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, Chair, 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 service life and working towards a better future for the next seven generations. 


Board Member, Vice-Chair, Raul Aldair Marquez, MS, RD, LD; I have worked for most of my professional career as part of a team and fully understand how to maneuver the intricacies of working with all types of individuals. I value the importance of communication and its role in defining goals and working towards them. I have been bilingual all my life, being able to converse in Spanish and English. Professionally, since most of my education/training has been in English for both exercise physiology and nutrition, there has been some difficulty initially in practicing my crafts. However, I was never deterred and only helped better my communication skills in both languages and increased my resourcefulness.

I was incredibly fortunate that I was part of a bilingual program in my elementary school years. We had school in both Spanish and English from kinder to 5th grade. Taking the standard tests in both languages wasn’t fun, but we managed just fine. When our daughter was getting ready to start school, I wanted her to also experience Educacion en dos Idiomas. My wife told me about Raices and instantly fell in love with the idea that my daughter would be a part of a new community school where she would learn to communicate with a wider audience than had she gone to a monolingual school.


Board Member, Interim Secretary: I am originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, I have lived in the United States for over thirty years, and I have four children and four dogs. I graduated from NMSU in 2012 with a degree in Criminal Justice. I have served as chair of the school's Concilio de Padres (Parent Council) for the past two years.  This experience made me believe that when families, schools, and communities work together effectively and as partners, parent involvement is a powerful strategy that enhances the student's academic performance and helps better prepare our children to lead healthy, happy, and productive lives. Because of that, I would like to continue to serve at my child's school by being part of the Raíces Governance Board. I believe I would be an asset to the board because I have the enthusiasm and charisma; I’m Bilingual, but most importantly, I desire to create an environment of trust, identify the needs of children and parents and school, and all of our work together for a better tomorrow. Also, my academic and work experience gives me a better understanding of how to deal with government rules and regulations. My understanding of Public Education is not the exception.  Currently, I work for the City of Las Cruces, and such a position allows me to expose to great connections to establish beneficial partners for our school.

Board Member, Treasurer/Co-Founder 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 at Large, Maria Elena Garza,  I am honored to be accepted to serve at Raíces del Saber as part of the Governance Board. My experience with Public Libraries allowed me to collaborate in different educational programs that inspire me to continue helping in any capacity to contribute to enhancing the education of our children. I do believe in Community Schools supporting our children and their families holistically. Students must experience what it is to belong to a school that cares about individuals and are part of a society where everyone can contribute and improve knowledge and education. I also hope to assist with my long-term experience and skills in the private and public sector as an Administrator Manager, having experience in designing and implementing programs that involve the overall quality of administration, developing entrepreneurial guidelines to export and import industrial products worldwide; and the ability to adapt new concepts and direction, embracing new challenges and learning opportunities.


Board Member at large, Patsy Lopez,

Patsy López is a native El Pasoan and first generation American, born to a culturally traditional Mexican family.  Her family’s experiences directly influenced Patsy’s desire to become an attorney and serve her community. 

Patsy has a broad legal experience that includes housing, family law, prosecution and general counsel work. She has dedicated a significant amount of her adult life to creating and participating in educational and leadership programs for children and adults. She is passionate about assisting Raices Del Saber in its mission to empower children with cultural knowledge and practical life skills. Her experience with dual language program legislation, educational programs and board service is a benefit to the Raices Del Saber team.