Julia Rivera-Tapia

Head Administrator

Mrs. Rivera-Tapia is a graduate of the University of New Mexico. She received a bachelor's in Elementary Education and Spanish. Her teaching career began in the summer of 2005. In 2009 she moved to New York to obtain a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Columbia University. She was an intern principal at Coronado Elementary school in Albuquerque, a magnet Bilingual School. In 2010, she obtained her administrator license from the Public Education Department of New Mexico. Most recently, she was the School Director at New Mexico International School a trilingual K-8th School. Mrs. Julia is passionate about bilingual education and being a part of the magic that occurs when students begin to read and write in multiple languages! Besides teaching kindergarten over ten years, she has taught first grade, has been an early childhood liaison, instructional coach, IB coordinator, bilingual coordinator, and an advocate for non-profit organizations throughout the community. Mrs. Rivera-Tapia is truly fortunate to have the opportunity to be at Raices del Saber and is beyond excited to be a part of this new phase of the school!


Paz y Salud


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Lucia V. Carmona

Director of Operations and Community Engagement

Is a native of Cd. Juárez, Chihuahua, from Rarámuri (Tarahumara) ancestry, and learned to play guitar at the age of 16, and sings traditional Mexican music. Lucía has lived in Las Cruces, NM for the last 15 years. She immigrated to the U.S. where she was involved with the Bi-National Organization for Human Rights and Environmental Justice (COREF), a lead organizer for the Colonias Development Council, board president of the farmworkers Sin Fronteras Organizing Project, and the Regional Project Coordinator in Southern New Mexico for the National Immigrant Farming Initiative. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a Minor in U.S./Mexico Border Studies from New Mexico State University. In January 2013, she joined Ngage NM, a nonprofit organization based in Doña Ana County, to advance an Initiative on Education from prenatal to Career Countywide as the Community Engagement Coordinator. In May 2014, she becomes a W.K.Kellogg Foundation Fellow as part of the 1st Class of Community Leadership Network Program hoping to create an interactive educational project based on Mexican indigenous tradition.  In July 2015, she became a new fellow member of the Native American Community Academy (NACA) Inspired Schools Network Program ( Ms. Carmona is one of the co-founders of Raices del Saber Xinachtli Community School.


Elva Varela

Office Manager

I was born and raised in Deming, New Mexico and I have lived in Las Cruces for the last 20 years. I obtained a Business Office Technology Associate Degree from Dona Ana Community College. I bring more than 15 years’ experience as an Office Manager, including experience in accounts payable and accounts receivable. Prior to joining Raices del Saber, I worked for a grassroots community organization as a bilingual Accredited Legal Representative. As a legal representative, I determined the client’s eligibility for immigration benefits and possible bars to immigration. I assisted clients with the completion of appropriate immigration benefit applications and proper filing of the same.


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Carlos Aceves

Kindergarten Bilingual Teacher

Carlos Aceves is a co-founder and bilingual teacher at Raices del Saber Xinacthli Community School. He writes: "I have been a Texas resident since moving from Mexico with my parents at age two. Having earned a degree in mass communication my first career was working in instructional media for fifteen years. I have now been an elementary bilingual teacher for the past 25 years. My interest in Mesoamerican history and culture inspired me to apply ancient pedagogical models to contemporary educational settings, often with great success in my classroom. This has allowed me opportunities to present at national forums such as the National Association for Bilingual Education and university settings. My novel, "Diadema", uses El Paso, Texas, as a setting to explore the mysterious and ancient archaeological site known as Hueco Tanks State Park. My other book, "Nine Seasons: Beyond 2012", has been used in classroom instruction at the University of Texas at El Paso (History), the University of Arizona (Cultural Studies), and Harvard University (Religion). Besides a school teacher, I am a research assistant and presenter for the Indigenous Cultures Institute based in San Marcos, Texas." 


Laura Hoobler

1st Grade Bilingual Teacher


My name is Laura Hoobler, I was born in El Paso, Texas, grew up and received my early year's education in Chihuahua, Chihuahua. I started my education at El Paso Community College, then I transferred to complete my degree at New Mexico State University. I have been an educator for over 30 years. I started as a parent volunteer at El Paso Head Start in 1986. I became an Instructional Assistant for Region 19 Head Start in 1987. I completed my CDA (Child Development Associate) and became a Head Start Bilingual Teacher in 1989. I attended New Mexico State University, graduated in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in Family and Child Consumer Science. I obtained my Teaching Bilingual Degree in UTEP in 2000 through the ACP (Alternative Certification Program). I attained my teaching license in Bilingual Education from K-8th. Grades. I took several courses toward a master’s degree in Bilingual Education at New Mexico State University.  I proudly worked for Gadsden School District for 16 years.  I have been working mostly in kindergarten, but I have also had experience working with 2 grade, 6th grade, and Reading Intervention. I went as an Education Manager for the Bilingual/Multicultural Head Start Program at the Permian Basin for 3 years. I was a conference presenter, teacher trainer, and a CDA advisor.  I have a passion for early childhood education, I strongly believe in developing our heritage language that will serve as the connection to grow, develop, and be proud of our roots. I am also a child’s advocate in all the areas of the child not only academic. I have also a strong belief in age-appropriate practices and parental empowerment. 


Issis Inzunza

1st Grade Bilingual Teacher

Hola! Yo soy Issis C. Inzunza Ibarra, I was born in Gómez Palacio, Durango, México. I migrated when I was three and have lived in Las Cruces ever since. My father and mother taught me how important education is and it became my passion. My undergraduate degree is in Early Childhood Education and my master’s degree is in Teaching English as a Second Language, both from NMSU. As a child, I lived in NMSU housing and that gave me exposure to varieties of ethnicities and backgrounds. It was my melting pot with indigenous, Latin, Asian, middle eastern, and some European neighbors. The Latin community at that time was close and we would get together to celebrate holidays from our homeland. I am very proud of where I came from and where my parents came from because it is who I am. In my spare time, I love to go hiking, being with family and friends, going to the gym, silks and reading poetry.

I welcome you to this journey of love, compassion, and understanding of not only ourselves, our students, but of each other. :) 


Juanita Ribail

2nd Grade Bilingual Teacher

Hi, there! My name is Juanita Ribail and  I am so excited to be part of the Raices Del Saber Xinachtli Community. I am a mother of two young adults and a grandmother of two lovely boys. A little bit about myself. My college background I graduated from UTEP and received my Bachelor's in Education and a Masters in School Counseling.  I have been teaching for 23 years. I have taught kindergarten through 4th grade. In my spare time, I love spending it with my family, relaxing or decorating my home. I love to be with my family any chance I get!


A few of my favorites:

COLOR: My favorite color ... blue.

SEASON:  Summer…. I love the beach and the pool!

DESSERT: Cheesecake or Carrot cake...mmm, so tasty!

DRINK: Cold or hot coffee (Dunkin Donuts)

HOBBY: I like baking and exercising. 

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Jessica Castro-Buelna

3rd Grade Bilingual Teacher

I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. My parents are from Cananea, Sonora, and moved to the United States about 38 years ago. I completed my studies at Western New Mexico University and graduated with my Master’s Degree in Elementary Education with an endorsement in Spanish and my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. I recently graduated with a second Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership. In my spare time, I love to travel to Mexico to see my family as well as traveling all around the world. As I think about my school years, I remember how difficult my schooling was due to the language barrier I had. The only language I spoke was Spanish when I was in elementary, and it was exceedingly difficult. Now, I am an advocate for students who have difficulty learning the English language and those who would love to learn the Spanish language and culture. 


Filo Rigales

Reading Interventionist and Special Education Teacher

Hello, my name is Filomena Rigales.  I have taught for 38 years in bilingual classes in Las Cruces, Gadsden, Cobre, Canutillo, Belen school districts, and charter schools such as La Academia Dolores Huerta, and currently at Raices del Saber from DD Preschool through eighth grade.  I have taught in special education, gifted education, bilingual facilitator, and in the migrant summer programs.  I have been a Title I, am reading and Math teacher for students from Kindergarten through fifth grade in English and Spanish language.  I have had training in taking Flight, Orton-Gillingham, and Esperanza multisensory reading instruction.  I have endorsements in Bilingual, TESOL, and Reading.  I love teaching and am happy to be a member of the staff at Raíces.


Kayla Martínez

Fine Arts Teacher

Hello, my name is Kayla Martínez.

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Regina Miller

Kindergarten Educational Assistant



Anita Lara-Beckler

OST Coordinator

I am an Indigenous Native New Mexican Woman.  Born and raised in the Pueblo of Tortugas, New Mexico. I am strongly connected to my community and the preservation of our cultural traditions. I am a graduate of New Mexico State University, receiving my degree in Literature, creative writing, and minor in cultural anthropology in 2009. My professional work reflects my passion for unity, empowerment, and education. 

Through my experiences at Raíces del Saber Xinachtli Community School, I am learning to use the natural ways of the earth and universal elements and how they can empower young leaders through education. By connecting every day with our inner fire of the heart, the fluidity of emotional waters, and the purposeful earth path of education every student and family in our community can succeed. 

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Luis Ramos

FoodCorps Coordinator - Service Member


Guadalupe Hernández

IEC Member - Indigenous Educator Corps Member

Hello! My name is Guadalupe Aguirre de Hernandez. I was born on CD. Juárez Chihuahua México. There, I went to school from elementary level to the university (UACJ), from where I graduated as a Social Worker. In Cd. Juárez, I worked in the youth integration center and in two elementary schools. I have lived in Las Cruces for 21 years and since the beginning, I volunteer at Mesilla Park where my four children attended. While my children were at school, I attended English classes in the afternoons, later on, I finished my GED and made the decision to enter Doña Ana Community College and study Early Childhood. It was very difficult because my first language is Spanish, during this period I volunteered at the Doña Ana community center caring for children, also at the Children's Reading Alliance, providing daycare support to the parents while de attend to the courses of “Primer Maestro” (First Teacher), also, at Engage NM and at Tombaugh Elementary School in Kindergarten and Head Start. Today I have the privilege of working at Raíces del saber Xinachtli Community School, as an ICE member-Indigenous Educator Corps and to be able to share all my knowledge in an enjoyable way, which motivates students to be the best version of themselves. My hobbies are enjoying time/trips with my family, reading, and walking with my pets.

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Briana Mirabal

IEC Member - Indigenous Educator Corps Member


Martín Calva

IEC Member - Indigenous Educator Corps Member


Elia Esparza

Lead Custodian/Food Service