FOUNDER AND PRINCIPAL
Kara Bobroff is Navajo/Lakota and was raised in Albuquerque. She began her educational career teaching behaviorally disordered middle school students in Albuquerque. She served as Assistant Principal in APS at a low-income urban school for two years and for four years at a “Distinguished School” in Marin County, CA. As principal of Newcomb Middle School in 2003-2004, Kara worked with 250 Navajo students and seven different reservation communities in New Mexico. When she became Principal in 2003, Newcomb Middle School was recognized for its academic achievement by the local school board.
Kara was recently identified as one of the “Best Emerging Social Entrepreneurs” in the country and awarded a national Echoing Green Fellowship to establish NACA as one of the first urban academies to support language, culture, health and college preparation for youth. Through her work, NACA has been selected as the first “Collaborative Charter” in the state of New Mexico by the Albuquerque Public School District.
Kara received her Master’s in Special Education and an Ed.S in Educational Administration as a Danforth Scholar from the University of New Mexico. As a graduate of Albuquerque Public Schools and UNM, Kara has used her professional training and experience in public education to develop thoughtful curricula, rigorous academic standards and real partnerships with parents and communities. Her role models represent a long line of educators such as her family, colleagues and gifted mentors. She hopes that NACA can provide students with what great teachers and mentors have provided her along the way.
Head of School
Anpao Duta Flying Earth He is from the Standing Rock Lakota, White Earth Ojibwe, and Akimel O’odham. Duta grew up on the Standing Rock reservation in South Dakota in a household that strongly advocated education. He graduated from Cornell University with a BA in Government and joined NACA to assist in opening the charter school in 2006. He has served as an outreach and community programs coordinator and has also begun to teach Lakota Language and Culture classes at NACA. Duta, a singer of traditional Lakota songs and contemporary powwow songs, has long been a learner of Lakota language and has participated in language revitalization efforts that his grandmother, Patricia Locke, advocated for and developed. Duta is interested in further developing indigenous language revitalization efforts through learning and sharing with other indigenous communities. In his spare time, Duta enjoys singing, doing quillwork, and playing basketball.
Faculty and Staff
Jessica Becenti –College Engagement- Is Navajo from Twin Lakes New Mexico. She earned her B.A Native American Studies- Minor in Navajo Language and Linguistic at the University of New Mexico. She began working at NACA in 2013. She has taught Junior and Senior Seminar. She is grateful to be apart of the NACA community and to be apart of a growing school that has shown so much support for students, their families as well as the staff.
Emily Beenan- Advanced Placement Literature- Emily is originally from chilly northern town of Sheboygan, WI. She received her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1996 and her Teaching Certificate from the University of New Mexico in 2006. Her passion for reading and writing made teaching an obvious profession, however, she also is a freelance food writer because really, who wouldn’t want to get paid to eat? Finally, yoga is the glue that holds her life as a teacher, mother, daughter, wife, writer, sister and runner together.
Candice Begay- Special Education Support/LangLive Teacher- Originally from Texas, I have lived in Albuquerque most of my life. I am half Thai and half Irish. I received my Bachelors in Secondary Education with an emphasis in History and Language Arts from the University of New Mexico. I have been teaching the Reading Intervention program at NACA since 2014 and enjoy being a part of a community that allows students and staff to take pride in their identity by supporting the integration of culture and community into the classroom. When I am not teaching I enjoy spending time with my husband and our three kids, being active, and supporting them in their athletics.
Thorn Begay–Personal Wellness Teacher- Thorn Begay has 7 years of experience teaching PE, has coached a number of boys’ and girls’ sports, and is adept at teaching students to work well in teams and to consider how positive collaboration in PE class can lend itself to success in other settings. We are excited about what he will be bringing to NACA’s Personal Wellness Team!
Jovita Belgarde–Suicide Preventionist- Started at NACA in 2014 and is Ohkay Owingeh and Isleta Pueblo and Turtle Mountain Chippewa She has her Bachelor of Arts in Criminology with Minor in Native American Studies st the University of New Mexico. I love working at NACA and having the opportunity to work for a community led initiative that makes programs that represent what the NACA community wants and needs. She is the youngest of 4 brothers and 1 sister.
Micha Bitsinnie-High School Indigenous History–Micha is Dine and earned her degree from the University of New Mexico and double majored in English and Native American Studies. She began work at NACA in September 2013. She states that, “Community and relationships resonate with me the most. NACA is such a wonderful space to be in, the students, the parents, the teachers and staff, and the land that surrounds us are all working towards getting our future generations healthy in all aspects of life. We ground ourselves in love and gratitude so that our students know they are precious and can make a difference as they walk into the world.” She lives with her husband and 2 children and one more on the way.
Sarah Caldwell-7th Grade Native Lit- I appreciate NACA’s determination to help students develop both their identities and academic skills in deep and meaningful ways that are connected to their communities and cultures. As a Native Literature teacher, I feel that this is incredibly motivating for my students and opens up unique opportunities for them to do authentic, engaging work. I would like to start the NACA Literary Magazine and enjoy hiking, reading, listening to and playing music, and hanging out with my husband and daughter. B.A. in Anthropology and Ethnicity, Race, and Migration from Yale University; M.Ed. in Language and Literacy from Harvard Graduate School of Education
Mikki Carroll-Dean of Students–originally from Shiprock, New Mexico and is from the Dine` Tribe. She has her BA degree in Education (K-8) with a TESOL endorsement. In addition, she holds licensure as a Cosmetologist, Barber, and AAS degree in Cosmetology Instruction, and has her own business that she operates in the evenings and on weekends. With these degrees she has gained insightful knowledge in various content areas of Science, Language Arts, Native Literature, Personal Wellness, and Social Studies which supports the global perspectives among our students while maintaining cultural values in the classroom. Her love for running started the running programs here at NACA, where she is the NACA Cross Country Coach and one of the NACA Track and Field Coaches.
Chuck Nathaniel Charleston-Navajo Government– He calls Sweetwater, Arizona his home and his family comes from the Dine’ and Crow Nations. Chuck has worked with NACA since the summer start up of 2006 and currently co-teaches 9th grade Dine’ Government with Mary Whitehair. In previous years Chuck has worked with the administration team as the “go to person” or “Jedi in training”. Chuck enjoys exploring the traditional elements with the students and the history behind the development of the modern Dine’ government system today.
Luke Cordova-NACA Rock– Was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mr. Cordova attended the University of New Mexico, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in education, as well as a Master’s in secondary education. Mr. Cordova currently teaches eighth grade language arts and also teaches the NACA Rock program, which is a music program that focuses on the instruments used in Rock and Roll rather than traditional band instruments. His interests outside of school include playing in local bands, woodworking, and taking care of his family.
Shannon Douma-Director of the Out of School Time Learning Program-A member of the Pueblo of Laguna and Hopi/Tewa, she has worked with youth since high school in her own tribal community. In her professional career, she has worked for over 15 years designing youth programs statewide and nationally in the areas of youth leadership, substance abuse and violence prevention. She holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees from the University of Minnesota -Twin Cities in Family Education and Youth Development.
Shirley Edmondson-Reading Intervention teacher/Special Education-I’m originally from New Jersey, and bring 26 years of experience as a Reading / Literacy Specialist and Instructional Coach to NACA. I have taught mid and high school Reading in Santa Fe, Los Alamos , Magdalena, and look forward to teach- ing at NACA. I am an avid writer, reader, poet, and traveler. My personal belief is that literacy is the key to the world, and a book can be the door to adventure!
Bronson Elliott-College Engagement Director–Bronson earned a B.A. from Eckerd College, M.A. from UNM and has been working at NACA since the Summer 2012. She stated, “The NACA Core Value of respect really resonates with me because I believe that to connect with someone, one must honor that person’s values. Respect is the first step in having a good working relationship with anyone – students, parents, other teachers, community members, even yourself.” Her hobbies include reading, hiking, playing guitar and singing in her band, traveling, and salsa dancing. She lives with her husband, Carl. and is honored to be a part of such a supportive and wonderful community.
Stephanie Hinson-6th/7th Grade Math– Stephanie was raised in Albuquerque, and received both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from UNM. Stephanie has been teaching middle school math for more than 18 years. For two years Stephanie worked as a district math coach with teachers on math curriculum and teaching strategies. Her true passion – working directly with students – led her back to the classroom. During her time off Stephanie enjoys being with her family, especially her daughter, and enjoys reading, movies and baking.
Tia Hobgood-Indigenous Art/Prevention Program- (Cherokee) I believe the most important contribution to student’s growth into strong, healthy Native leaders is achieved through teaching students how to integrate all of our Core Values into their daily lives. Through practice and application they deepen knowledge and connections to their culture (s), and identity and learn how to empower themselves and others to become strong, resilient Native leaders. My hobbies include: all art, beading, sewing, singing, hiking, swimming, and fishing. I have a Daughter, Son, Sisters and NACA Family. My daughter graduated from NACA in 2013 and their support
Azella Humetewa-Operations Coordinator– Azella is from the Pueblos of Santo Domingo and Acoma here in New Mexico and is a graduate of the University of New Mexico. She is a level 2 licensed teacher and has been working at NACA for 9 years teaching in the classroom as well as serving in other roles. She is the 8th Grade Washington, D.C. Leadership Coordinator and has taken several students to our nation’s capital to visit with leaders and provide them an opportunity to take on a leadership role.
Howard Humetewa-Athletic Director/Hiyupo Boys Group Coordinator-I am currently in the process of working on my Secondary Education degree in Math and PE at UNM. I began working at NACA in 2014, but have been part of this community for years. I’ve helped my wife with numerous school events and wanted to be a part of this school for a long time. I believe the core values of respect and responsibility are essential for our students to demonstrate, as they go out into the world. I work with the Hiyupo group which involves mentorship and modeling positive behavior. My hobbies include music, sports and football. I have a son who attending college and a son who attends NACA. I am proud of them all.
Arlyn John- is from the Navajo Nation. He is a graduate of the University of New Mexico. Arlyn has worked in the field of Experiential Education for six years. He is working to make the Native American cosmology the foundation of his current Experiential Education curriculum. The intent is to reconnect students and specific Native American teachings with the natural world in order to develop a sense of environmental stewardship, sustainability, and overall care and concern for the Earth.
Joshua Krause-NISN Director of Professional Development and Curriculum and Instruction–Josh works with NISN Fellows and school teams to develop professional development plans, provide technical assistance in Curricular Design and Assessment, and trains teachers to develop academically excellent and culturally relevant curriculum. Josh also served as lead instructor of Central New Mexico Community College’s(CNM) Alternative License Program and Growing Educators for Native American Communities (GENAC). He was a 2014 Emerging Leader with the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and a Presidential Fellow for Curriculum Development at CNM. Josh earned a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Assessment from Fordham University and a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He is currently working toward a Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies (LLSS) at the University of New Mexico.
Stacy Lesley–8th Grade Math Teacher–I attended University of New Mexico and received my Bachelor’s Degree in Education. I decided early in my college life that I wanted to help people and knew that education was the best fit for me. I have two children. My daughter is in 6th grade and her name is Aspen Jade. My son is in 8th grade and his name is Pierce. We love to be outside camping, hiking, or fishing. I am honored to be at Native American Community Academy and look forward to teaching 8th grade Math.
Charlene Lucero-6th/7th Grade Science– Charlene is from Isleta, New Mexico. Ms. Lucero received her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology before pursuing her Master’s in Education at the University of New Mexico. She currently teaches middle school science at NACA, where she is excited to be a part of students’ educational path and learning. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, visiting relatives, and participating in cultural activities.
Dorothy Matsumura-7th Grade Native Literature–She was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is the granddaughter of historian and author Joe S. Sando. Dorothy graduated from UNM with a Masters in Secondary Education and is currently teaching 7th grade Native Literature and coaching for the New Mexico Hydrogen Fuels Challenge.
Kathrine Page-Pre-AP Native Literature–In 2013, Katherine Page began teaching at NACA. Born and raised in the Albuquerque, she earned her Bachelor’s in English from the University of New Mexico and her Masters of Fine Arts in Poetry from University of Maryland. Perservernce is her favorite core value. She loves reading and writing! As a writer and published poet, she spends her time perfecting her craft and working on the NACA Literary Magazine with her fellow Native Literature teachers and many talented students. Yoga is another huge passion in her life; she teaches and practices at Hot Yoga Downtown. If she’s not on her yoga mat, teaching, reading or writing, you can find her with her husband, daughter and their two dogs.
Alexandra Paisano-Pathways Navigator- Alex is from Laguna and Ohkay Owingeh Pueblos and began working at NACA in 2015. He has a Double Bachelors in Criminology and Psychology from UNM. She stated, “What resonates with me most is that our school has a focus on health and community service. We don’t just want our kids to grow up and go off and make a lot of money and forget where they came from. We want them to grow and be happy and healthy members of the community who are capable of empowering themselves and others to make their communities better for future generations to come.” Her hobbies include being outdoors, camping, and fishing and also being creative. She likes to decorate cakes, cupcakes, and cookies, draw and paint. However the thing she loves most is to read.
Tylar Rodriguez-7th/8th Grade Science–Ya’at’eeh! My name is Tylar Rodriguez. For the last three years, I have been coaching and teaching in Navajo, NM spending two years at the middle school and the last year at the high school teaching biology, chemistry and Earth Science. I am Yaqui and Mexican and am a transplant from the great city of Chicago. I received my undergraduate in Geology and Environmental Science from Miami University and my Masters in Education from University of New Mexico. I have always loved science and sports and have coached all sports.
Robert Salazar-High School Science– Rob is Spanish, Mexican, English, German who began working at NACA in 2014. He received a degree in BS Chemical Engineering at Cornell University, and earned his MA Teaching-Secondary degree at Western New Mexico University. He facilitates the Computer Programming Club and is invested in the holistic approach that we take with our students’ education. His hobbies include: Outdoors; Technology; Strategic Gaming; Education
Leroy Silva-Junior/Senior Dean– He is from the Laguna Pueblo Nation in New Mexico. He received his Associates and Bachelor’s degrees from Haskell Indian-Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas. While at Haskell, he played on the men’s basketball team and was the strength and conditioning coach for the women’s volleyball team. Mr. Silva has been teaching Personal Wellness since NACA’s opening day in 2006. With a back ground in sports and fitness, Silva uses his experiences to create a unique curriculum for the students at NACA. “Healthy Minds and Bodies, create Healthy Communities.”
Pamela Silva-Special Education Coordinator– Pam is from Los Lunas, New Mexico. After pursuing a career in dental hygiene, she became a teacher through the University of New Mexico teacher certification program. Ms. Silva is currently serving as NACA’s Special Education Coordinator. Outside of NACA, she enjoys spending time with her family.
Nasheen Sleuth-Student Support Services- Nasheen is from the Navajo Nation, specifically Nashitti, NM. She has a Master’s of Science in Counseling and Addition Studies, and is a NM Licensed Mental Health Counselor. She began work at NACA: 2007-2009 as an AmeriCorp Vista. She returned to NACA in 2013 as the Pathways Navigator. In 2014, she became NACA’s Mental Health Counselor. She is the Natural Helpers group facilitator, and Psycho-Education for 6th-7th grade. Her hobbies include visiting art exhibits, weight training , fitness competitor and fashion editorial modeling. She is a proud mother to a 5 year old daughter.
Melissa Wauneka-Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Gifted and Talented Program Coordinator and Test Coordinator-She is also a part time faculty member in the Central New Mexico Community College Alternative Teaching Licensure Program. She is a National Board Certified Level 3 teacher with eight years of classroom experience in secondary math, science, and reading. Missy has also worked in the field of educational consulting with the New Mexico organization Advanced Program Initiative, where she helped organize trainings for Advanced Placement Teachers, provided professional development leading up Common Core implementation, and helped facilitate the writing process for the New Mexico Public Education Department’s Bridge Assessment Framework documents.
Mary Whitehair-Frazier-Navajo Language– Mary is Dine from Kitsillie, Arizona. Mary received her B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and minor in Native American Studies University of New Mexico and is in Graduate Studies in the Department of Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies. Mary teaches Navajo language and Dine Government at NACA.
Clemency Wings-11th/12th Grade Math–She loves math. She especially loves finding ways to convince students that they are capable problem solvers. Her fundamental belief is that “life is a word problem” and she specializes in helping students develop strategies that will serve them in all aspects of their lives. She is thrilled to be working with a team of teachers here at NACA who share her value that supporting the students as whole human beings is our job. She has a Bachelor of Science in math and an M.A. in education, both from California State University, and holds a Level 3 secondary license in New Mexico with endorsements in Mathematics, TESOL and Bilingual Education.