Board of Directors – Executive Committee
President Claudia Gutierrez, Albuquerque, currently serves as the Special Education Director of Student Achievement for Albuquerque Public Schools. She oversees the Special Education Department units of Assistive Technology, Universal Design for Learning, and Reading, Writing and Math Services. Her experience in supporting students with dyslexia has been as a teacher and tutor, and as a trainer of Orton-Gillingham based methodology for published programs. She has a passion for helping students become successful in reading, but also learning to utilize tools to help them be successful in their careers.
Vice-President Erin Brown, Albuquerque, is a Dyslexia Therapist and Certified Academic Language Therapist who works in private-practice in Albuquerque, NM. As a dyslexia specialist and experienced educator, Erin has trained in a variety of researched-based programs and techniques related to structured literacy.
Erin serves as an instructor for the Multisensory Language Training of NM, where she works with dyslexia therapists in-training. She also provides dyslexia presentations and workshops to public and private schools, parent groups and other organizations. In addition to numerous other roles, Erin has served as the Chair of SWIDA’s annual conferences for several years, and is a frequent conference presenter.
Recording Secretary Amy Stanton, Santa Fe, began her career working in rehabilitation settings with children, teens and adults with mental health disorders. After eight years working in mental health, she earned a teaching certificate and became a first grade teacher. Today, Amy is a nationally certified multi-sensory language teacher through ALTA and IMSLEC, and she is certified in Montessori Applied to Children at Risk through Shelton School in Dallas. Amy is committed to helping children with learning differences experience education in a rewarding and meaningful way. She is a teacher at The May Center for Learning.
Corresponding Secretary Zoe Alvarez, Albuquerque,has been an educator for 23 years, teaching at the elementary and middle school levels in both Special Education and Co-Teaching positions. She is currently a Reading Resource teacher for Albuquerque Public Schools, providing professional development in the areas of Structured Literacy, Reading, and English language arts for both general and special education teachers. Among her accomplishments, Zoe is a Wilson Language Trainer and a Certified Wilson Language Therapist. She has presented at a number of conferences, including SWIDA, NICHD, and the Council for Learning Disabilities. Zoe is on the advisory board for New Mexico Highlands University, where she teaches graduate level reading courses through a partnership program between APS and NMHU.
Treasurer Cammie Archuleta, Las Cruces, graduated with a double major: a bachelor’s degree in Accountancy and a bachelor’s degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management from New Mexico State University (NMSU). While at NMSU, she was awarded the 2005 SWIDA college scholarship. For four years she worked for a public accounting firm auditing New Mexico state agencies before moving to Las Cruces where she is Finance Director of NM State University.
Board Representative: Amy Miller
Trish Aragon, Albuquerque, has a Masters in Special Education and a Masters in Speech-Language Pathology. She began her career initially as a special education teacher and then a general education teacher. Her interest in reading instruction, led her to return to school to complete a Masters in Speech-Language Pathology. Currently, she works full-time as a speech-language pathologist in the schools with the Central Regional Educational Cooperative. She is working on completing her hours in order to certify as an Academic Language Therapist. She’s a proven hard worker and well-organized. Trish joined Montine Gibbons as co-chair of the 2020 annual conference.
Sara (Sally) Blair, Arroyo Hondo,is a Certified Academic Language Therapist in the Taos, New Mexico, area. She received her BA in Sociology from Hanover College, Indiana. She completed her MA at New Mexico Highlands University. She then finalized her CALT training in 1999 and became a Certified Academic Language Therapist with ALTA (Academic Language Therapy Association) in 2000. She worked as a Special Education teacher for close to 25 years for the Taos Municipal Schools. After retiring, she now works part-time as a CALT therapist/tutor at the Taos Academy Charter School. She is a SWIDA (Southwest International Dyslexia Association) Board member, serving as the Scholarship Chairperson.
Antonio A. Fierro, EdD, El Paso is a former Texas State Teacher of the Year and currently a member of the national LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) cohort of literacy consultants led by Dr. Louisa Moats. He is also a visiting professor working with university and college professors throughout the state of Mississippi. Dr. Fierro has over 25 years of experience in the field of education and has contributed to several literacy curricula focusing on instruction for the English learner. He is a co-author of Kid Lips®, a curriculum that teaches the phonetics of our language to young children. His areas of interest include early childhood education, all aspects of phonology, and research that impacts students learning English as a second language. Dr. Fierro is dedicated to advancing the knowledge base and understanding of dyslexia and other reading disabilities as his teenage son, Antonio Jr., is dyslexic.
Montine Gibbons, Albuquerque is a Speech-Language Pathologist and Certified Academic Language Therapist in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has worked as an SLP in the Albuquerque Public Schools for 20 years and as a CALT, providing private dyslexia therapy, for 9 years. Prior to rejoining the Board in 2019, Montine served on the Advisory Council after 8 years on the SWIDA Board of Directors as Newsletter Chair, Technology Outreach Chair, Conference Committee Chair, Corresponding Secretary, Vice President and President.
Montine is the current Conference 2020 C0- Chair, a job she has held multiple times.
Mary Poirier Gilroy, San Cristobal, taught secondary level students with dyslexia for Taos Municipal Schools from 1989 through 2011. A nationally Certified Academic Language Therapist and Qualified Instructor through ALTA, she is the new director and continuing instructor with the Multisensory Language Training Institute of NM and maintains a small private practice. She served on the SWIDA Board from 1993-2004 in many capacities, including President from 2001-2003. Mary rejoined the Board in 2009. Currently she is the Technology Outreach Committee Co-Chair, the NEWSwida editor, and the Historian.
Alyssa Martinez, Taos, is the founder and CEO of A+ Educational Diagnostics. She is a licensed elementary teacher with specialization in Reading and Gifted Education, but she left the classroom six years ago to begin her career as an Educational Diagnostician. She completed a professional certification in Autism Spectrum Disorder through UC Davis and is a graduate of the UNM-CDD program Partners In Policymaking. Alyssa is happy to spend her days evaluating students who are struggling in school, gaining a better understanding of how their strengths and challenges impact their school day. Other important components include identifying what supports may be most beneficial to help them reach their full potential, consulting with families and school staff, and helping determine if a student is eligible for special education and related services according to federal and state guidelines. Many students are referred because of reading difficulties, with many not identified until middle or high school. As an educator and the mother of two daughters with dyslexia, Alyssa is a strong supporter of early identification and intervention for at-risk readers. In her down-time, Alyssa enjoys gardening, knitting baby hats, reading, and vacationing with family. She and her husband are preparing to soon become “empty nesters” – wow, time flies!
Amy Miller, Santa Fe, has taught English, reading, writing, theory of knowledge, and study skills on the elementary, middle, high school, and college levels for twenty years. Amy is a nationally Certified Academic Language Practitioner through the Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA) and is also a certified multi-sensory language teacher through the International Multi-Sensory Language Education Council (IMSLEC). She is a trainer for the SEE Multi-Sensory Language Teaching Program through Shelton School in Dallas. Amy is the Executive Director of The May Center for Learning. She has a deep understanding of the strengths and challenges of individuals with dyslexia.
Christy Quesada, Rio Rancho, is a District Curriculum and Instruction Coordinator in Rio Rancho Public Schools. She has seventeen years experience in education, including in the classroom. She has been an instructional coach for the last four years, with three of those years at the district level. Christy’s area of focus is K-5 Reading with an emphasis on foundational skills. She also supports K-12 Bilingual Multicultural Education Programs. She holds an MA in Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies from the University of New Mexico and a BA in Economics and International Studies from Texas A&M University. In addition, Christy is a Consortium on Reading Excellence (CORE) Literacy Trainer. She is passionate about providing professional learning to teachers so all students can have equitable and effective instruction in reading foundational skills.
Brian Schobel has over 20 years of experience working in the field of disability. He currently works for Albuquerque Public Schools, as a District Resource Teacher, for Special Education in School Based Transition Services. Before taking this position, Brian worked for UNM Center for Development and Disability in the Partners for Employment program, where he helped to build capacity statewide by providing training, technical assistance and other employment supports in the area of transition, from school to work. Prior to joining UNM, Brian was a Special Education Teacher in elementary, middle, and high schools and eventually became a Transition Teacher with APS, Community Based Transition Services. There he supported special education students after graduation requirements were met. In this setting, he helped students work on goals relating to their transition needs, such as employment skills, post-secondary education and independent living. His passion for working in the field of Special Education stems from his personal experience.
Mariann Skahan is the mother of two amazing daughters who present their dyslexia in very different ways. Mariann discovered the wonderful work of Academic Language Therapists and the advocacy of SWIDA while researching therapies for her oldest daughter. As a linguistic anthropologist whose work focuses on language socialization, revitalization, and literacies, she would like to bring her research experiences to help open the dialogue about dyslexia. Mariann has two decades of experience on national boards of Experiential Education and Anthropology and Education.
Tawnya Yates, Albuquerque, is a Certified Academic Language Therapist who attended the Multisensory Language Training Institute of NM after the enactment of HB 230, New Mexico’s “dyslexia law.” She has worked as a reading interventionist in the public schools, serving students with dyslexia in both general and special education settings. She has also supported teachers in observing students’ reading behaviors and analyzing assessments in order to determine instructional steps. Tawnya currently supports special education teachers, helping them understand the reading research of effective instruction for reading acquisition. Her goal is to influence teachers’ perceptions of students with dyslexia so that they see the potential within their students to comprehend and participate in lessons utilizing complex grade level text.
BOARD MEETINGS in 2020
Board meetings are held on Saturdays, usually at the SWIDA office, 3915 Carlisle NE. SWIDA members are welcome to attend these board meetings as observers. Call the SWIDA office (505-255-8234) if interested. Some of our hardest working Board Members were guests who came to volunteer their services.
- January 25
- Annual General Meeting at the Conference, February 21
- April 18
- August 22 (Zoom)
- September 26
- October 24
- December 5
- January 30, 2021
Would you like to be considered for a Board position in the future? If so, please CLICK HERE for a Nominee Information form.
The ballot for electing a new slate of Officers and Board Members will be mailed to all SWIDA members on November 1. The bio sketches below are of those nominees who are new to the Board. Those serving a second term are listed above.
Angelica Cuevas-Duran is a native New Mexican raised in Hatch, NM who is passionate about public education, dual-language education, and furthering the field of special education. She is a lifelong learner with a diverse background in public education.
Mrs. Cuevas-Duran has been employed with Rio Rancho Public Schools for fifteen years. She also supports charter schools and districts throughout the state with special education evaluations and professional development. Prior to becoming the Child Find Coordinator for Rio Rancho’s Special Services Department, she served as a Bilingual Educational Diagnostician, Bilingual Coordinator, and Classroom Teacher. Before coming to RRPS she was a bilingual teacher in Albuquerque, NM, and Houston, TX.
Mrs. Cuevas-Duran holds a Bachelor’s degree in General Education with a focus on Bilingual Education from the University of Houston along with a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from New Mexico Highlands University. Her Educational Diagnostician Licensure coursework was completed at the University of New Mexico. Mrs. Cuevas-Duran was awarded the First Year Teacher of the Year Golden Apple Award and most recently served on the team that developed the NM TEAM Identification of Dyslexia Supplemental Narrative and Worksheet for the New Mexico Public Education Department, Special Education Division. Her passion for appropriate identification of Dyslexia is rooted in a family history of Dyslexia and the many children with learning differences she served as a classroom teacher.
Nicole Florez, of Albuquerque, is the Director of the Peterson Learning Center at Manzano Day School. She has 19 years of experience in the elementary school setting, including many years teaching internationally in Spain and Argentina. Nicole holds a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a minor in Bilingual Education, both from UNM. She also holds a certificate in Educational Leadership from The College of New Jersey. Nicole specializes in reading instruction and literacy curriculum development and implementation. She works directly with students facing reading challenges, and supports teachers in developing their understanding of foundational literacy skills, instructional delivery methods, and data-informed lesson planning. Nicole is focused on providing students and families the tools and resources to help them along their personal reading journeys.
Nereida Antúnez Gamon, of Anthony, is a District Literacy Specialist for K-6 in the Gadsden Independent School District. She has been an educator for thirteen years supporting English learners as a lower grade classroom teacher and Instructional Coach. She earned her Bachelor’s (2007) and Master’s (2011) degrees in education from New Mexico State University specializing in Bilingual Education. She is National Board Certified (2013) in the content area of English as a New Language-Early/Middle Child. She is currently a member of the GISD National Board Network, which supports teachers seeking National Board Certification. She has co-presented at multiple conferences including La Cosecha and NMABE. After going through the LETRS Professional Learning in her district, Nereida has become an advocate for building teacher knowledge of the Science of Reading to provide students with quality instruction.
Crockett Neighbors, Roswell, is a dyslexia practitioner working in southeast New Mexico. She has taught students in Texas, Florida, and New Mexico in both general and special education settings. Currently, she owns a private tutoring company that provides services for students in southeast New Mexico. Crockett worked in the public schools in Texas where she learned about structured literacy and taught an Orton-Gillingham based program to her students. A few years (and a move) later, Crockett started privately tutoring to help out a few kids in Roswell, unaware of the alarming challenges that students with dyslexia in this area were faced with. Unbeknownst to her, she was one of the only known Certified Dyslexia Practitioners in the area and her business has proven to be a huge asset to the community and surrounding area. She got a wonderful opportunity this year to help open the brand-new Sidney Gutierrez Elementary Charter School and is the school’s Special Education Teacher. After a break from being in the classroom, she is ready for her dual role as business owner and teacher. Her goal is to raise awareness for dyslexia in her part of New Mexico, be an advocate for people with dyslexia, and erase preconceived notions about the disability. Crockett has been a dyslexia practitioner for ten years and a special education teacher for fifteen years.
Dr. Sunaina Shenoy, Albuquerque, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of New Mexico. She earned a Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of California, Berkeley and completed her postdoctoral work at the Florida Center for Reading Research at Florida State University. She teaches in the Educational Diagnosis Certificate Program at UNM, specializing in courses related to the assessment and identification of students with Specific Learning Disabilities and Dyslexia, and the identification of disabilities in students who are culturally and linguistically diverse.
Her research interests are primarily in the area of assessment and the early identification of reading disabilities in bilingual and multilingual populations. She is particularly interested in reading development and the identification of dyslexia in India. Her current research study focuses on the reading process across low-cost, middle-cost and high-cost schools; students following different curricula; and students from various socio-economic backgrounds within the Indian context. As a future research goal, she strives to develop and norm reading screeners and diagnostic tools that take into consideration the multilingual and multi-cultural background of students. She plans to provide teachers with progress-monitoring tools to keep track of their students’ reading development, and provide school psychologists with diagnostic tools, which will help them parse out language differences from learning disabilities in this context.
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