Exceptional Student Services
Mission and Vision
The mission of Exceptional Student Services at NACA is to engage students, educators, families, and community in a culturally supportive and holistic manner to prepare exceptional learners to thrive as empowered, healthy, well-rounded, responsible adult members of their communities. Our vision is of a thriving and dynamic community where well-informed, insightful students, parents and community members and skilled, knowledgeable, compassionate and accountable educators come together, creating a place for exceptional learners to grow and excel both academically and personally.
- To focus on personal experiences, special aptitudes and limitations alike in preparing exceptional learners for future success.
- To ensure students learn the necessary skills to thrive in and outside the school setting.
- To educate and empower parents and families to communicate their needs to teachers and administrators, and to effectively support their children’s learning.
- To coordinate with regular education teachers to provide a culturally relevant education that meets the diverse needs of exceptional learners and provides each student a valid and respected role within the learning community.
- To engage the expertise and compassion of the school community in building a network of supportive relationships around each exceptional learner.
Special Education Director, Bill Nichols [email protected]
Mr. Nichols oversees identification and support of exceptional learners. He came to the Southwest as a student of Diné language and culture and spent several years as deputy director of Northwestern University's Ethnographic Field School. He earned his Bachelor of Science in anthropology at Northern Kentucky University, his Master of Arts in Teaching at Western New Mexico University, and has spent most of his 23 years in education in the Gallup area, where he taught for seven years at a reservation high school, then worked three years as an IEP facilitator and thirteen as a special education program coordinator. His areas of expertise are data and culturally relevant instruction.
Special Education Teacher, Celeste Naranjo [email protected]
Ms. Naranjo comes from the Pueblo of Cochiti and has taught second grade at NACA for the past seven years. She is in her seventeenth year of teaching and is currently in the Leading Educators through Alternative Pathways (LEAP) licensure program. Ms. Naranjo aims to value students and their cultural identity, traditions, and what they bring to their learning space. Out of the classroom, Ms. Naranjo loves spending time with her family and is highly engaged with her Pueblos traditional activities.
Special Education Teacher, Danilynn Romero [email protected]
Ms. Romero is from the pueblos of San Felipe and Taos. She earned her associate's degree in early childhood education at the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute and a Dual License Bachelors in Elementary and Special Education at the University of New Mexico. Ms. Romero has worked in Early Childhood Education for over 10 years. She strives to promote culturally responsive and diverse learning practices for students with disabilities. As an educator, she believes it is important that we become aware of our personal biases, and cultural differences, considering how our own culture is intertwined with the cultural diversity of students and their families. Her work is to provide a strong foundation for developing cultural responsiveness and inclusiveness for families and students with disabilities. In her free time, Ms. Romero enjoys spending time with loved ones, participating in her community and managing her small business.
Special Education Teacher/Diagnostician, Lisa Keck [email protected]
Ms. Keck has worked in public education supporting children and youth in Special Education for over 20 years. She has her undergraduate degree and teaching licenses in elementary education and special education. She received her master's degree in Educational Thought and Sociocultural Studies from UNM. She is also a licensed Educational Diagnostician. When she is not at NACA, she is out exploring and appreciating the beauty of New Mexico and beyond with her friends and family.
Ms. John serves as Special Education School Social Worker for kindergarten through 8th grade. She is Haudenosaunee, a member the Oneida Nation, and also Tewa. Her goal as a Social Worker is to provide social and emotional services that encourage important skill building and healing, while fostering students' connection to their own cultural practices and beliefs. Over the past year, she has collaborated with the Land Based Healing and Learning team to build on the goal of Indigenizing, decolonizing, and localizing social work services in special education. She looks forward to building more strong relationships with students and their families so we can support their learning together.
Special Education Teacher, Carol Beare [email protected]
Ms. Beare teaches language arts at high school, both in the resource environment and as an inclusion support teacher. She has more than 30 years of teaching experience and holds a Master of Arts in Secondary and Multi-Cultural Education, and English as a Second Language from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. Ms. Beare is patient and compassionate and celebrates the accomplishments of every learner.
Math Teacher, Clem Wings w[email protected]
Clem Wings provides inclusion support for math at high school. She has been teaching math at NACA since 2010. She loves math, particularly problem solving, and she loves NACA’s commitment to the students and the community. She appreciates the relentless reflection and willingness to grow and change on the part of the NACA community, and is thrilled to be part of the continuous quest to figure out how best to indigenize education and support our students as they become academically prepared, secure in their identity and healthy.
School Psychologist, Bonnie Stetson [email protected]
Dr. Stetson is a school psychologist who provides social-emotional support services to special education students at the high school level. Her education includes a master's degree in counseling and a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. She worked with adolescents and adults in private practice before moving into school psychology in 2007. Since that time she has worked primarily with Native youth on three Pueblos (Acoma, Isleta, and Tsiya) as well as at NACA for over 8 years. Her approach to working with students is to provide a safe, accepting, and positive place for them to explore social, emotional, behavioral and psychological issues that are affecting their ability to succeed in school. Dr. Stetson is committed to helping all of our students graduate and find meaningful lives beyond high school. She communicates with families frequently and can help find outside resources when needed. She has a strong bond with NACA and with the children and families we serve as a community school grounded in Native values. Dr. Stetson is always available by phone or text to students and their families (505-463-4434).
NACA Special Education Processes and Accountability