Meet the Electives Department
Mr. James DeGregorio
If given the chance, James DeGregorio would happily spend time in every coffee shop, reading poetry, and chatting with friendly faces about life’s beauties and curiosities. Currently, he’s entering his sixth year of teaching and is thrilled to be Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School’s 6th and 7th Grade Technology teacher! Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, his love of culture, music, art, and food led him to receive his Bachelor’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of New Mexico. There, he learned to appreciate and revel in the human condition in all its forms. He then traveled to Tempe, Arizona, where he began his teaching career supporting a variety of classrooms. Falling in love with those “a-ha” moments and the chills he felt when students succeeded, he pursued a Master’s in Elementary Education at Arizona State University. James went on to teach upper elementary before moving back to Albuquerque. Since moving, he has taught 7th Grade Language Arts and an elementary multi-age class. Outside of school, he loves putting on his favorite Beatles’ records, dancing with his son Luca and wife Lauren, and giving love to their princess baby Chamisa and sweet Teddy boy.
Mrs. LJ Johnson
Mrs. J wants to live in a world where her knees do not mash into the plane seat in front of her, where phones can eject a dark chocolate truffle on command, and everyone wants to keep learning until they die. Mrs. J worked in several industries for over 30 years. During these perambulations, she worked in a bookstore, where her addiction to all things printed was let free. After leaving the book industry, she went on to become a bank teller, then a paralegal, and then a consultant at one of the Big 6 accounting firms (where she made a bajillion dollars and had no life), then a coder, then a telephone tech support specialist. In each of these industries, she was drawn to the training part of her job. Finally, she decided to pursue teaching. She attended the alternative teaching license program at CNM. Her first job was teaching technology at Grant Middle School, a member of the APS district. Over the summer of 2020, she was casually browsing her email, when a job opening appeared for teaching technology at Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School. After beating about 6 million candidates, LJ was awarded the job. An avid tool gal, LJ does the renovations on her house by herself. She is a past potter, past downhill ski racer, and is a huge board game enthusiast. If you ever catch her standing still, you just might win a prize!
Alexandrea Gowan, 6th, 7th, and 10th Grade Visual Arts Teacher
Alexandrea Gowan recieved her bachelors degree in fine art and a minor in psychology from the University of New Mexico. Alexandrea specializes in painting and drawing and shows her work around the country though gallery events and traveling shows. Alexandrea teaches a semester long course of sixth grade intro to art and a seventh grade art appreciation. She also teaches a year long Drawing class for ninth and tenth graders.
Samantha Hawley, IB Visual Arts Teacher
Samantha Hawley is a proud New Mexican living, teaching, and making art in her hometown of Albuquerque. Hawley is currently celebrating her 9th year at CCPS as the 11th and 12th grade IB DP Visual Arts instructor. Her goal as a teacher is to provide a space where students can express themselves, problem solve, and develop a life-long appreciation for the arts. Check out the IB Visual Arts Exhibitions from the past few years here.
RJ Perez, Music Teacher
Mrs. Catharine Jones, Middle School Performing Arts Teacher
Catharine Jones is an award winning filmmaker and professional actor. She received her Bachelor’s of Arts in Acting and minor in Dance from the University of Northern Colorado. After making her Off-Broadway debut in New York, she shifted her focus to film directing and acting in New Mexico. Catharine enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience in the performing arts classes she teaches in the middle school. Outside school, her favorite pastime is to adventure outdoors alongside her husband, the author, Adam James Jones, her son Augustus, and dogs Tobey and Odin.
Ms. Lina Ramos, IB Theater and Performing Arts Teacher
Ms. Lina Ramos a native New Mexican is an arts educator, director, conductor, opera singer and performer. Ms. Ramos has served as an educator for over 30 years, where she has had such remarkable teaching experiences in locations such as the inner city schools of Washington D.C. to rural schools in New Mexico. In service to the community, Ms. Ramos feels fortunate to have conducted and directed over 30 shows for the musical theatre community, various churches and schools. Ms. Ramos also has served as Music Director and has been on the board of the New Mexico High School Musical Theatre Awards since 2015. Also, currently Ms. Ramos serves on the Bernalillo County Arts board and represents District 3. Ms. Ramos also continues to teach the performing arts such as drama, choir and voice in numerous settings, such as her recent work with the Santa Fe Opera Alto Program. As a performer and singer Ms. Ramos continues to perform all genres of singing as her recent appearance as Dona Rosa in Opera Southwest’s production of Il Postino and in various jazz concerts. Ms. Ramos currently teaches theatre, choir and IB Theatre at Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School and thoroughly enjoys working with the amazing CCPS students. Ms. Ramos is also of Cuban heritage and loves to dance salsa and other passions include cooking and songwriting.
Mr. Brian DeMone, Middle School Physical Education
Brian DeMone has been teaching Physical Education (PE) for 9 years (5 primary, 4 secondary), and loves to have fun in class with his students. He is the 7th grade PE teacher for the fall semester, and the 6th grade PE teacher in the spring. This will allow students to have a full year of PE (but with summer break in between). He centers his curriculum around cooperative learning, communication, and teamwork. The goal is for students to use these skills and work together to meet or reach a common goal. Students receive both traditional exercise and activity/sport play time in this environment.
Bryan Cutler, Middle School Physical Education
Bryan Cutler is a new teacher at Cottonwood Classical but not new to sports. He has his Master’s in Sports Administration and Exercise Science. He also ran track for the University of New Mexico where he ran the 400m and 200m races.