Skip to main content
New Mexico

New Mexico Teach For America New Mexico Launches Leadership Program to Support Excellent Educators

Fellowship Will Provide Leadership and Career Growth Opportunities for 14 School-Based Leaders


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Teach For America (TFA) New Mexico today announced the first cohort of K-12 educators for its recently launched New Mexico Teacher Leader Fellowship, a six-month professional development program that provides participants with leadership skills, networking, and career advancement support with the goal of strengthening and retaining effective leaders across the state’s public schools.

The fellowship is comprised of 14 teachers and other school-based leaders from across New Mexico, including the north, south, central, and northwest parts of the state. Collectively, they bring experiences from elementary, middle and high school, special education, bilingual education, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). Fellows have at least three years of experience teaching in the classroom and, through monthly virtual sessions, will receive skills and resources to advance their leadership and efficacy in schools. 

“We are excited and humbled to support an incredibly diverse group of leaders to learn together and collaborate on school-based best practices that meet the needs of all students,” said Missy Wauneka, Head of Region for TFA New Mexico. “Students today are grappling with a myriad of challenges as a result of the pandemic. This fellowship will provide space and resources for teachers and school leaders to surface issues they’re experiencing, collaborate on solutions, and pursue innovative ideas that result in collective impact across classrooms and schools.”

The fellowship supports the organization’s broader efforts to strengthen teacher pathways and retention in public schools across New Mexico, which has become an increasing statewide issue in the last several years. At the start of the 2021-22 school year,  there were more than 1,000 teacher vacancies, an 84 percent increase from the previous year.

One of the key elements of the program is coaching support, which studies have shown to be effective in retaining teachers and improving student learning outcomes. Fellows will receive this support from one of three coaches: Annie Driskell, Continuous Learning Resource Specialist, Eureka Math, Great Minds; Karen Ware, Director of Innovation and Organizational Development, NACA Inspired Schools Network; and Isabel Woytek, Educator Coach and Owner, Moment in Time, LLC.

“There are so many internal and external pressures to move quickly and constantly produce - it can be easy to go on autopilot just to keep up and survive,” said Ware of present-day challenges in education. “Coaching offers consistent opportunities to slow down, reconnect to what's most important, and make intentional choices with support.”

The first cohort of Teacher Leader Fellows are:

  • Isabella Aldana, High School Social Studies Teacher, New Mexico School for the Arts
  • Elizabeth Bahe, Executive Director, Kha'p'o Community School
  • Adele Bovis, Bilingual Teacher, Alcalde Elementary, Española Public Schools
  • Cadie Carrillo, Kindergarten Teacher, Tierra Amarilla Elementary 
  • Juana Castillo, Teacher, Bloomfield School District
  • Eliana Esquibel, Instructional Coach, Vado
  • Cristin Haake, Counselor, Los Alamos High School
  • Gabriela Fuentes Ibarra, 7th and 8th Grade Spanish Language Arts Teacher and AP Spanish Language and Culture Instructor, Cien Aguas International School
  • Aubriana Knell, 1st Grade Teacher, PLC Leader, Zearn Coach, and School Testing Coordinator, Cuba Elementary, Cuba Independent School District
  • Kristin Lewis, First Grade Teacher, Farmington Municipal Schools
  • Jessica Martinez, 5th Grade Teacher, Park Avenue Elementary
  • Tamara Martinson, Instructor, Taos Academy Charter School 
  • Miriam McIntosh, 6-8 Special Education Math Teacher, Native American Community Academy 
  • Tiffany Orr, Dean of School Culture, Social Studies Teacher and Gifted Coordinator, Solare Collegiate Charter School

Since 2002, TFA New Mexico has recruited and developed more than 700 teachers who have led classrooms in underserved communities across the state. Today, the organization has a network of 240 alumni leading in classrooms, schools, nonprofit, government, and other major sectors and fields impacting local and state education systems. The organization aims to improve educational outcomes and opportunity for all New Mexico students by retaining and advancing the leadership talent—particularly leaders of color—of its alumni.

To learn more about TFA New Mexico, follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

About Teach For America

Teach For America works in partnership with 350 urban and rural communities across the country to expand educational opportunity for children. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding leaders who make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Today, Teach For America is a force of over 64,000 alumni and corps members working in over 9,000 schools nationwide in pursuit of profound systemic change. From classrooms to districts to state houses across America, they are reimagining education to realize the day when every child has an equal opportunity to learn, lead, thrive, and co-create a future filled with possibility. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Cece Zhou