Maria Artiaga, Ph.D.
Over the past 30 years, my professional career has evolved primarily around early childhood (birth-3rd grade), elementary and middle school (K-8), higher education, and federally funded programs. My work experience includes working with local community agencies and the school district of Las Cruces. I have been an educational assistant, bilingual teacher, facilitator/specialist, coordinator, summer school principal, Head Start Director, Executive Director of Federal Programs, and Executive Director of Early Childhood. I also taught part-time for both Doña Ana Community College and New Mexico State University in undergraduate and graduate education-related courses.
All my degrees were obtained at New Mexico State University. I have an Associate in Education Para-Profession (Early Childhood), a Bachelor of Science in Education (Elementary Education K-8), two Master of Arts degrees (Bilingual Education and Educational Administration K-12), and a Doctorate of Philosophy (Curriculum & Instruction).
My passion is to be a motivating and impactful leader and educator, and I will always be a lifetime learner. I have an open-door policy that pertains to educating our children, supporting our teachers to gain meaningful opportunities to improve their teaching practices, and helping our parents and families to reach and achieve their goals.
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 (https://www.nacainspiredschoolsnetwork.org/our-fellows). Ms. Carmona is one of the co-founders of Raices del Saber Xinachtli Community School.
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 of Office Manager experience, including accounts payable and accounts receivable. Before joining Raices del Saber, I worked as a bilingual Accredited Legal Representative for a grassroots community organization. As a legal representative, I determined the client’s eligibility for immigration benefits and possible bars to immigration. I assisted clients with completing appropriate immigration benefit applications and proper filing.
Kindergarten-A Bilingual Teacher
My name is Esperanza Pizarro, and I am a kindergarten teacher at Raices del Saber. I have a master’s degree in early childhood education from New Mexico State University with a bilingual endorsement. I am happy to be part of this team and work with amazing teachers. My first language is Spanish, and I am passionate about bilingual education. I want to make a difference in our community and look forward to supporting the learning path of my students.
2nd Grade-A Bilingual Teacher and
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 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."
4th Grade Bilingual Teacher
My name is Fatima Batres, and I am the fourth-grade teacher at Raices del Saber this school year. I have been a Bilingual teacher for kindergarten and first grade for the past 11 years in Las Cruces, NM. I have also gained experience teaching grades Kindergarten to 12th grade from substitute teaching the past year.
I moved to Las Cruces from the state of Durango, Mexico, and have been living here for the past 27 years. I also proudly attended NMSU for both my Bachelor's and Master's degrees and currently hold endorsements in Bilingual Education, TESOL, and as an Elementary Math Specialist.
I feel very fortunate to be starting a new teaching adventure at Raices del Saber with this amazing community.
Kindergarten-B Educational Assistant
Hello! My name is Guadalupe Aguirre de Hernandez. I was born on CD. Juárez Chihuahua México. There, I went to school from the elementary level to the university (UACJ), 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 have volunteered at Mesilla Park, where my four children attend. 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 “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 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.
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.
Art and Music Teacher
Soy Kayla Martinez, Mujer, Mestiza, Maestra, enseñando Música y Arte at Raíces del Saber Xinachtli Community School. I am honored to grow as an educator in a school with a high value for the Spanish and the Nahuatl language, indigenous knowledge, and positive identity formation. I am a Nortena from El Rito Nuevo México. After High School Graduation, I attended NMSU and have since lived in southern Nuevo, Mexico, in this beautiful and complex place I have loved, La Frontera! Before being a licensed teacher, I have been an educator in Las Cruces for 12 years in many different settings. Currently, this is my 3rd year as Maestra de Arte y Música,
Maestra by day and Musician by night, both identities and passions I hold dear to my heart. I have been a Co-Owner of a Local band Papayas con Chile for over six years. As a musician, I am able to grow as a Guitarist, Harpist, and Vocalist. I am proud to be able to use my passions to connect to my students and my community.
Hello, my name is Filomena Rigales. I have taught for 38 years in bilingual classes in Las Cruces, Gadsden, Cobre, Canutillo, and 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 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.
Reading Interventionist and Special Education Teacher
Hello, my name is Sarah Herring. I moved to Las Cruces in 2021 from Tucson, AZ, where I lived for 15 years. I am originally from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am the parent of a Raices student and am happy to join the teaching staff at Raices. In Tucson, I worked as a Special Education Teacher for three years at a public K-8 Montessori school. I am attending classes at NMSU to receive a graduate certificate in TESOL.