Our Team

Alliyah Noor, Executive Director

Alliyah has worked as a leader, fundraiser, and advocate in the fields of sustainability and youth development for twenty 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 an 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 cuddling with her furbabies, live music, gardening, skiing, and hiking.

Summer Romero, Site Coordinator, Santa Fe Indian School

Summer grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico and is excited to be returning to her hometown for work. During college, she worked as a tutor and spent her summers teaching at a local nonprofit. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Growing up as a first generation student, Summer often had questions relating to applying to college and was grateful for the help she received from different teachers/programs. This has inspired her to pursue a career in college access and provide support to students who are beginning to navigate a confusing and exciting time in their lives. When she is not working, summer enjoys spending time with her dogs, hanging out with her friends or going to local coffee shops.
Text or call 505-372-9672

Selma Gutierrez, Site Coordinator, Santa Fe High School

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.
Text or call 505-819-9584

Adela Contreras, Site Coordinator, Capital High School & Española Valley High School

Adela’s college and career journey has been one of resilience and growth, from overcoming challenges during high school to excelling in her education at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).  She personally experienced the transformative power of mentorship combined with access to college and career resources. As a graduate with honors in history and experience as a Teaching Assistant for first year university students, Adela developed a deep passion for education and empowering young minds as they realize their educational and career aspirations.  Adela holds a Bachelor of Arts in History with honors from UCSB and brings strong experience as a career coach. She holds dear the warmth of her family, which includes children in human, fur, and amphibian forms, and looks forward to learning how to ski this winter.
Text or call 505-819-1494

Carolina Tavarez, Site Coordinator, Monte del Sol Charter 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.
Text or call 505-819-9567

Board of Directors

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

Linda Zingle, Treasurer

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.

Leah Gardner, Secretary

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 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.

Judy Reinhartz

Judy Reinhartz, PhD. Judy is Professor Emeritus and retired administrator at The University of Texas at El
Paso. Her career over the past five decades has been filled with great diversity and creative experiences. Also, as a professor and administrator at The University of Texas at Arlington, she taught undergraduate and graduate courses for pre/in-service teachers and principals, and was the recipient of several awards, including The University Outstanding Teacher of the Year. She entered the field of education as a STEM elementary teacher and then went on to teaching high school. She continues to be a staff developer, researcher, grant writer, and presenter. These roles have propelled her enthusiasm for meeting new challenges and following paths to find their solutions.

Mónica Martínez-Archuleta

Mónica Martínez-Archuleta is a native of northern New Mexico. Born in El Rito, growing up in Cañon de Vallecitos, and a graduating from Mesa Vista High School, she understands the hardships many students face as they make decisions to pursue college or careers outside of their
communities. She persisted and earned her Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership with a
focus on rural education from the University of New Mexico. Mónica is committed to centering
the whole-child in a learning environment that allows for recognizing that the communities they come from hold rich experiences. All children come with knowledge and understanding of the world that others may not have, through lived experience. It is through her work with the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Community Partnerships Office that Martinez-Archuleta demonstrates her commitment to develop a profound understanding of leadership for learning and transformation.

Lorissa Garcia

Lorissa Garcia is a passionate advocate and supporter of native education, college and career pathways, and academic success for native students. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Indigenous Studies from Northern Arizona University and most recently received a M.Ed. in Higher Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education. From 2026-2020, Lorissa served as President of the Pueblo of Acoma Board of Education where she worked to set policy and direction for the development, implementation, and access to quality services through the Department of Education for the people of the Pueblo of Acoma. She is currently the Career and Internship Director at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), where she assists students with internship placements, provides career guidance, oversees the work study program, and the IAIA learning lab.

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.