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Our Board & Team

The Golden Apple Foundation is governed by a dedicated board of directors composed of former educators, former Golden Apple Excellence in Teaching Award Winners, and prominent business and community members. Every one of our team members is dedicated to our mission of supporting, celebrating, and inspiring New Mexico’s teachers. 

Golden Apple Foundation of New Mexico

Board of Directors

The Golden Apple Foundation volunteer board is represented by the community they serve.  It is comprised of educators, Golden Apple Award winners, and partners focused on our mission.  The board is dedicated to supporting teachers across New Mexico by facilitating professional development, grants, and recognition. 

Christine Beverly

Christine Beverly

English Teacher, Del Norte High School

Christine is a 2008 Golden Apple Fellow who has been teaching high school English classes in Albuquerque Public Schools for 27 years. She currently also teaches a Teacher Academy class, sponsors the Educators Rising program, and serves as English Department Chair at Del Norte High School.  She has been a National Board Certified teacher for 20 years, and last year achieved another 10-year renewal of that license and she is a firm believer in the power of schools and teachers to change the world through equity and diversity. 

 

Tell us about a teacher who inspired you:

Meredith Kopald was my senior year AP English LIterature teacher. She used great texts to push students to probe their own philosophies, to formulate their own model for how the world worked, and in doing so, she taught me more about myself than anything else. 

Dennis Davis

Dennis Davis

Principal at REDW LLC

Dennis joined the Board in 2017.  He is a seasoned employee benefits specialist with more than 25 years of industry experience working with a diverse range of workplace benefits plans and clients. He is a Principal at REDW LLC and leads the firm’s subsidiary, Alliance Benefit Group Southwest, a company that is dedicated to providing third-party administration and recordkeeping services for retirement plans. Dennis is a graduate of New Mexico State University. Dennis was born and raised in New Mexico and has never been able to settle on either red or green.

 

Tell us about a teacher who inspired you:

As both a professional and a parent, Dennis draws on inspiration and life lessons learned from his father, a career STEM educator.

James Gerwels

James Gerwels

CFP Vice President, Financial Advisor Morgan Stanley

James is honored to be serving his third term as a board member and is humbled by the opportunity to help recognize excellence in teaching.  He serves on the board of directors of the Las Cruces Symphony Association, where he has held various roles including board president and resource chair. He currently serves as President of the Las Cruces Rotary Club and is honored to be a Paul Harris Fellow.   James works in finance and is a CFP® professional.  He holds degrees in both Economics and Philosophy from the University of Utah.

 

Tell us about a teacher who inspired you:

I will always be grateful to Mr. Hilton who made Chemistry, Physics, and even AP Practice tests fun!

Paula Jackson

Paula Jackson

Educator, Retired

Paula Jackson taught for 34 years prior to retiring in 2019. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 1985 with a BS in Education, with an emphasis in Elementary Education, English, and Physical Education.  She continued her education at The University of New Mexico earning her licensure in Special Education and Gifted Education.  Paula was awarded the Golden Apple Award in 2016 and joined the Golden Apple Board of Directors in 2019.

Tell us about a teacher who inspired you:

My Advanced Social Sciences teacher in 12th grade, Mary Flo Ridley. She helped us explore the challenges and journeys of people and cultures in many corners of the earth; including exploring our own privileged, middle-class existence and how our choices matter, about how we matter. She was the first teacher to open my eyes to perception and how it shapes and molds our experiences with the world.

John Dougherty

John Dougherty

Director of Human Resources and Manpower for the Space Rapid Capabilities, United States Air Force

John joined the Board in 2020.  He has a long and distinguished career with the United States Air Force, where he served on Active Duty for 30 years. He culminated his career as the Command Chief Master Sergeant and senior enlisted advisor for Kirtland Air Force Base and currently serves as the Director of Human Resources and Manpower for the Space Rapid Capabilities, a rapid acquisition unit with the United States Space Force.  John has an extensive and compassionate background in caring for personnel, focused on recognizing talent, recruitment, and workforce sustainment for a diverse 150 employee organization. John holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Regis University.

Tell us about a teacher who inspired you:

Ms. Gullterio, my third-grade teacher at Sheridan Elementary school in Pittsburgh, had a profound effect on my self-esteem.  As a child, I slid into a wall and broke my front teeth into an inverted V. I was a shy, quiet young boy, and was embarrassed by my smile, and my inability to pronounce words without the center teeth.  She was so kind and compassionate and taught me how to annunciate words. I still recall her words during public speaking engagements and how she made me feel confident and competent.

Chris Speck

Chris Speck

Science Teacher, Middle School

Chris Speck is a 2018 Golden Apple Fellow who has been a teacher in Albuquerque for 19 years. After 10 years in elementary schools, he switched to middle school-first math, now science, and has loved every minute of it. He was fortunate and grateful to participate in the Research Experiences for Teachers Program (RET) for two years at the Advanced Materials Lab at Sandia National Labs under Dr. Tim Boyle. He also worked as a visiting teacher in July of 2018 at the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology’s Gates Coral Lab. Principal classroom projects have included high altitude ballooning, Sphero robotics, coral reef ecosystem, dual aquaponics ecosystems, organism metabolism labs, underwater robotics, computer science (app development), and biotechnology.

Tell us about a teacher who inspired you:

Megan Wethington and I taught together at Ernie Pyle Middle School. I was having one of the most challenging years of my career and she helped me change the way I was teaching math to engage more students and boost their understanding. She helped me to understand that if students were disengaged nothing else matters.

Julie Koontz Board Past President

Julie Koontz Board Past President

Manager of Legal Support, Wells Fargo

Julie serves as the President of the Executive Committee. Julie has been an employee of Wells Fargo for over 28 years.  She has held a variety of positions over the years and is currently a manager in legal support.

Tell us about a teacher who inspired you:

My high school DECA teacher always made learning fun.  He challenged us and provided us with unique opportunities to learn outside the classroom.  Because of his passion, I was able to confidently make a career choice.

Jennifer Chavez-Miller

Jennifer Chavez-Miller

CNM Teacher Education

Jennifer is a full-time faculty in Teacher Education at Central New Mexico Community College. She was a classroom teacher for 21 years, teaching elementary through high school students. As a 2010 New Mexico Golden Apple Fellow, a 2014 Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Fellow to Finland, and as the 2020 National Geographic Gilbert M. Grosvenor Educator of the Year, Jennifer is passionate about teachers cultivating attitudes, skills and knowledge to create opportunities to connect students with the world through literacy, technology, geography, outdoor experiences and inquiry. 
Jennifer values time with her family, husband Brian and their daughter, Sarah, who is a student at the University of New Mexico. She loves exploring the Bosque along the Rio Grande, traveling, being in or on water, and walking their dog, Cairo.

Tell us about a teacher who inspired you:

So much of my work in Teacher Education is based on my experiences as a student of Dr. Jean Casey. In the spirit of Golden Apple, all children in New Mexico deserve excellent teachers. Dr. Casey exemplified how all educators deserve excellent teachers, too. While working on my masters degree at UNM, Dr. Casey exemplified the realities of teaching – the good and the challenging. She held high expectations for her students so that we would have high expectations of our own students. But my most profound memory of her is someone who approached her life’s work with joy. That ethos inspires me everyday as a teacher. 

Maresa Thompson

Maresa Thompson

Creator/Owner ConstellationCreative.Com

Maresa is passionate about creating and implementing data-driven websites and marketing campaigns with streamlined budgets focused on achieving high ROI. She is an award-winning website, marketing, digital strategy, communications, and creative strategic leader with 20+ years of experience. She previously was employed at the New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation, Heritage Hotels & Resorts, the Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau, and served in several leadership positions on the local, regional, and national board of directors for the American Advertising Federation. She was honored to develop Golden Apple’s new website in 2020 and now is honored to volunteer her time to serve on the board. She is formerly known as the Corporate Cowgirl and in some circles as the Social Tornado.

Tell us about a teacher who inspired you:

Countless teachers have inspired me. My Eldorado High School Newspaper teacher Mrs. Light was particularly inspiring and helped to hone the journalism writing skills I still utilize today when creating websites and marketing content. She encouraged us to truly run our high school newspaper the way we see fit and to report on relevant yet controversial topics.

Amanda Reyes Board President

Amanda Reyes Board President

Director of Financial Capability, Nusenda Credit Union

Amanda Reyes leads and develops the K-12 young adult financial capabilities strategy and curriculum for Nusenda Credit Union. At CNM, she is an instructor in the School of Business & Information Technology (BIT) for Nusenda’s financial career exploration and internship dual credit courses. Prior to Nusenda, she was an educator for over 19 years in pre-k, general, gifted, and special education, most recently serving as an Assistant Principal. She is a ProjectGLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design) trainer with Dual Language NM (DLENM) and rotating instructor in CNM’s Alternative Licensure Program.

 

Tell us about a teacher who inspired you:

There have been many incredible teachers on my learning path, but my high school art teacher, Carol Hilgemann, is always the inspirational teacher that comes to my mind first. She set a standard to expect excellence from one’s self. There was a quote on her wall that is now etched deep in my psyche- “If you think you can, or think you can’t, you are absolutely right.” When she retired my Junior year, I took the poster for dorm decoration and I still have it, now packed away with my life-long learning experiences and motivational memories.

Phillip King

Phillip King

Events and Engagement Coordinator

Phillip currently serves as the Events and Engagement Coordinator for the NM Office of African American Affairs. He is a graduate of Highland High School and received a liberal art’s associates from CNM, and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from New Mexico Highlands University. Phillip is a former APS Classroom teacher with 10 years of experience teaching grades K-8. He served as the on-site instructional council chair and ATF union instructional council representative. As the Albuquerque Teachers Federation site Fed-Rep, it allowed Phillip to have a voice in educational implementation protocols.

 

Tell us about a teacher who inspired you:

I credit Dr. Diane Walker at New Mexico Highlands University with giving me the inspiration and passion to know that I CAN make a difference in education.  Dr. Walker engaged us in utilizing cooperative learning frameworks to reflect on our own pedagogy, and differentiated instruction addressing inherit biases, diversity, and inclusiveness. 

Honorary and Emeritus Members

Aileen Garcia, Educator/Administrator, Retired

Diane Denish, Past President, Strategies 360 NM

Diane Harrison Ogawa, Corporate Philanthropy and Community Relations Executive, Central New Mexico Community College

Margaret Keller,  Non-profit leader and former Executive Director of Golden Apple Foundation

Mike Koldyke, Founder Frontenac Company

Ed Larranaga, President at The Catholic Foundation of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

Duffy Swan, Retired, President/CEO, French Family of Companies

Marty Wilson, Retired Educator/Administrator, Former Golden Apple Foundation Executive Director

Mary Ann Constantini, Educator Retired, Chair of Selection Committee

Executive Director

Pam Powers

A native New Mexican, Pam attended public school in Albuquerque and completed her master’s at the University of New Mexico. Pam is a past recipient of the Golden Apple Award and other national teaching honors. In 2013, she was selected as the National Physical Education and Physical Activity Advisor for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Active Schools, advocating for quality education. Pam serves on the University of New Mexico COEHS Awards Committee and  the Advisory Committee for the NM Secretary of Education.

Tell us about a teacher who inspired you:
“I was fortunate to have many inspiring teachers in my life. One that stands out for me is Gloria Napper-Owen.  Throughout my time at UNM, Gloria helped me to see that I could do and be anything I wanted to be. I owe a lot to her for where I am today.”