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: Rocío Benedicto holds a B.A. in Political Science from University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), an M.A. in Educational Development of Learning Technologies from NM State University (NMSU), and is pursuing her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at NMSU. She has been a teacher of English Language Learners for over 25 years in K-12 and university classrooms. Rocio is the Principal Investigator/Director of Collaborating for Outstanding Readiness in Education (CORE) at NMSU. She has extensive experience and expertise in bilingual education, cross-cultural pedagogical methods, and literacy and mathematics instruction, especially with English Language Learners. Fluent in English and Spanish.
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.
Board Member at Large/Co-Founder: Irene Oliver-Lewis: holds a B.A. and M.A. in Theatre, Journalism, and Speech from NMSU. She has over 40 years of experience as an arts producer, teaching artist/scholar, and administrator. Her expertise is in Latino/multicultural arts, education and humanities projects. She is renowned for her skills and knowledge in the cultural and performing arts in the education setting and community, having received many national, state, and local awards over the years. She has the experience and knowledge of founding and participating in the operation of a highly successful charter school for the performing, culinary, literary and visual arts, and is very knowledgeable of NM laws, regulations and statutes pertaining to charter schools and facilities management and maintenance. Fluent in English and Spanish.
Board Member at Large/Parent: Alejandro Flores: holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso. During his career, he has served as a project designer and manager at Ohio State University, Auburn University in Alabama, and New Mexico State University. He is currently the property project manager for the City of Las Cruces. where his primary responsibility is to plan, coordinate, and manage functions, activities, and staff assigned to municipal property projects, which include facility and parks design and capital improvement projects, to ensure compliance with all applicable policies, procedures, and regulations. Fluent in Spanish and English.
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.