The Governance Board of Raíces is comprised of the community-at-large, with individuals who bring professional expertise that the founders have identified as referenced in the Charter—fiduciary, budget, academic, bilingual, culturally diverse, Mesoamerican history, and cultural knowledge. One of the board members is a parent. The qualifications and skills of the Council demonstrate that they have the capacity, knowledge, and experience to operate a successful, high-quality public school.
Professional expertise and talents of proposed founding board members include individuals who identify with the mission through experience in: business and finance; the legal system; academic leadership or management; academic background in teaching, instruction and curriculum development; cultural knowledge and awareness as a producing artist; community leader and parent; and an understanding of Mesoamerican history and the relevant aspects of living in a bi-literate, bicultural border community and environment such as Las Cruces and Doña Ana County, near the US-Mexico border.
Board Member-President: Emma Armendariz holds a B.A. in secondary education in Spanish and English as well as Elementary Certification and an M.A. in Education from Western NM University, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Administration from the University of New Mexico. She has been a pioneer in the field of bilingual education in New Mexico Public Schools, serving both as a life-long bilingual teacher and school administrator of the development of a very successful pre-K-5th 90-10 dual language program at Longfellow Elementary School in Albuquerque, NM, which served as a pilot project for the state. She recently retired from the Las Cruces Public Schools after serving 10 years as the Director of the Bilingual Education Department. Fluent in English and Spanish.
Board Member, Vice-President: Holaya Ponce-Acosta was born in a small town in Chihuahua, Mexico, and raised in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at El Paso and a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Webster University. Ms. Ponce Acosta is a Licensed Professional Counselor with experience working with diverse populations such as the homeless, chronic runaway minors, formerly incarcerated juveniles and adults, people recovering from substance abuse, parents transitioning through divorce/separation needing co-parenting skills, and people seeking individual/family/group/couples counseling. Holaya is active in numerous native/indigenous groups such as the Kalpulli Tlalteca, All Nations Hueco Tanks Sundance, and Teokalli Mexicayotl Church. Holaya believes in a life of service and working towards a better future for the next seven generations.
Board Member/Co-Founder, Treasurer: Ray Reich has been a resident of the New Mexico border region for over 30 years. He is an artist and retired entrepreneur with 50 years’ experience in business, manufacturing, and international trade with expertise in business finance, logistics, and business management skills. Ray also holds a B.S. in Psychiatric Social Work from Park University and has 30 years of experience in mentoring, consulting and counseling individuals and families in matters from employment to drug abuse. Ray’s passion is for improving the experience of children in the border region and his business experience will provide the board with the needed logistics, budget, and service background to develop creative solutions in running the school’s operations effectively. Fluent in English and Spanish.
Board Member/Co-Founder, Secretary: Jane Asche is a retired educator and community development, specialist. She holds a B.S. in Chemistry and Mathematics from Ball State University, an M. A. in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University, and an Ed.D. in Adult Education from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University with a specialization in the management of nonprofits and voluntary action at the community level. Jane has been a teacher at the elementary, middle school, high school, and the university level. She has been a national trainer and author for creating school/community education partnerships and has extensive experience and academic training in board development. Her focus in education has been on engaging the most at-risk students on a path to academic success.
Daniel Ferraro is the school's parent representative to the Raices Governance Board and brings his healthcare expertise to the school health and wellness planning process. He is the lead outpatient Physical Therapist at Las Cruces Comprehensive Rehabilitation with over 14 combined years of clinical experience in orthopedics, practicing primarily in a private practice outpatient setting. Dr. Ferraro returned to clinical practice after spending 2 years in academia at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) where his primary responsibilities included teaching and coordinating within the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. Additionally, he served as the Physical Therapy Faculty Liaison to the Student Health Center and has served on multiple professional and community service committees. Daniel received his Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology at The Pennsylvania State University and his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at The University of Pittsburgh. He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, Orthopaedic, and Sports Physical Therapy sections. His research interests include sports-related injury and concussion management.
Board Member at Large, Paul H. Gutierrez: holds a B.S. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Wisconsin, an M.S. in Agricultural Economics from NMSU, and a Ph.D. in agricultural economics in from Oklahoma State University. Dr. Gutierrez’s Extension programs have involved “real-time” production, marketing, and financial management issues in production agriculture. His specific teaching goals over the years include developing student’s critical thinking and analytical skills, both as individuals and as teams. Paul’s fundamental goal is to be a facilitator of learning and learners. Fluent in English and Spanish.