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Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences

Contact Us

5912 Jaguar Drive
Santa Fe, NM 87507

Phone (505) 438-8585

Fax (505) 438-0080


Teachers / Staff List

Amy Anderson

Amy is the assistant teacher in the Preschool/Pre-K Unicorn classroom. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Minnesota State University Moorehead. She is also a licensed practicing massage therapist. Amy has spent the last two years as a substitute teacher in the Santa Fe Public Schools, and has worked with children throughout her life in many capacities – from teaching swimming lessons to accompanying inner-city kids from Seattle into the wilderness. She loves the creativity and beauty of the unfolding of a child’s mind during the learning process. Amy is happy when she is outside tending her garden or being in nature. She and her husband have one daughter.

Andrew Lescht

Andrew is in his second year as our 3rd/4th grade teacher.  Andrew has been teaching third and fourth grades in Colorado, including Tollgate Elementary School, an EL Education school. Last year, Andrew and his wife moved from Colorado where they lived for almost two decades.  He has a B.A. in Anthropology from State University of New York Plattsburgh, and for many years he split his seasons between working as an archaeologist and a ski instructor.  His passion for teaching led him back to school to obtain an MA in Elementary Education from the University of Northern Colorado.  His classroom experience includes teaching in an international school in Ecuador and Tollgate Elementary in Aurora, Colorado.  In his free time he enjoys reading, hiking, travel, music, and skiing.

Arin Dineen

Arin is in her 5th year teaching at Arts & Sciences as Middle School Visual Arts teacher, and her 4th year as our Moving Images teacher. An alumna of the very first graduating class of Arts & Sciences (Class of 2005), she graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in Studio Art. She is a painter whose work is represented by the Ellsworth Gallery in Santa Fe and is in private collections in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Kansas, Arizona, Arkansas, and New Mexico.  Arin will also be teaching after school classes at SFSAS and helping aspiring art students with their portfolios.

Aurora Hvidsten

Aurora is in her 8th year at Arts & Sciences. She is the Co-Teacher for the preschool and pre-k students in the Unicorn classroom. She received her BA in Literature and Feminist Studies from the University of California Santa Cruz in 2008 and her MS in Early Childhood Education with an endorsement in Dual Language Learning at the Erikson Institute of Chicago in 2015. Aurora enjoys integrating her love for stories and yoga into the classroom and looks forward to another rich year of using the Reggio Emilia approach to collaborate with children and families as we explore learning together. Aurora is an active member of the Collaborative Teachers Institute, a Birth 2 Career collaborative working group at the Santa Fe Community Foundation. She also is a lead instructor for our after school Reading Is Magic tutoring program.

Austin Stockwell

Austin is the Arts & Sciences after school instructor for grades 5-8. He is also a teacher's assistant four days a week with the Unicorn class, and this year will be leading a drumming/rhythm club for grades 2-5. Austin is a Santa Fe native who grew up along the beautiful coastline of central California. After earning a bachelor's degree in International Relations from the University of Puget Sound, he gravitated towards the field of youth development, gaining experience working as a supplemental education instructor with at risk elementary and middle school students in south Seattle. After spending a year working as a program developer for an after school organisation in Auckland, New Zealand, Austin joined the Arts & Sciences community in 2016. As an avid musician (drums/guitar) and artist (collage), with a passion for sports, the outdoors, and traveling, Austin draws from a wide range of interests and experience in his approach to connecting with young people. Guided by a belief that all children deserve the help and support of conscientious, caring adults, he strives to be a positive, motivating role model for the kids he works with, helping them to achieve their goals, discover their talents, and realise their full potential.

Carina Estrada

Carina is an Office Assistant at SFSAS. She is a Miami, Florida native who has lived in Santa Fe since 2010. Carina studied Visual Communication and graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami. She also works as a massage therapist at Ten Thousand Waves as well as running a media business that offers photography and video services. Carina enjoys traveling, learning and hiking. She is happy to be part of the Arts and Sciences team.

Chintan Kess

Chintan has more than 25 years teaching experience and is the 1st and 2nd grade Lead Teacher in the Stargazer Room. Chintan is also the Summer Camp Director at SFSAS. She began her teaching career as a preschool teacher and is committed to bringing early childhood best practice to her primary students, offering them a curriculum rich in inquiry, play and the arts. She has been teaching at SFSAS since 2001 and holds an A.A. in Early Childhood Multicultural Education from Santa Fe Community College, a B.A. in Early Childhood Education from New Mexico Highlands University and a M.Ed. in Integrated Teaching through the Arts from Lesley University. She is licensed to teach in New Mexico with a Level Three-A Instructional Leader B-3 Early Childhood License.

Eddy Segura

This is Eddy’s 11th year teaching at Arts & Sciences as our K-8 Physical Education teacher and Facilities Director. For the past four years, Eddy has also been the Lead Coordinator for the 8th grade service trip to Costa Rica.  Eddy received his BA in Physical Education at the Universidad Nacional in Costa Rica. He has 14 years of experience teaching P.E. and coaching soccer in schools in Costa Rica and coaches soccer at Academy for Technology and the Classics in Santa Fe, where he previously taught P.E.  He is the father of an Arts & Sciences 8th grader and an alumna (Class of 2015).

Elli Hindmarch

Elli is the School Administrator. She has a B.B.A. in Management from New Mexico Highlands University and fourteen years of administrative and financial experience. She also enjoys teaching and performing in swing, blues and tango dance in Santa Fe with the Dance Station and other locations. Some families may remember Elli’s parents, Willy & Phil, who helped start Arts & Sciences and taught at the school, and her sister Lucia, who was in our first graduating class.

Fred Gross

Fred serves as the school’s information technology coordinator and has 35 years of experience in software design and programming, database administration, systems administration, network design and operations and computer security. He retired from New Mexico State government in 2004 after 25 years of service and has been owner of a private IT consulting company since. His client list includes both high school and graduate college clients. Fred has a Masters from New Mexico State University. A New Mexico resident for nearly his entire life, he's made Santa Fe his home since 1979.

Gary Fulreader

This is Gary’s ninth year teaching math in our Middle School. He is also continuing his work as the coordinator for the eighth-grade Mentorship program. Gary has been instrumental in helping to develop our Middle School algebra program and has been inspiring students to both enjoy and master the subject. Gary received his BA in Business Administration from Principia College and did his post-graduate studies in Environmental Education from Antioch University. Gary has been teaching and tutoring math for over 20 years in Santa Fe and has created an online Algebra 1 course for home-school students. He has many years of experience working with children and adults with special needs and also offers math tutoring, and manages our coffeehouse events.

Geetha Holdsworth

Geetha is the 7th & 8th grade History teacher and Middle School Director. An educator with more than 28 years’ experience in independent and public schools in New York, Florida, and New Mexico, she has served as Middle School English Teacher, Assistant Principal, and the Interim Principal here at Arts & Sciences. Geetha is working on her Doctorate in Education at Northeastern University and has a Master’s Degree in Eastern Classics from St. John’s College. She also completed graduate coursework at the College of Santa Fe in Educational Leadership. Geetha also earned her B.S in Studio Art/Art Education from New York University. She has worked in administrations and faculties of Central New Mexico Community College, Bosque School, Poughkeepsie Day School and Little Red Schoolhouse/Elisabeth Irwin High School. She and her husband Amos are the parents of an SFSAS alumna Indira (2014) and Devi.

Gina Kinstle

In her 5th year at SFSAS, Gina is our Program Assistant.  In addition to coordinating many details of student and school activities. Gina is the graphic designer for our school's yearbook and many of our expedition products.  After living in New York City (Brooklyn) for 8 years, working in the fashion industry as a handbag designer, the great big blue and cloudy skies finally called her back to Santa Fe. As a creative person with experience in the hospitality industry, Gina happily brings attention to detail and thoughtfulness to the complex task of keeping the wheels in the office running smoothly.  Gina's daughter is a 3rd grade Centaur.

Joseph Smith

Joseph is in his 3rd year at SFSAS. He teaches Middle School English/Language Arts, as well as Pre-algebra. Joseph also teaches our Wednesday after school Homework Club for 5th-8th graders. Born and raised in Santa Fe, he earned his BA in English from UNM in 2004. He previously taught as a Special Education Teacher, with a focus on Gifted Education, and most recently was the Education Coordinator at Santa Fe YouthWorks. Joseph has also tutored students in the Santa Fe area for many years. He is the proud father of 3rd grade Centaur, Cruz, and 2nd grade Stargazer, Lea.

Julie Trujillo

Julie teaches after school voice lessons at Arts & Sciences. Julie is a Graduate of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC. She has performed in many shows, including "Cabaret", "Evita", "Wicked" and 2 one woman shows. In 2005 she appeared in the Santa Fe Opera's production of "Turandot", and in 2011 she was the featured performer for a benefit for Popejoy Hall. She can be seen singing at many venues in Santa Fe on a weekly basis. Julie has loved teaching private voice for over 10 years, and is very excited to be part of the Arts & Sciences team.

Lani Ersfeld

In her 5th year at Arts & Sciences, Lani is our Elementary and Middle School Spanish Teacher and 3rd-5th grade Afterschool Teacher. Lani is from Portland, OR where she attended Lewis & Clark College, majoring in Hispanic Studies and English. During her studies, Lani lived in the Dominican Republic and in Chile, where she realized her love of the Spanish language and various cultures, and her desire to teach it to others. She earned her Master of Arts in Teaching at Lewis & Clark Graduate School with an emphasis in ESOL. She holds licenses in both New Mexico and Oregon for Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education.  Lani is instrumental in organizing and planning our 8th grade International Trip to Costa Rica in the Spring. She looks forward to continuing to teach and share the Spanish language with our students and community!

Latifa Hamami

Latifa Hamami grew up in Abiquiu, Santa Fe and Scandinavia where she later earned her degree in Pedagogy. She has specialized training and skills to serve children and youth with special needs. Her professional experience in Pedagogy stretches from infants to seniors, including work in childhood trauma, as well as language and linguistics within culturally diverse youth groups. Despite her broad experience, Latifa’s main focus has always been with younger children, working both in schools and with families in their homes. Latifa is the mother of three young boys, with whom she enjoys creating projects and having adventures. She additionally spends time exploring photography, art and the outdoors.

Since Latifa was a young child, she knew Pedagogy and teaching would be her field of work. It is her true passion to guide and support children in becoming compassionate and competent individuals, and believes adults also have much to learn from them. She admires their ability to live in the moment and make every experience a learning one. It is her great joy to be around children; she feels something magical happens when you step into a child’s world.

Lisa Marie Stuart

Lisa will be returning to teach Cello and Guitar this year, focusing on classical, folk, rock, and improvisation. Lisa has been playing and performing music since the age of 8. Throughout the years she has studied and performed classical violin, guitar and her primary focus, the cello. The spirit and magic of the cello comes alive in her very capable hands. In addition to being classically trained, she is also a talented improvisationalist. Lisa is fluent in folk, classical, and rock guitar and spent many years performing as a lead guitarist. She has spent most of her musical career performing cello, violin, and guitar with a variety of folk, rock, trance, and world music groups in California, Colorado, and New Mexico.

Liza Stanton Hitt

This is Liza’s 8th year teaching at Arts & Sciences and her 5th year as lead teacher in the “Grasshopper” Kindergarten class.She is a graduate from the College of Santa Fe, with a BA in Elementary Education with a TESOL endorsement. Liza is committed to creating a developmentally appropriate early childhood classroom, which instills a love of learning within our little ones. This is accomplished through an environment that nurtures wonder, discovery, exploration and learning through play. Liza’s three daughters attend Arts & Sciences in the Middle School, Badger Class and Stargazer Class. Liza is looking forward to another year in the Grasshopper class!

Magdalena Karlick

Magdalena is in her 5th school year at SFSAS as the School Counselor. She spends time with students in the classroom facilitating experiential directives which include mindfulness, art, and self-reflection. She has a B.A. from NYU in Community Learning and Development and a M.A. in Art Therapy and Counseling from Southwestern College. Magdalena has many years of experience working with children and families therapeutically at Youth Shelters in Santa Fe, in the public schools in Santa Fe and Pecos, as well as in New York City. She has been trained in Somatic Experiencing, Sandplay, Psychodrama, and uses Art, Sandplay, body awareness, and a relational focus in therapeutic interactions. Magdalena is an independently licensed Art Therapist and Counselor, and a certified Sandplay practitioner. She also teaches at Southwestern College in the Art Therapy and Counseling programs and is the assistant art director for Creativity for Peace.

Mary Proue

Mary Proue is a camp teacher for our Discovery Summer Camp. She is in her sixth year as part of the SFSAS staff and has worked with children in preschool through middle school. Mary graduated from UNM in 2013, after which she went on to work as an assistant teacher in grades 1st through 4th at SFSAS. She also has assisted here in various theater productions and has taught in summer camps at SFSAS every summer since 2013 in various camps, including jewelry making, theater, crazy concoctions, spy camp, and many more! Mary has been a third grade teacher for four years, which is her passion and profession during the school year. 

Matthew Burke-Newsum

This is Matt's 15th year teaching our 5th-6th grade Badger class. Matt has a BS in Environmental Biology and Resource Management from UC Davis and has teaching certifications in all subjects from San Francisco State University with endorsements in Math and Science. Prior to teaching in Santa Fe, Matt worked for several years in the business world before deciding to become an educator. He then student taught for two years in Mountain View, CA, coached middle school basketball and helped run the Farm and Wilderness camp programs at Hidden Villa. Matt loves spending his free time in the mountains and in the ocean with his family. Matt's daughter is a 3rd grade Centaur.

Nathan Moore

This is Nate’s 10th year at Arts & Sciences. Nate is a core teacher in the Middle School and teaches science, algebra, and STEM electives. In addition to his teaching duties, Nate will be the Middle School Coordinator, spearheading organization of many Middle School activities, such as 100 Elk. A fluent Spanish speaker, Nate has also been a lead teacher during the 8th grade service trip to Costa Rica. Nate received a BA from Oberlin College in Environmental Studies, Hispanic Studies, and Latin American Studies and a Master's degree in Science Teaching at New Mexico Tech. He also has his New Mexico Teaching License with a Secondary Science certification. In 2009 he was a fellow in the New Science Teacher Academy. He taught a Master Class at EL Education's 2015 National Conference in San Diego and at the MidSchoolMath National Conference in 2016. Nate also teaches popular summer camps, including Coding and Hiking. He has taught Spanish in Oberlin's SITES program, worked at the Big Sky Summer Camp, and volunteered at Escola Bosque in Brazil.

Perli Cunanan

Perli Cunanan is starting her 8th school year as the Arts & Sciences Executive Director. Perli has worked as a volunteer and a development professional in the nonprofit sector for more than 25 years, including positions as Development Officer of Con Alma Health Foundation, Vice President of Development at United Way of Santa Fe County and Development Director at Youth Shelters. Before joining the Arts & Sciences staff, she served on the school's Board of Directors. She co-chairs The Reading Group, a Birth to Career Collaborative Working Group at the Santa Fe Community Foundation, focused on supporting striving readers in Santa Fe.  Perli is proud mom to 7th grader Isa and alum, Tom (Class of 2018).

Ronny Beeman

This is Ronny's second year at Arts & Sciences. She is our K-6th grade Art teacher and the 3rd/4th grade Assistant teacher. Previously she served in a variety of roles at Tacoma Waldorf School in Washington, including program director of after care, 5th grade lead teacher, and art teacher in the early elementary grades. Ronny received her Waldorf teaching certificate at Sound Circle Center in Seattle. Before moving up to the North West, she was a fine art teacher at Mission Renaissance in Southern California. Ronny enjoys spending time with family, painting impish fairies or old broken down Fords, and tampering with cross fit. She is currently enrolled at the Santa Fe Community College to complete her teaching degree.

Satara Bixby

Satara is the Director of Admissions and Advancement. Satara brings over 20 years of experience working in various capacities with local and international non-profit organizations, including organizational oversight, board development, administrative management, translation services and fundraising. She served for 4 years as Secretary on the Arts & Sciences Board of Directors, and is now in her third year overseeing admissions. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and a certificate in Language Arts, and has taught in Kindergarten through 6th grade classrooms at several schools in Santa Fe. Since 2007 she has been an active parent in the Arts & Sciences community. Satara has lived in Santa Fe since 1995 with her husband Tai Bixby, a local Realtor at Keller Williams Realty. She has three children who have thrived at Arts & Sciences, including a current 3rd grader, as well as two alumni who are now at Santa Fe High School.

Stephanie Smith

Stephanie is the aftercare teacher for our youngest age group, coordinator for the school's aftercare program and assistant teacher in the Unicorn classroom. Stephanie spent the first half of her life in California, soaking in the farmlands, mountains and beaches of that state in all their minutia. Stephanie has worked with young children for over 25 years, both in California and in northern New Mexico where she has been living for 20 years. She studied early childhood education at Cabrillo College in Aptos, CA, though she has learned largely through her experience in education. Co-founder and director of Dragonfly School in Santa Fe for ten years prior to joining Arts & Sciences, Stephanie holds the National Administrators' Credential for directors of preschool programs.  Her expertise includes facilitating compassionate communication, dynamic curriculum planning, implementing dramatic storytelling in the classroom and teaching early literacy skills.Stephanie believes that young children learn best when their own ideas are given the space to flourish within a responsive, creative environment with adults who provide clear and consistent boundaries. When not at school, Stephanie is likely to be found tracking bugs and fostering plant life in her garden, attending a live music event or practicing her roller skate skills.

Suzanne Maheshi Shakespeare

This is Suzanne's 16th year at SFSAS. She is the Lead Teacher for the Preschool/Pre-K Unicorn class and Director of Early Childhood. Suzanne has been teaching young children in Santa Fe for 16 years. Before coming to SFSAS, Suzanne worked as an art teacher at the Art and Clay Studio, Children's Adventure Company, Desert Montessori, and as the art teacher/after school coordinator at Monte Vista Montessori in Santa Fe. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Pasadena Art Center College of Design in CA, and has a Level Two Professional Teaching License in Early Childhood from the State of NM. Suzanne was a recipient of a Fund for Teachers grant in 2011, which enabled her to attend an International summer study in Reggio Emilia, Italy, and is an active member of the Santa Fe Opera's Early Childhood Initiative and the Collaborative Teachers Institute.

Teresa Puia

Teresa Puia has been working at SFSAS summer camp since 2018. She moved to Santa Fe in August 2017 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to pursue her M.A. in Mental Health Counseling and Art Therapy, with a focus on Children’s Mental Health, at Southwestern College. She completed her B.A. at Flagler College in both Elementary and Exceptional Student Education with endorsements in Reading and English as a second language. She began teaching in 2011 as a special education teacher and has experience teaching in a wide range of settings serving grades PreK-12. In addition to working at SFSAS, Teresa also works in the northern New Mexico community as an art instructor for ARTsmart as well as a tutor for the May Center. She is passionate about working with children and teenagers in any capacity that promotes connection to Earth, creativity, self-awareness, community service, and overall growth. When she is not working or doing homework, she enjoys creating her own artwork and exploring all of the beauty the Southwest has to offer!

Todd Stiewing

In his 13th year at Arts & Sciences, Todd serves as our Principal and Leadership teacher.  For eleven years, Todd taught our 3rd and 4th grade Centaur class and has served in a variety of leadership positions, including Assistant Principal, Elementary Curriculum Coordinator, Staff Liaison to the Board; lead member of the Campus as Curriculum Committee; and Summer Director of Facilities. Todd received a B.S. in Elementary Education and a Master’s in Education from the University of Connecticut. He has 15 years of teaching experience both in the classroom and working with children and adults in outdoor experiential settings. Before moving to New Mexico in 2004, Todd taught 4th grade and Pre-K through 5th elementary science in Maryland. He is utilizing his science experience this year as the K-2nd science teacher. Todd has many years experience leading wilderness and experiential education courses at the Santa Fe Mountain Center and the Deer Lake Wilderness School, and has shared his outdoor experience by running several hiking and backpacking camps in the summer.  Todd's daughter is a 3rd grade student and his son is in preschool.

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