Our Board

Diane Garcia Piro, President

Diane is a retired educator of with over 27 years of experience in both K-12 and higher education. During her tenure with Santa Fe Public Schools she served as the district director for career education, where she worked to create curriculum and programs from elementary through post-secondary levels. The highlight of this position was creating the first career centers at both SFHS and CHS in partnership with the Department of Workforce Solutions. She ended her career in administration as a middle school principal, where career related programing played a key role. Currently Diane is the owner of Organized Space by Diane in Santa Fe.

Linda Zingle, Vice President

Linda Zingle spent her professional career educating both young and old students. She was a Certified Financial Planner focused on ways to reduce risk and achieve balance in financial life. During her career she became involved in fundraising for the United Way of Indian River County, Florida and decided that volunteering was the best job in the world. She now serves on several boards in Santa Fe trying to help improve the lives of people in our special community.

Harvey Morse, Treasurer

Harvey Morse is a retired fundraiser who held several leadership positions in the field during his tenure. He has worked as VP for Advancement at St. John’s College, Chief Development Officer at UNM School of Law, and Director of Advancement at Vermont Academy. Harvey has managed offices of up to 22 people, developed capital campaigns in excess of $150 million, serviced up to 1,000 class agents, and has facilitated millions in individual giving for his causes.

Chad and Bindu Smelser, Co-Secretaries

Bindu is a Family Physician who has worked with the Indian Health Service for over 12 years. Chad is a Pediatrician who completed a fellowship in public health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He has worked at the New Mexico Department of Health for 15 years and currently serves at the Deputy State Epidemiologist. They are the proud parents of two teenage children who attend Santa Fe High School. Both Bindu and Chad have supported youth organizations in the Santa Fe Area since the early 2000s. They currently share a board position at College and Career Plaza and serve as the board Secretary.

Missy Gurule

Missy Gurule has lived in Santa Fe for 41 years where she raised her two daughters. She ran the Career Centers at Santa Fe High and Capital High for 14 years providing career and college services. This was a collaboration between the Department of Labor (Department of Workforce Solutions) and SFPS. Missy is a resourceful, energetic, compassionate professional that has championed high students and maintained ongoing collaborative relationships with the schools, employers, community members and youth organizations providing youth opportunities and services.

Thomas Madigan

Tom has been a civil engineer for over 40 years having worked in the Twin City Metropolitan area and is now supporting the Village of Pecos as their Consultant Engineer. He retired in 2016 to Santa Fe and began volunteering at Santa Fe High School in the fall of 2016 as a STEM mentor for College & Career Plaza (CCP). Tom helped facilitate the transition of CCP to a non-profit in the State and currently sits on the CCP Board. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of New Mexico Civil Engineering Department where he instructs students in Project Management.

Ernie Rose

Dr. Ernest Rose was Professor of Special Education in the Department of Educational Support Services and Professor of Educational Leadership in the Department of Educational Leadership and Administration, School of Education, Loyola Marymount University (LMU). From 2012 until his retirement, he was Director of the School’s doctoral program in educational leadership for social justice. Dr. Rose has been the director of six U.S. Department of Education funded projects and was the senior consultant for special education grants awarded from NIH and NSF to the School of Education at LMU. He has written numerous articles and book chapters on issues related to children and adults with disabilities, and is the co-author of Growing Up: The Transition of Students with Disabilities to Adult Life, published by Pearson. When he retired from Loyola Marymount University in 2016, Dr. Rose was named Professor Emeritus in the School of Education.

Carolyn Thomas

Carolyn Thomas, PhD, has been a teacher in public and independent schools for more than 35 years. She currently teaches in the philosophy department at University of New Mexico. Carolyn has wide-ranging experience in school administration, college admissions counseling, and community foundation work. She also enjoys tinkering with old cars and trucks.

Our Team

Alliyah Noor, Executive Director

Alliyah has worked as a leader, fundraiser, and advocate in the fields of sustainability and youth development for over fifteen years. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Biology from the University of Colorado and a J.D. in Natural Resources Law from Lewis and Clark Law School. Alliyah is the child of a Pakistani immigrant who came to the United States for education and attributes much of her success to the encouragement of her father along with an inspiring relationship with her mentor in high school. Because of her own experiences, she is truly passionate about supporting and mentoring young people as they develop pathways for their own futures. In her free time, Alliyah enjoys playing with her furbabies, skiing, growing food, camping and riding her scooter.
alliyah@collegecareerplaza.org

Alejandro Jimenez, College and Career Coordinator, Santa Fe High School

Alejandro is an educator with a decade of experience working with young people as a youth organizer, advisor, counselor, and restorative justice coordinator. Originally from Colima, Mexico, he is a formerly-undocumented immigrant who grew up as a farmworker in Oregon, where he became the first in his family to graduate college (BA Sociology/Ethnic Studies). His passions include: laughing, nature, running, writing, cooking, and working with young people to help guide them as they pave their own way to success – however that looks for them.
alejandro@collegecareerplaza.org
Text or call 505-819-9584

Carolina Tavarez, College and Career Coordinator, Capital High School

Carolina hails from Mexico and has grown up in Santa Fe. She has held positions such as tutor, mentor, and occasional dog wrangler. Recently graduated from St. John’s College Santa Fe, she holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts and extensive exposure to “why” questions. As the daughter of two immigrants, and an immigrant herself, Carolina grew up with the same obstacles that immigrant youth face today. This has inspired her work with young people and helping the next generation of students find a place in such turbulent times. In her spare time, Carolina can be found reading, hiking, and pursuing Don Quijote.
carolina@collegecareerplaza.org
Text or call 505-819-9053

Toby Wright, College and Career Plaza Support Specialist

Toby Wright arrived in Santa Fe in 2011 after working in a large Colorado high school as the College and Career Specialist/AP Coordinator for 6 years. Upon her arrival in Santa Fe, Toby worked as an AVID Tutor which in turn led her to obtaining her license and teaching AVID for 6 years at Capital High School She is now the Testing Coordinator at Capital High school along with her role at College & Career Plaza. Toby brings to CCP a passion for excellence and high expectations. She has worked tirelessly to help students find college and career opportunities and ensure that students, primarily low-income and first generation students, can access and obtain valuable guidance and support during their high school years.
twright@sfps.k12.nm.us