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

Carolina Tavarez, Site Coordinator, Capital High School & Monte del Sol

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

Selma Gutierrez, Site Coordinator, Santa Fe High School & ECO

Selma was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After graduating from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas with a B.A. in Global Studies, she decided to return to her hometown to be of service to the community she loves. Selma is a child of Mexican immigrant parents who have always encouraged and supported her higher education. She brings experience working with youth as an educator, mentor, and tutor with local non profit programs. Through her work with College and Career Plaza, Selma hopes to help young people to achieve their goals just like she did.
selma@collegecareerplaza.org
Text or call 505-819-9584

22/23 student interns will be announced soon!

Board of Directors

Harvey Morse, President

Harvey has spent over 42 years in various levels of education including teaching, coaching, administration and living in dormitories. He has held senior development positions at St. John’s College, College of Santa Fe, UNM School of Law, Santa Fe Opera, Tilton School, Vermont Academy, and Choate Rosemary Hall. 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 and planned gifts for his causes. Harvey has been a presenter for several professional fundraising organizations including the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, National Association of Independent Schools, and the National Planned Giving Institute. When at Choate his office received the prestigious USX Foundation, Inc. Award for Achievement in Mobilizing Support for Private Secondary Schools with over 2500 Alumnae. He has been married for 52 years to his wife Sarah, a retired kindergarten/first grade teacher for over 47 years, and has three sons, two daughters-in-law, and one grandson.

Marcos Maez, Vice President

Born and raised in Santa Fe, Marcos Maez currently serves as the Director of Recruitment and Dual Credit at Santa Fe Community College.  As a first generation college student, native of Santa Fe, and Capital High School graduate, Marcos can share his story and the story of others who found their success, and in some cases, chose to stay and give back to their community. He understands, first hand, the value of a college education and uses his passion and enthusiasm to connect with people to communicate that value and the possibilities it brings.  

Diane Garcia Piro, Secretary

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 programming played a key role. Currently Diane is the owner of Organized Space by Diane in Santa Fe.

Tom Madigan, Treasurer

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.

Leah Gardner

Leah is native New Mexican who transplanted to the West Coast in 2000 and recently returned home to the Land of Enchantment. After graduating from the University of California at Santa Cruz, where she earned dual degrees in Politics and Theatre Arts, she attended the Clown Conservatory in San Francisco. Much of her professional career has been in the arts and entertainment industry where she has worked as a director, stage manager, house manager, teacher, and events coordinator. Before leaving the Bay Area, Leah developed and launched a three-and-a-half-hour immersive theatrical event in San Francisco called, The Speakeasy. In April of 2021, Leah joined the team at Falling Colors. In her free time, Leah can be found cooking, hiking and playing board games with her partner, Megan. She is an avid reader and plant lover. Her perfect day would include a long hike and a delicious meal.

Chad and Bindu Smelser

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.

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.

Linda Zingle

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.