About Our Team

SWIFT represents a coming together of three prominent community school organizations in New Mexico: Communities In Schools in northern New Mexico, NEA New Mexico’s Center for Community Schools in southern New Mexico, and ABC Community School Partnership in central New Mexico.

Renee Paisano-Trujillo — Director
Angelo J. Gonzales, Ph.D. — Executive Director, Board Member

Executive Director

Angelo J. Gonzales, Ph.D. — Executive Director, Board Member

Angelo J. Gonzales, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Board Member

Angelo Gonzales, Ph.D., has spent much of his career working at the intersection of education, government, and non-profit organizations, bringing data, research, and community voice to bear on many of New Mexico’s most pressing social and educational opportunities. Currently, he serves as Executive Director of the Southwest Institute For Transformational Community Schools, also known as SWIFT Community Schools. In this role, he works to build systems of support and enabling policies that allow community schools to realize their full potential as a school transformation strategy.

Previously, Dr. Gonzales served as Managing Director and, later, Interim Deputy Secretary for School Transformation and Innovation at the New Mexico Public Education Department. As a member of the agency’s Executive Cabinet, he was responsible for agency strategy; research, evaluation, and accountability; information technology; extended learning and community schools; priority schools; college and career readiness; and options for parents and families/charter schools.

His prior experience includes nearly seven years working for U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman in his Washington and Albuquerque offices; two years as Associate Director and Research Assistant Professor of the University of New Mexico (UNM) Center for Education Policy Research (now known as the Cradle to Career Policy Institute); and over seven years leading community-based social change on behalf of United Way of Central New Mexico and its collective impact partnerships, Mission: Graduate and Mission: Families. Dr. Gonzales has also taught graduate classes in the UNM College of Education’s Educational Leadership Program, as well as the UNM Anderson School of Management’s MBA in Educational Leadership Program.

Born and raised in New Mexico, Dr. Gonzales is a proud graduate of Del Norte High School, where he currently serves on the school’s Community School Council. He also holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. in Chemistry from Pomona College. Currently, Dr. Gonzales is serving a two-year term as a Children and Family Fellow with the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Our Board of Directors

Mary Parr-Sanchez
Michelle Katz
Patricia Jiménez-Latham
Yolanda Montoya-Cordova


Mary Parr-Sanchez is the President of NEA-New Mexico, and she has served in Executive Leadership in NEA-NM for over 10 years. She taught middle school history, civics, and geography for 25 years where she learned firsthand the power of Community based curriculum.  Mary has been a constant advocate for students, families and staff in Las Cruces and across the state and was a longtime leader in NEA-Las Cruces where she championed local control of school communities. She led the movement for Community Schools in Las Cruces and is now working to support the statewide expansion of Community Schools at the state level, serving as Co-chair to the NM Coalition for Community Schools.

Michelle grew up in Ohio, but has lived across many western states in her professional and personal pursuits. With a deep-rooted value in education, Michelle is a lifelong learner who earned an MA in Counseling and holds several certifications including life coaching, yoga instruction, rites of passage guiding and eco-psychology. During her career, she has developed and coordinated various programs for teen and adult learners. She was a therapist at various agencies, before she began leading initiatives for programs that meld mental health and education into daily practices, including training school staff on positive behavior interventions and supports, and providing consultation on trauma informed care implementation. She believes the success of every student/human has its foundation in meaningful relationship. She is excited to be the Interim Executive Director for Communities in Schools New Mexico and to serve on the SWIFT Board!

Patricia has 39 years of experience in K-20 education settings and the non-profit sector. Patricia’s years of experience have centered on ensuring equity and access to high quality education experiences for diverse student populations and the educators who welcome them into their classrooms. 

Patricia was the former director of the Center for the Education and Study of Diverse Populations at New Mexico Highlands University where she served in various roles for over 18 years. She continues to be part of the New Mexico Highlands School of Education family as an Alternative Certification Teaching Program Field Supervisor. Patricia served as project manager for Transform Education New Mexico, a grassroots non-profit organization created by advocates across the state to ensure implementation of the landmark lawsuit, Martinez/Yazzie vs. the State of New Mexico (2018).

Yolanda Montoya-Cordova is a lifelong resident of the South Valley Community in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of New Mexico and a Master Degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. Ms. Montoya-Cordova currently serves as President for the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education. She worked for the State of New Mexico as a Deputy Secretary for the Department of Workforce Solutions and Director of School Health for the Department of Health. Ms. Montoya-Cordova has led the implementation and development of several projects statewide including the expansion of school-based health centers, community schools, youth suicide prevention, youth engagement and leadership, and advocacy training for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Ms. Montoya-Cordova specializes in public policy and administration and has taught at the post-secondary level with Highlands University and El Paso Community College.


Danette Townsend
Paula Oxoby-Hayett
Channell Segura

Danette joined the ABC Community School Partnership as Executive Director in April 2018. ABC is a unique cross-sector, joint powers agreement between Bernalillo County, Albuquerque Public Schools, and the City of Albuquerque. The partnership also includes the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Central New Mexico, the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque Teachers Federation, and NM Department of Workforce Solutions. Danette served as an ABC board member from 2006-2012 and staff member from 2012-2015. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the New Mexico Coalition for Community Schools and has over 25 years of experience in the areas of out of school time, positive youth development, youth prevention and intervention, and community school development. Danette has a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice, a Master's degree in Counseling and is a Certified Dare To Lead™ Trainer. Danette has also owned and operated a New Mexico-based business since 2002.

Paula was born and raised in Argentina and moved to Taos in 2007. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Mar del Plata, Argentina and her Masters in Social Sciences from the University of Tandil, Argentina.

Paula is the Community School Coordinator for Enos Garcia Elementary School in Taos, NM and she is very excited to be part of this great initiative in her community. Recently, Paula joined the National Education Association as a Community Schools Coach to offer support to other Community Schools coordinators across the nation.

In her work with Children’s Trust Fund, Paula coordinated the “Taos Loves Kids” program, which provides parenting classes and support for parents and caregivers with children 0-5 in an attempt to reduce abuse and neglect in children. Paula loves teaching; she facilitated classes for Children’s Trust Fund for five years. She enjoyed connecting with families, supporting them and letting them know that they are not alone in the parenting journey! Paula is a certified instructor of Love and Logic, Nurturing Parenting, Circle of Security, Emotional Intelligence (EQ-Practitioner) and Infant Massage. She received her Infant Mental Health endorsement category 1 in 2018.

Serving as project manager with i2i institute, an evaluation firm in Northern NM, Paula discovered another passion: designing and administering evaluation. She has developed a respect for evaluation and the importance of collecting data as a way to assess impact in order to improve services.

Paula is passionate about supporting families to grow and thrive. When not working, she loves spending time with her family, baking, hiking and making crafts together.

Dr. Channell Segura recently joined the Albuquerque Public Schools Executive Leadership Team as the Chief of Schools. For the past two years, she was the Superintendent at the Truth or Consequences Municipal School District where she worked to maintain on-going support to ensure a safe learning environment with high academic expectations of teaching and learning for all students and staff during a global pandemic and shutdown. She facilitated the District’s transition to a balanced calendar; worked with her legislators on policy; wrote the applications and budgets for ESSER I, II, and III federal grants; implemented multiple upgrades to district technology and safety and security; and collaborated with her School Board to research, support, and guide the district to achieve its strategic goals. She also worked for 15 years in the Santa Fe Public School District, which included teaching high school English Language Arts and the AVID Elective, and leading as a high school Principal and Assistant Superintendent of School and Instructional Support.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and dance; a Master of Arts in Secondary Education; an Educational Specialist Certificate; and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership, all from the University of New Mexico. She is very familiar with the cultural, political, economic, and social fabric of New Mexico and has great experience in working with pre-K-12 school district stakeholders and community partners. She is passionate about critical pedagogy, discourse surrounding educational theory and leadership, problem-solving and collaboration with her colleagues, utilizing data to inform our micro and macro decisions, and advocacy for all students and families regardless of their life circumstances.

As a teacher, she received the “Teacher Who Inspires” Award from the school district, and as a principal, she received the “Excellence in Student Achievement” Award from her district. She believes that together we can accelerate the positive outcomes that we expect of ALL our students through intention, focus, and care.

Consultants & Affiliated Partners

Timothy Hand

Timothy W. Hand, Ph.D.

Founder, Ocotillo Strategies
Ocotillo Strategies was founded to serve as an intermediary strategic partner to connect education policy to practice and practice to policy in New Mexico. Ocotillo Strategies believes that by amplifying community-connected, innovative practice and weaving the vast cultural, linguistic, and financial resources in the state with lived experience of those closest to the impact of policy and practice, New Mexicans can nourish the education ecosystem and continuously improve upon the student experience of learning. Student success happens one meaningful conversation at a time, and we aim to cultivate these conversations to strategically improve education outcomes in New Mexico.
Deanna photo

Deanna Creighton Cook

ABC Community School Partnership
For the past 7 years, Deanna has worked as a Special Projects Coordinator for ABC Community School Partnership in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She holds a Master's degree in Educational Leadership from the University of New Mexico and a Master of Studies in Law degree from the UNM School of Law. Deanna was the Community School Coordinator for 5 years at Manzano Mesa Elementary, where she worked alongside the principal, families, and community partners to integrate the community school framework and strategies into the school’s plan for continuous improvement. Some of the programs started at Manzano Mesa, such as Homework Diner, Community Academic Mentoring, and the Preschool Parent Coop, have spread throughout the ABC network of community schools and even across the country. In her current role, Deanna designs the professional development of community school coordinators who are implementing the community school framework, builds system-wide partnerships, and works with the ABC team to create supportive community school policies and practices.

Andrew Montoya

National Education Association - New Mexico
As a born and raised New Mexican, classroom educator, community, state, and national organizer, consultant, and director, Andrew’s professional experience has been fueled by his drive to advance education justice through a participatory approach with transformational outcomes. From his experiences as a first generation college graduate, to raising two children in the Mesilla Valley and enrolling them in public school, his passion for public education is evident in his personal journey as well. “Students are why we do what we do, and ensuring their educational journey prepares them to become architects of their own future is the north star which guides me to help navigate our collective voyage to transform education for all of New Mexico’s children.” As the Director of the National Education Association of New Mexico’s Center for Community Schools, Andrew looks forward to weaving together opportunities in support of planning, implementation, and sustainability as well as expanding our statewide movement for Community Schools from the grassroots to the grasstops.