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 a life of service and working towards a better future for the next seven generations.
Board Member, Vice-Chair, 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, Interim Secretary: Dr. Sabrina Zamora,
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: Dr. Maria Luisa (Malú) González
María Luisa González, Ph.D., worked as a bilingual teacher, teacher leader, curriculum writer, and instructional specialist throughout Texas and New Mexico. She was an evaluator with the Dallas Independent School District and later became the principal of an inner-city school that received congressional recognition for serving homeless children. In her 25 years at New Mexico State University, she was recognized as Regents Professor and served as department head. She established a center to support rural and border schools serving Latinx and Indigenous children and continues as Professor Emeritus. Dr. González subsequently served the University of Texas at El Paso as associate dean and an endowed professorship. She has received numerous awards, some of which were the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Outstanding Women, Top 25 University Professors in Texas, and the National Master Professor Award.
Dr. González’s numerous grants initiated innovative designs in the preparation of leaders serving English Language Learners (ELLs). Two of the grants were listed among the 10 most promising national programs preparing principals. Her publications include a book on the education of Latinx children, numerous chapters, and articles in national journals on school leadership in the borderlands all focused on serving ELLs. She continues her commitment to US-Mexico border schools and the study of those educational heroes who go beyond borders to serve these children.
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.