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, and Chair, Raul Aldair Marquez was born in Mexico and raised in Los Angeles, CA, for most of his life. He moved to Las Cruces in 2014 to further his career and be with his now wife, Julia. He earned his first Bachelor’s in Exercise Physiology at Cal State Northridge. He worked as a personal trainer and strength coach, as his first passion has been exercise and helping people learn to move their bodies and understand the importance of improving their strength. He moved to Las Cruces to further his career and become a registered dietitian, which he accomplished in 2019, along with earning his Master’s in Nutrition from New Mexico State. He knew that to serve the community better; he needed to be well prepared to answer questions regarding exercise and nutrition, especially in a world full of “overnight” professionals and access to information that may seem contradictory. Since moving to Las Cruces, he has fallen in love with the sunsets, mountains, and all the hidden adventures the Land of Enchantment offers. He is helping raise an independent and bilingual little artist that will help change the world around her. Since Aldair grew up understanding the importance of being bilingual, he has been motivated to help Raíces be the best it can be as part of the Governance Board and ally in propelling the school forward. Si somos unidos, todo se puede.
Board Member, Vice-Chair, Patricia (Pat) Minjarez, I am honored to be a part of the Raices community now. I am from the Anthony, NM, area and have deep roots in La Union. I was a teacher of Bilingual and Dual Language classes. I am a retired educator/administrator who served 36 years in Gadsden District. Have a Master of Art from NMSU and a Masters in Reading and Literacy. I enjoy reading, photography, arts and crafts, and genealogy. Being part of Raices is an excellent opportunity to be a part of a community that supports students and parents. Together we can help our students succeed!
Board Member, 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 no 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 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, 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.
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 broad legal experience that includes housing, family law, prosecution, and general counsel work. She has dedicated much 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 benefits the Raices Del Saber team.