2013 State Bilingual Advisory Committee (SBAC) Members
Louise Benally was born in Rehoboth and raised in Church Rock, New Mexico, and graduated from Rehoboth Mission School in 1968. She received her B.S. and M.A. in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico in 1973 and 1975 respectively. She began her career as an educator at one of the first Navajo local community controlled schools, Rough Rock Demonstration School, in 1973. Her work has primarily been involved with language and culture education and Navajo language curriculum development at the Native American Materials Development Center where she wrote and produced several Navajo Literacy materials which are still in use today. She coordinated and wrote for a Navajo Division of Education project that developed the first and only Navajo Bilingual Teacher Language Proficiency Assessment still in use today by Diné College. She served as writer for the Beauty Way Curriculum Project, a substance abuse prevention curriculum for K-12 B.I.A. schools which produced many beautiful posters which are still being used today. In 1991, she began an 11-year stint with the B.I.A. as an Education Specialist- Contract Officer's Representative at the Fort Defiance Agency. Since 2001, she has been a Language Specialist. Now she is Coordinator of the Bilingual and Title III programs for the Gallup McKinley County Schools, where calls home and where her work continues in promoting and maintaining, not only Navajo, but all Native American languages and cultures.
Michael Chávez is the Director of Bilingual Education and Title III for the Deming Public Schools. He is in his nineteenth year in public education having served as secondary social studies instructor, TESOL instructor, assistant middle school principal, middle school principal and currently in his sixth year as director of bilingual education. In addition, Mr. Chavez works with district teachers as an instructor of ENMU’s TESOL endorsement program. His mission the last six years has been to close the achievement gap by redefining the role and purpose of developmental bilingual education and ELL instruction focusing on the importance of L1 and L2 along with the sociocultural aspects of language development. He currently serves as SBAC Co-Chair with Ms. Mary Jean López.
Mary Jean H. López has over 35 years’ experience and expertise in bilingual multicultural education at the local, state, national, and international levels. Serving as a former Director of Bilingual Multicultural Education for the New Mexico Public Education Department, she was also a teacher and administrator of bilingual education programs at the local level. Mary Jean has delivered many workshops and talks locally, at national conferences and focused institutes and provided university coursework for teachers and administrators. Throughout her career she provided advisement and consultant services to the US Department of Education, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the U.S. Office for Civil Rights, the Embassy of Spain, Cornell University, and for the White House Initiative on Educational Achievement for Hispanics. Her many awards include the 2004 recognition by the Ministry of Education of Spain for her work in bilingual education and the teaching of Spanish. She authored the chapter “Multilingualism in New Mexico” in Nuevo Mexico: An Anthology of History, published in 2009. Mary Jean currently is an adjunct professor of bilingual education for New Mexico Highlands University and is the Associate Director for the New Mexico Association for Bilingual Education. She currently serves as SBAC Co-Chair with Mr. Michael Chávez.
Roberto Lozano was born in Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico and serves as the head of Dual Language Enrichment, Bilingual and Migrant Education Programs for the Las Cruces Public School District since 2011. A former third- and fourth-grade dual language teacher, Roberto received his Bachelor’s degree in Bilingual/TESOL Elementary Education from New Mexico State University (NMSU) in 2005. In 2010 Roberto successfully completed the Educational Management and Development master’s degree program at NMSU. Although born in Mexico, Roberto’s early educational experiences consisted of being educated in Mexico and the United States. His migrant student experience paired with his experience of being an English Language Learner (ELL) has made him keenly aware of the diverse needs that ELL’s and migrant students need. Roberto currently resides in Las Cruces, New Mexico with his wife, who is a 2nd grade dual language teacher, and his 18 month old daughter.
Graciela Marquez has been an educator for fifteen years. She has held positions as a Bilingual teacher, an assistant principal and principal. She is currently the principal for Gadsden Elementary and is a product of the Gadsden Independent School District. Her goal was to return and give back to the school district she attended and graduated from. Her first career for twenty one years was being a Certified Medical Assistant, phlebotomist and ultrasound technician. She enrolled at UTEP and received a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education with a Bilingual endorsement and continued her education and received a Master's degree in Education Administration with a focus on High Risk students from the College of Santa Fe. Her job as a principal encompasses everything and everyone. First of all, she is an instructional leader and makes sure to maintain a positive school culture, applies best practices in student learning and develops positive effective professional development for all the staff. Her philosophy as an educator and parent is to embrace life in a positive manner: always strive in increasing your self-worth and don't let anything stop you. There will at times be obstacles to cause some deviations but always get back on track. Accept everything as a challenge and in itself will keep you motivated. Set high expectations and you can accomplish your goals.
Maria L. Rodriguez-Burns was born and raised in Yonkers, New York. Her father is Cuban and her mother is from El Salvador. She attended a Bilingual elementary school PS #19 where she learned English and learned to love education. Maria’s influences are her elementary school Bilingual Teachers and her parents. She majored in Latin American Studies at SUNY Oneonta, New York and has a Masters of Arts Language, Literacy & Sociocultural Studies with an emphasis on Teaching English as a Second Language from University of New Mexico. Maria’s goals for SBAC are to focus more data and resources on secondary education and to promote bilingual education as not only in Spanish, but in all the languages spoken here in New Mexico.
Lynne Rosen, Director
Language and Cultural Equity
Albuquerque Public Schools
Loretta C. Salazar, Ph.D. is an Emeritus Associate Professor of Education at New Mexico Highlands University. Her career as a professional educator spans 40 years, including public and private classroom teaching Spanish, English as a Second Language and English Language Arts. At the university level Loretta has been responsible for the Bilingual Education and TESOL programs. She has directed a Career Ladder grant in cooperation with the Center for the Education and Study of Diverse Populations (NMHU), has taught in Granada, Spain under auspices of the Spanish Resource Center and the Bilingual Multicultural Education Bureau of the New Mexico Public Education Department and was part of a faculty team leading students to Veracruz and Oaxaca, Mexico. Dr. Salazar served in a technical assistance team with the University of New Mexico and the United States Agency for International Development in El Salvador. Dr. Salazar has delivered many workshops locally, at national and state conferences and has held leadership positions with the New Mexico Association for Bilingual Education. Since 1994 she has coordinated the Spanish Immersions at NMHU.
E. Renee Sanchez has been employed at the Belen Consolidated School District for 13 years and has experience teaching grades K-8. She now serves as a Bilingual Resource Teacher and has been called upon by her district to serve as a lead teacher by facilitating professional development and serving as a mentor teacher. She received her BA Degree in 1995 in Elementary Education with a Bilingual Minor at the University of New Mexico. She has a K-8 Elementary License and a PreK-12 Specialty License with endorsements in Bilingual Education, Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL), and Modern and Classical Languages. She is now nearing the completion of her MA degree in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Administration at UNM. She had the honor to represent BCS as a lead presenter at the 17th Annual Dual Language Conference, La Cosecha 2012. Her goal is to build an advocacy for all students and to discuss the obstacles of ELL students and their secrets to success.
Maria Saenz, Superintendent
Mescalero Apache School
Lynda L. Spencer is currently the principal at Vaughn Municipal Schools. She also serves as an adjunct instructor at NMSU-Grants where she teaches French and Spanish classes. Mrs. Spencer holds two master’s degrees: one in French Literature, which she completed in 1992 from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque; and another in Educational Leadership, which she completed in 2008 from Western New Mexico University in Gallup. Mrs. Spencer is a New Mexico native who has been working in the education field for twenty years. All of her teaching experience has been in the areas of Modern Classical Languages, Bilingual Education, TESOL, and Reading. Mrs. Spencer has been married to her husband, Trent, for 21 years, and they have three children; Courtney, Kayla, and Blake. She is honored to be a part of the State Bilingual Advisory Committee and looks forward to serving all of the bilingual students and educators in our state.
Victoria Tafoya is a native of New Mexico, growing up in Albuquerque’s North Valley. She was a participant in bilingual programs throughout her schooling and was awarded the Title VII scholarship while attending the University of New Mexico. She is a proud Lobo, and received her degree in Elementary Education with an endorsement in Bilingual Education from the UNM. She taught with the Albuquerque Public School District as well as with the Department of Defense Schools in Yokosuka, Japan. After returning from Japan, she continued her studies at the UNM and received her Masters Degree in Educational Administration. Victoria has been with the Rio Rancho Public School District since 2004. She was previously the Assistant Principal at Puesta del Sol Elementary School and is currently the Executive Director of Federal, Bilingual, & Native American Programs. As a strong advocate for quality programs supporting linguistically diverse populations, she maintains a focus on supporting students to become bilingual and biliterate in English and a second language as well as meeting state academic content standards in all subject areas. Some of Victoria’s current projects include facilitating a group of dedicated parents on the RRPS Native American Parent Advisory Committee in organizing the 6th Annual Rio Rancho Powwow. In addition, she is also a trained trainer in Thinking Maps and is supporting the district implementation of the strategies to equip learning communities with the tools necessary to become successful thinkers, problem solvers, decision makers, and ultimately, lifelong learners. Some personal goals she has set include writing children’s books, refining her storytelling skills, and continuing her work on her family genealogy. Victoria’s husband Greg, and two young daughters Solara and Selica, are an important aspect and support in her life. It is her hope for her two daughters, and all students in the state of New Mexico that they possess the competence and attitudes to be successful, contributing members of our thriving diverse state. Victoria believes that we should accept nothing less than high-level success from students and work together diligently to accomplish it.
Susan Yturralde began her 44 years in education as a fifth and sixth grade bilingual education teacher in Texas. Over time she served as a counselor, assistant principal, principal, and Executive Director of a district that served 65,000 students, 17,000 of those in her region. As a regional Executive Director, Mrs. Yturralde had oversight of a $4 million dollar budget and coordinated all curriculum and instruction efforts. In 2000, Mrs. Yturralde retired from public education in Texas. That same year, she had the good fortune to begin a second career with the Gadsden Independent School District as an assistant principal, principal, Director of Bilingual Education, and presently serves as the Executive Director of Curriculum and Instructional Support. During her tenure as a principal in Gadsden ISD, she came to the attention of President Bush in 2004 due to outstanding student achievement gains. She and a kindergarten teacher were subsequently invited to the White House and the State of the Union address in February of 2005. They sat in the Gallery of Heroes with the First Lady during his State of the Union Address. Mrs. Yturralde was born in El Paso, Texas. She is married to Ralph Yturralde and has two children. She earned her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from the University of Texas at El Paso.