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Governing Council Members



Dr. Barbara Medina- President

Dr. Barbara M. Medina is currently the Governing Council President at Christine Duncan Heritage Academy.  She has served K-12 students and educators throughout her career. She holds a doctorate in Educational Policy from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

From her first position as an educator serving students in a rural migrant summer program to her leadership at the Colorado Department of Education as Assistant Commissioner, she has been actively involved at the district, state and national levels in the areas of language and literacy for diverse populations, cultural and linguistic diversity, qualitative research methods, and school reform.

Grounded in K-12 practice, Dr. Medina began her career as a social studies classroom teacher and served as Coordinator of Secondary Second Language Programs in Boulder Valley Schools. As Professor and Chair of the Department of Teacher Education at Adams State University, Alamosa, Colorado, she accessed federal grants to serve rural districts through graduate programs in Literacy, Special Education, and English Language Development. In 2006, Dr. Medina was appointed as Director of the Office of Language, Culture, and Equity at the Colorado Department of Education.

Dr. Medina’s most recent administrative position was as Director of English Language Acquisition, Denver Public Schools. Dr. Medina worked to re-negotiate the modified consent decree with the Office of Civil Rights. In the spring of 2013, Dr. Medina began work as an Educational Consultant. Her consulting is known as 3milagrosconsulting, appointed as an adjunct faculty she has worked with the University of Denver, University of Colorado at Boulder, Regis University, Aurora Public Schools, DELTA schools a charter school incubator firm. Beginning in 2013 to the present, she consults with IMEC, the Interstate Migrant Education Council, on issues and policy development for Migrant students on several projects including reauthorization of ESEA and “Promising Practices in Migrant Education”. She is also currently affiliated with MPI, (Migration Policy Institute, Washington DC) as an MPI Associate on migration policy issues, the education of immigrant and refugee students, teacher professional development for students learning English as a second Language.

Dr. Medina has served on several boards, including CASE (Colorado Association of School Executives and Education Specialists), Diversity and CAES, CABE (Colorado Association of Bilingual Education). Dr. Medina recently completed two terms on the City of Denver’s Denver Human Rights Council, Appointed by Denver Mayor’s Hickenlooper and Hancock to the Latino Commission.



Mr. Ben Maes- Member

Maj. Army National Guard (retired)

Over 30 years of experience in financial and credit management including both consumer credit and business to business credit with background is in Business Administration, Community Relations, and Leadership

  • Board member Public Charter Schools of New Mexico (NMPCSNM) Where he provides the board with the perspective of a charter school governing board member, as he has served as the President of the Governing Council of Christine Duncan Heritage Academy since 2014
  • Member of the Governing Council, Christine Duncan’s  and  Academy since 2014 and former Governing Council President

    Many years of experience and service of community involvement including 
  • Current member and past President of St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church finance councilAnd member of St Vincent de Paul Society
  • Member of the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce and past chairman of the Small Business Committee and Business Development Committee
  • Past Board of Director of the Abq West Chamber of Commerce
  • Active member of the New Mexico Hispanic Heritage Committee


Ms. Roxana De La Torre - Secretary

Ms. Roxana De La Torre is a highly dedicated and conscientious bilingual Community Outreach Worker who has six years experience working with the community.   She is diligent with ability to develop strong connections with a targeted population to maximize outreach and services. She is also highly capable of interacting with people from all walks of life, including interacting professionally with culturally and educationally diverse staff and clients. She is currently working for UNMHSC, Centro Savila, Project Tertulias since July 2020.  She is an active volunteer in many organizations/non-profits such as Juntos, Accesos, Partnership for Community Action to name a few.  She is also a proud parent of a student attending Christine Duncan Heritage Academy.



Degrees and Certifications:

Mrs. Vilma Alejandra Alvarez - Member

Mrs. Vilma Alejandra Ruiz is a parent at Christine Duncan's Heritage Academy.  She is also a former employee and wants to make a difference in our community by supporting the school's Governing Council.  She is bilingual and strongly believes all children deserve such a wonderful opportunity of being biilngual.  She has over 10 years of customer service experience and is currently working for the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions.



Dr. Edward Monaghan-Vice President

Dr. Edward Monaghan is a retired educator and administrator and provides educational consulting services through West Mesa Educational Consulting.  He received a Doctorate in Education from New Mexico State University, a Masters in Education Administration from Rhode Island College and a Bachelor's in Elementary Education.  He has served in different capacities in many organizations, including the United States Department of Education Program Evaluation/Senior Staff, President of GMCS Elementary Principals Association, New Mexico Secretary of Education Assessment and Accountability Council, United States Department of Education National Indian Study Technical Review Panel, and a board member for Frieds of Sierra Leone.  He brings experience in the areas of Public Education, Strategic Planning, Policy Development, Accounting and Finance, and New Mexico Public Education Law.  He would like to use his skill set to continue supporting underserved children in New Mexico.  He wants to continue making a difference in the lives of children.


Mrs. Elma Garcia- Member

Elma Garcia is a well-known faculty member at Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), with over 15 years of experience and a strong dedication to early childhood education and expertise in multicultural instruction. She has made a significant impact in the field, particularly in bilingual and Spanish instruction.

Within CNM's Early Childhood Multicultural Education program, Elma plays a crucial role in guiding teachers to effectively engage and support Spanish-speaking children and their families. By bridging the gap between home and school, she promotes cultural inclusivity and bilingualism, fostering stronger connections among families and early education.

One of Elma's notable achievements is the pioneering of CNM's Bilingual-Spanish Program. Collaborating with colleagues, she designed and implemented this groundbreaking initiative in 2009, championing bilingualism and advocating for culturally responsive teaching strategies. The program continues to thrive today, positively impacting students' lives and supporting early childhood education in New Mexico.

Elma's deep dedication to early childhood education, extensive knowledge in multicultural instruction, and commitment to embracing diversity make her an invaluable member of CNM's faculty. Her influence extends to shaping the next generation of educators, instilling in them the values of inclusivity, cultural sensitivity, and nurturing every child's unique potential.

She was approved to be a Governing Council Member at Christine Duncan Heritage Academy in March 2024.  She hopes to support the school’s strong efforts in the implementation of the Dual Language Program, and specifically in Early Childhood Education.  She feels her personal and professional experience will be an asset to the school and the community it serves.

Mrs. Silvia Fraire-Niño- Treasurer