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Administration » Administration & Staff

Administration & Staff

Our administration team is as follows:
 

Robert took the helm of Monte del Sol as Head Learner / Principal in 2015 after joining the Monte del Sol Faculty in 2009 to teach Spanish following ten years teaching Latin American politics and serving as chair of Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies at the College of Santa Fe. Robert earned his Ph.D from Northwestern University studying relations between Tarahumara Indians in Mexico and their Mestizo neighbors. Robert has a mother from Spain on one side and a grandfather from Denmark on the other, and a wife from Chihuahua. His son graduated from Monte in 2018. 

arjessen@montedelsol.org

Raised in Santa Fe, NM and having spent the majority of her life in the American Southwest, Zoë has a positive connection to the region. In 2000 she received a B.A. in Sociology from Fort Lewis College, an M.A. in Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies from The University of New Mexico in 2006, and is a Ph.D. student at Prescott College, in Sustainability Education and Leadership. Her research explores what one specific interest group (mothers), deems as significant learning for youth today and examines how schools today can meet these needs. Zoë holds a New Mexico Level II Secondary Teacher’s License with endorsements in Social Studies, Physical Education, and TESOL. She completed her Educational Administration Internship at Monte del Sol during the 2017-2018 school year and earned her certification in March of 2018. Zoë enjoys walking her dogs, listening to audiobooks, preparing fresh foods, gardening, telemark skiing, bike riding, kayaking, swimming, and ceramics.

znelsen@montedelsol.org

 
This is Alfredo Celedón Luján's 45th year as an educator.   He was elected Vice President of the National Council of Teachers of English in Spring 2018.  In a four-year cycle, he will become President-Elect, then President, then Past President.  He is the first person from New Mexico to serve in this distinguished position! He has been a teacher and coach for the Pojoaque Valley Schools and the Native American Prep School.  He has also coached volleyball and basketball at Santa Fe Prep School.  He has been a teacher of English, basketball coach, volleyball coach, and Athletic Coordinator at Monte del Sol. Alfredo is a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, a Golden Apple Fellow, and in 2017 has been named the recipient of the Leadership Award for the Advancement of People of Color by the National Council of Teachers of English.  He has been a writer-in-residence for the Anchorage and Mat-Su School Districts in Alaska and at the Noepe Center for Literary Arts at Martha’s Vineyard.  He is a graduate of New Mexico State University with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and English, the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College (MA English), and is currently working on a Master of Letters Degree.  He enjoys hiking, writing, and camp fires.  He is the proud father of Amanda (teaches at UNM), Mabel (attends Goucher College), and Peter (Monte del Sol class of 2019), and he is colleague Amy Schroth’s partner in life.

alujan@montedelsol.org

Bio coming soon!
mcerquera@montedelsol.org

Desirae joins us both as the Office Manager and is a mother of two students here at Monte del Sol.  Originally from Arizona, Desirae has had over 15 years experience in several positions managing an office. These include Christus St. Vincent Hospital, as Executive Assistant for Vice Presidents and Assistant to the President of the hospital; Office Assistant for a private Santa Fe elementary school, and assisting in several of her family's business ventures.  Desirae has three children and comes from a large family, in which she is third of nine children.  She enjoys camping, family outings, and attending as much live music as possible.
Giselle Piburn was born and raised in Hollywood, California to Argentine parents that immigrated to the US. She is the director of the Mentorship program at Monte - an innovative education program in New Mexico - which has completed over 2800 mentorships over its 17-year history. She is a graduate of UCLA and spent a year at the Art Academy in Venice, Italy. She enjoys speaking Spanish and Italian. She started teaching in 2001 and ran an experiential learning program at Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo in collaboration with UNM for 12 years. Inspired by her students and the generosity of mentors in Santa Fe, Giselle is excited to come to work every day.

Esteban was born and raised in Modesto, California- the heart of the Central Valley, Agriculture, and the Cesar Chavez Movement.  His parents are from Michoacan Mexico, and worked as migrant farm workers in the 80's. Esteban is first-generation to the United States, and fluent in both English and Spanish. He possesses an MBA in Finance from California State University Stanislaus and has worked in different business capacities for over 15 years. Esteban enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 boys. His hobbies include playing bass guitar, good eateries, and traveling with the family.

Mary Ellen is a founding faculty member and parent of a Monte del Sol Graduate.  She developed our Special Services Department, which she has directed for fifteen years.  Mary Ellen came to us highly recommended from Santa Fe Community College and prior to that worked in the Central Square School district in Upstate New York. She holds a BS Ed in Special Education from the University of Idaho and is well versed in special education law, theory, and practice, and in how special services should be implemented in schools to ensure success for all students.   

Daniel Rock has been involved with education, in various forms, for over ten years. He graduated from Unity College in Maine in 2001, with a Bachelor's degree in Parks and Recreation Management, worked as a Backcountry Ranger at White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire, a Trail Builder for the National Parks Service in Colorado and Maine, and for city and state parks in Oregon. The seasonal park jobs led to a career transition. He began teaching adaptive winter sports for the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Colorado, and spent six seasons with this organization, as a Special Olympics Coach, one-on-one Instructor and Coordinator for a weekly Saturday program.  This experience sparked his passion for working with people with exceptionalities.  He moved to New Mexico in 2013, where he spent a year teaching life and work skills to adjudicated youth at Youth Shelters and Family Services. He received his teaching certificates in Science and Special Education, from Santa Fe Community College and taught Science and Special Education for three years with Santa Fe Public Schools before coming to Monte del Sol in 2017. 

Will RushingWill Rushing joined the faculty in 2016 and has taught numerous subjects in the humanities department over the years. He currently teaches U.S. Government and AP World History and serves as the Instructional Coordinator, focusing on professional development, project-based learning implementation, data analysis and general administrative support. He received a Bachelor’s degree in History from Long Beach State University and a Master’s degree in Early Adolescent Education from Bank Street College of Education. He worked briefly in the advertising industry in the 1990’s before realizing that he had a calling in education. He was a middle school English and History teacher in New York City for ten years prior to moving to Santa Fe in 2012. In addition to his duties at Monte, Will is also an independent consultant who works with a dual language school in Albuquerque to develop a project-based learning model for their middle school. He lives with his wife, daughter and dog near Santa Fe. When not working, he enjoys traveling, hiking, reading, nerding out on Star Wars and watching Tottenham Hotspur play football. 

Cate came to Monte del Sol in 2015, after her youngest daughter completed Middle School at Monte.  She taught American Literature at Penn State University, Texas Tech University, and the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and was a visual and performing arts public relations consultant for many years. 

In 2016, with the help of the Foundation for Monte del Sol, Cate founded the Monte del Sol Casa Program for students and their families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.  She serves as the Head Learner's assistant and administers the Casa Program.  Cate loves her job and is grateful to be able to serve Monte!

Cate received a BA in English and Creative Writing from UNM, and an MA and Ph.D. in English Literature from Penn State University.  Her paintings and photographs have been exhibited in public art spaces and galleries for two decades.  In 2018 she was a summer resident artist at Rud AIR in Laxarby, Sweden.  Click on her photo to see her artwork.  Cate likes to be out in the mountains and moonshadows, on foot, skis, or mountain bike.   She has three fabulous daughters and three very bad cats.