests, Jebb began his teaching career as a residential counselor at a therapeutic boarding school. Eventually, he decided to return home and teach about the subject he is most passionate about.


“The cool thing about Prep is that we give students tools that they will go on to use for a lifetime. Importance is placed not only on the content of classes, but on mastering the skills necessary to be a lifelong learner. In doing so, our students learn how to be active and engaged participants in the wide world around them.”

Alejandra Palos


Davis New Mexico Scholarship Student Support Intern, Alejandra graduated from St. Edwards University with a bachelor’s degree in Criminology and a minor in Psychology. Alejandra had the opportunity to be part of Breakthrough Santa Fe and the first generation of Davis New Mexico Scholars. She is excited to be back in Santa Fe and still be part of the Davis New Mexico Scholarship community here at Prep!


Aiyana Pendleton


Algebra II Honors, Statistics. Aiyana received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in education from the College of Santa Fe. Aiyana has taught at Santa Fe Prep for 14 years. In addition to teaching mathematics, Aiyana has co-led trips to Nepal and Mongolia for Prep students. Before teaching at Prep, she taught at the Rio Grande School, The Institute of American Indian Arts, Ortiz Middle School, and Santa Fe High.


“I believe in creating a safe and appropriately challenging space for learning where every student becomes a confident and accomplished mathematical thinker and problem solver. I believe creating an environment where taking risks and learning from students is part of the process. I encourage students to think creatively, apply concepts, and communicate ideas in a variety of ways. I enjoy challenging students who love math and also showing students who lack confidence that they can do much more than they ever thought that they could, guiding them to develop a belief in themselves and to see themselves as mathematicians.”

Larry Petry


P.E. Teacher, Transportation Coordinator


Mark Prochaska


Upper School Science. Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s degree in education from The College of William and Mary. He earned a doctorate in applied physics from Cornell University, researching combinatorial chemistry methods for finding new fuel cell catalysts. He taught courses in physics, chemistry, astronomy, science research, and mathematics at schools in Virginia and Indiana before coming to Santa Fe Prep. In his free time, Mark enjoys hiking, camping, reading, making scented candles, and figuring out how to maintain and fix his family’s cars.


Joey Reich


Mathematics, Chess Coach. After earning his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Brandeis University, Joey embarked on a career as a professional artist and glassblower. He studied glass art at Massachusetts College of Art and Design and Pilchuck Glass School, before following his future wife out to New Mexico in 2003. After building and operating a glass shop and gallery in Pojoaque, Joey returned to his first love of philosophy and academia, teaching math and chess at Pojoaque Valley Middle School. Joey is an amateur scientist, proud nerd, voracious reader, gardening enthusiast, and chess fanatic who enjoys backpacking and skiing the mountains of New Mexico.


Amy Reich


School Counselor. Amy earned her bachelor’s degrees in History and American Studies at Brandeis University and her Masters in Counseling at New Mexico Highlands University. Her love of the helping professions was ignited by a summer spent leading an experiential outdoor program for young people. Amy credits this experience with setting her on her career course, and she has been working in direct service provision with individuals and groups since 2002. Amy has experience in facilitating prevention/education, intervention, and treatment in clinical, community mental health, and school settings. She has extensive training in a variety of evidence-based modalities, and experience in community organizing, quality improvement, and program development for non-profit organizations. Amy is proud to provide a strengths-based approach to wellness; one that utilizes and honors the unique culture, experience, and abilities of each individual as a conduit to promoting greater purpose, connection, and health within our shared communities. Outside of work, Amy enjoys hiking, yoga, cooking, gardening, and impromptu kitchen dance parties with her husband and son.


Sam Ritter


Davis New Mexico Scholarship Director, History. Sam graduated from Carleton College with a degree in history and religion before moving to Santa Fe, where he worked for the organization Citizen Schools at De Vargas Middle School while receiving his Master’s Degree in Education from Lesley University. In 2012, Sam began working at Breakthrough Santa Fe at Santa Fe Prep, where he eventually served as Co-Director of that program. In 2017, Sam became the Director of the Davis New Mexico Scholarship, the largest private scholarship program designated solely for New Mexican students in the state’s history. Throughout his tenure at Prep, he has taught various upper school classes in the history department. When not at work, Sam likes to play music and explore the great outdoors.


Claire Romero


Learning Specialist. Claire earned a bachelor’s degree in special education and a master’s degree in learning disabilities from the University of New Mexico. She has participated in extensive training in neurodevelopment and learning differences and completed an internship at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. As a Peace Corps volunteer, she helped organize and execute the first Special Olympic competition in Guatemala and also worked as a trainer in teacher education programs in El Salvador and Chile. Claire was also a national faculty member of Schools Attuned, a program helping regular education teachers manage various learning challenges in the classroom. A lifetime resident of New Mexico, Claire has worked as a teacher and administrator in public, pueblo, and private school settings. She is the mother of Sofia Bomse ’18.


Rennae Ross


P.E. Department Chair, School Health Coordinator. Rennae has a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education and has taught P.E. at Prep since the fall of 1990. Throughout her career at Prep, Rennae has been a soccer and dance coach and has seen teams through 3 State Soccer Championships and 2 State Dance Championships. Rennae is a certified official for the NMOA in the sports of spirit and track and field, and she spends many weekends officiating high school athletics. After 30+ years involved in youth soccer in New Mexico, Rennae is President of the New Mexico Youth Soccer Association, the state’s largest youth soccer organization, with 20,000 youth players. Rennae is also a long-time member of the Ilfeld Volunteer Fire Department. In addition, Rennae has recently served as a coordinator for Prep’s COVID-19 protocols, communication, and contact tracing.


Yadiner Sabir


Language Department Chair,  Spanish. Yadiner Sabir was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras, and an MA in Communication Studies from New Mexico State University at Las Cruces. She has taught Spanish, English, and Communications at various educational institutions, including the University of Puerto Rico at Bayamón, Lynn University, North Carolina State University, and Cary Academy in North Carolina. Yadiner comes to Santa Fe Prep from Francis W. Parker School, a progressive independent school in Chicago, Il. There she served as an Upper School Spanish teacher and as a Senior Grade Head/Dean. Yadiner is excited to return to New Mexico and explore the Northern region of the Land of Enchantment with her family.


Bruce Sachs


Director of Finance, Co-Director of Tuition Assistance. Bruce holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from American University in Washington, DC, and an MBA from the University of Connecticut. He has been in accounting and finance for over thirty years with many companies.


Rebecca Sam


Middle School Science and AP Environmental Science. Rebecca grew up in Northern WI, where her love for all things outdoors was cultivated. She pursued her bachelor’s degree at a small, rural liberal arts college in Iowa, where she earned degrees in Biology and Secondary Education. After teaching and being a mom for several years, Rebecca went back to school at Iowa State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Entomology, Ecology, and Evolutionary Biology. Outside of school, Rebecca enjoys hiking, camping, exploring, reading, and spending time with her family.


Aaron Schubach


Head of School. The 2022-2023 school year marks Aaron’s third year as Head of Santa Fe Prep. He brings 23 years of experience in independent school education, working with students, teachers, staff, parents, trustees, and alumni in four independent schools in Colorado and New Mexico. Aaron recently concluded six years as Head of The Colorado Springs School. He earned an undergraduate degree in History from Colorado College and master’s degrees from St. John’s College and Columbia University. In his free time, he enjoys high-country adventures with his family.



Ben Sleeman


Algebra II, Macroeconomics, Financial Literacy, 10th Graded Class Sponsor. Ben grew up near Liverpool, England, and studied math and statistics at the University of Liverpool. In 2017, he moved to Buena Vista, Colorado, to teach math and facilitate experiential learning at a residential high school. During his time as an experiential educator, Ben pursued instructor certifications from the American Mountain Guides Association and the American Canoe Association. He also led trips throughout the Southwest US and in Baja, California. He was awarded a Master’s Degree in Education in 2020 from Western Colorado University, where he focused on investigating inquiry-based learning from the lens of cognitive load theory. Outside of his work in the classroom, Ben loves to be reading, exploring trails on his mountain bike, or paddling whitewater in his kayak. He also enjoys competing in endurance events such as the Leadville Trail 100, Ironman Triathlon, and the Grand Traverse Ski race.


“Facilitating authentic experiences that inspire inquiry, collaboration and reflection is at the heart of my work as an educator. I strive to help all my students see themselves as lifelong learners and discover how they can be of service to their communities.”

Leslie Smith


English Department Chair,  English 12. Leslie started her higher education at the conventional age, majoring in English with concentrations in French and German literature at Wellesley College. She then received an MA from St. John’s College in Santa Fe. In what might most easily be described as a mid-life crisis, she returned to St. John’s at the age of 40 to receive an undergraduate degree in the Great Books program as well before earning her master’s in English literature at CU Boulder. At Colorado, Leslie co-taught courses in Early American Literature, American Literature, and Shakespeare. She is delighted to be back in the Prep community where her two children, Griffin (’08) and Hillary (’10), matriculated. Outside of class, you might find her skiing in Taos, hiking mountain trails, or cheering on the Blue Griffins at any sporting event.


Sarah Stark


7th grade English, Creative Writing, Honors English. A Native of central Texas, Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Foreign Service from Baylor University and a Master of Arts degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. She worked in the field of international security before transitioning to fiction-writing. Prior to teaching at Prep, Sarah taught literature and fiction at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) and at creative writing workshops in her home. Her first novel, Out There, won the 2015 Indiefab Editor’s Choice Award for Fiction,  Book of the Year and received a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly. Sarah is the mother of three grown daughters and a 10-year-old son, Jack.  When she is not writing or reading, you may find her in the garden. She is currently a Writer-in-Residence at the historic El Zaguán in Santa Fe, and working on a new novel entitled Her Story.


Nick Stofocik


Director of Facilities. Nick was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he attended a college prep high school and earned his BFA in Theater from Ohio University. Following graduation, he landed in New York City, managing hotels in midtown Manhattan for about ten years. He moved to The City Different in 2012 and worked as an Operations Manager for a New Mexico-based hotel, a manager of an insurance company, and most recently, a property manager for a 16-acre condominium community on the north side of town. Nick has an amazing filmmaker wife, Terry, and two energetic daughters, and they all love to make films, see shows, hike, swim, and play in Santa Fe.


Jillian Tomlinson


Advancement Database Manager and Events Coordinator.  A Los Alamos native, Jillian received her bachelor’s degree in English Literature & Creative Writing from The George Washington University and her MFA in Fiction from Columbia University’s School of the Arts. After nearly a decade spent working in New York City’s professional theatre industry, she returned to New Mexico and joined the Prep Advancement team in 2021.


John Utsey


Director of Technology. John is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. After leaving the Marines he spent 15 years managing the Data Center at the National Center for Genome Resources, a local Santa Fe genetics research institute. He joined Prep in the summer of 2013. John spends his free time with his wife and two children camping, geocaching, and motorcycling.


Christella Velarde


Business Office Manager. Christella is originally from Velarde, New Mexico. She has 15+ years accounting experience, primarily from working at large-scale construction companies in the Santa Fe and Los Alamos areas. She has two daughters.


Terry Vinson

ASL. Terry was born Deaf and grew up at the New Mexico School for The Deaf, which led her on the path of becoming an American Sign Language teacher. She has taught ASL for over 20 years around the country. Terry’s main interest is in helping hearing people understand the ASL and Deaf cultures, and it is her great thrill to witness when hearing people begin to communicate with the deaf.

Todd Volz


Ceramics. Todd Volz grew up in a small town in Wyoming.  He received his Bachelor of Arts in studio art and art education from the University of Wyoming.  He went on to earn his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Idaho.  Todd has taught ceramics in several colleges and universities around Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico. He also served as studio director at a nationally recognized ceramics studio, and has maintained his own studio practice before coming to Santa Fe Prep to teach ceramics.


Drew Walker


English. Drew received a BA in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Millsaps College in Jackson, MS, in 2001. From there, he took off to Kyoto, Japan, where he studied Rinzai Zen Buddhism at Tofukuji Monastery. He eventually returned to the U.S. to pursue a Master of Theological Studies at Harvard Divinity School, where he focused on world religions and ethics. After HDS, Drew taught religious studies at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, MD, and at St. Paul’s School for Girls in Brooklandville, MD. He returned to higher ed in 2008 and earned a Ph.D. in Political Theory from Johns Hopkins University in 2013. Before coming to Prep, he taught at Whitman College and was the Director of Gender Studies at Brown University. Outside of work, Drew enjoys gardening, cooking, writing, and spending time outdoors with his husband and daughter.


Ashley Watson


Pre-Calculus, AB Calculus, Advanced Math Topics. Ashley received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Teaching from Rice University. Before joining Prep, she taught at St. John’s School in Houston, TX, as well as for the School Year Abroad program in Viterbo, Italy.


Anna Westen


Spanish. Anna has an undergraduate degree from Brown University in comparative literature and a graduate degree from St. John’s College. She spent two semesters as a student at Prep when her family was on sabbatical here in Santa Fe. Anna also studied for a year abroad in Barcelona.


Carla Westen


Latin, Blue Griffin Chair for Teaching Excellence. Carla received her Bachelor of Arts in Italian Studies from Wesleyan University and her Master of Arts from the University of Wisconsin, where she was a University Fellow.


Eric Wynn


Director of TAP and Experiential Education. Eric has an experience as a classroom teacher, outdoor education leader, and assistant principal. Eric holds degrees from McGill University and Middlebury College.


Matt Ybarra


Director of College Counseling, DEIJ Staff & Faculty Liaison, ROCA NM Program Director. Matt is from the notable, no-stoplight town of Altamont, Kansas, and earned his bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in comparative studies in race and ethnicity. During college, he studied abroad in Switzerland, Russia, and Germany, interned at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, coordinated a scholarship competition, and helped run the Stanford Powwow. Following graduation, Matt worked as a college admission counselor at Stanford and Caltech, often supplementing his experience by collaborating with College Horizons, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Questbridge, and other programs supporting college access and retention for students from low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented backgrounds. Matt also serves as a member of Prep’s DEIJ Committee and operates the Rural Opportunities for College Access program (ROCA NM) in partnership with the Davis New Mexico Scholarship. Along with Sam Ritter (Davis NM Scholarship) and Allie Cooper (formerly of Breakthrough Santa Fe), the trio was named Counselors That Change Lives in 2021.