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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

VP at Sentinel Group

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 Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and Plan Consulting at Sentinel Group. 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.

 Mandi Torrez

Mandi Torrez

Education Reform Director, Think New Mexico

Mandi serves as the Education Reform Director for Think New Mexico, a nonprofit think tank in Santa Fe that focuses on nonpartisan efforts to improve the lives of New Mexicans. She focuses on K-12 education policy issues at the state level and advocates for improving the system at every level. Mandi received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder in journalism and her master’s degree in integrated elementary and special education from Boston’s Wheelock College. She taught for nine years in Bernalillo Public Schools as an elementary classroom teacher. In 2019, she was named the BPS Teacher of the Year and was named the New Mexico Teacher of the Year in 2020. Mandi served as the teacher engagement liaison for the New Mexico Public Education Department where she led teacher leadership programs and engaged with teachers from across the state.

 

Tell us about a teacher who inspired you:

Dr. Elisa Facio, my college professor, was the first Latina teacher I had in my all of my schooling. I enrolled in several of her Chicano Studies classes at the University of Colorado. Her knowledge and wisdom helped to shape my identity and inspired a call to public service. She instilled in me the importance of giving back to the Latino community, which eventually motivated my decision to enter the teaching profession after nearly a decade working in print journalism.

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.

Gretchen Rockenfield

Gretchen Rockenfield

Retired Educator

Gretchen Rockenfield is a retired teacher after 25 year in the classroom and a 2012 Golden Apple recipient. She started her career teaching 3rd and 4th grade in Cimarron Municipal Schools and was instrumental in implementing a variety of Experiential Education programs. After taking some time off to focus on raising her only daughter, Emry Rockenfield, she went back to the classroom to teach English Language Arts at the Middle School level. Both in Eagle Nest, NM and Maxwell, NM, Gretchen focused on helping students increase their background knowledge by teaching outside of the brick and mortar classroom. This is Gretchen‘s second term as a Golden Apple of NM board member and enjoys supporting Excellence in Teaching throughout ALL the districts in the state. Gretchen resides in Ute Park, New Mexico, and enjoys hiking, fishing, and reading.

Tell us about a teacher who inspired you: Gretchen Rockenfield is a retired teacher after 25 year in the classroom and a 2012 Golden Apple recipient. She started her career teaching 3rd and 4th grade in Cimarron Municipal Schools and was instrumental in implementing a variety of Experiential Education programs. After taking some time off to focus on raising her only daughter, Emry Rockenfield, she went back to the classroom to teach English Language Arts at the Middle School level. Both in Eagle Nest, NM and Maxwell, NM, Gretchen focused on helping students increase their background knowledge by teaching outside of the brick and mortar classroom. This is Gretchen‘s second term as a Golden Apple of NM board member and enjoys supporting Excellence in Teaching throughout ALL the districts in the state. Gretchen resides in Ute Park, New Mexico, and enjoys hiking, fishing, and reading. 

Tell us About a Teacher who Inspired You:

Gretchen‘s passion for Outdoor Education was inspired by her teachers at All Saints’ Episcopal School in Vicksburg, MS  as well as her counselors at Cimarroncita Ranch Camp in northern New Mexico. Cassie and Charlie Dickson were instrumental in teaching Gretchen how experiential education can help push an individual beyond what is believed possible. Values she still uses today. Ellen Swain taught her that mistakes are an avenue for growth. One should not be controlled by fear of failure. 

 

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.”