Jill van Nortwick joined the Governing Council in October 2017. She is currently the principal consultant for Curate Impact. Jill brings a unique perspective to the GC having worked in business, government, and the nonprofit world here and abroad. After completing her Masters in International Business, she has dedicated herself to helping boards and management teams identify and implement key cultural levers for ethical decision making.
Jill moved to New Mexico in 2004 after spending many years living in Australia and New Zealand. It was in New Zealand that she experienced a charter school with her two daughters as students. Jill has been involved in and with many different boards and is excited to support the mission of the school and ensure its ongoing success.
Louis is one of the parent members of Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School’s Governing Council. He and his wife Brenda have three sons and have been part of the Cottonwood family since 2011. Louis works at Sandia National Laboratories in the areas of Business and Organizational Development and has more than a decade of experience in higher education. Louis currently holds an adjunct faculty position with Lewis University where he teaches undergraduate, graduate, and online courses in Human Resources, Business and Organizational Leadership and Development. Louis has also served as board president and been an active member of several private school organizations.
Alexandria Tavarez, Secretary
Alexandria Tavarez is the newest member to the Governing Council. She was born and raised in Albuquerque and attended New Mexico State University to get her degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. Since graduating college in 2014, she has been working at the New Mexico Cancer Center Foundation, where they help adult cancer patients with their non-medical expenses. As of last May, she was promoted to Assistant Director and enjoys her career in the non-profit sector. She loves giving back to the adult community through the work she does at the cancer center and is excited for the opportunity to now give back to the future generation by serving on the Governing Council.
Andrew Bundy was brought on to the Cottonwood Classical Governing Council in the Spring of 2018. He is currently the manager of a data and analytics team for Presbyterian Health Plan, and has prior experience in the areas of Enterprise Risk Management, Strategic Planning, Compliance, and Government Consulting. He received his B.S. in Management Information Systems from Oklahoma State University, and his Masters in Business Administration from the University of New Mexico. Andrew’s current and prior roles have given him a solid foundation in how organizations operate and plan for the long term. His experience also has impressed upon him the need for data-driven decision making and how important it is to collaborate with others in order to achieve success. As a father of two elementary-aged children, Andrew is a firm believer that high-quality education for all students is critical to improving our community, and he is excited to bring this outlook to the Governing Council.
Rathi Casey, Member
Rathi was born in India, grew up in Hong Kong and moved to Albuquerque in 2014. She completed her degree in Architecture at Rice University in Houston, Texas. She has worked in Architecture offices around the world, including Hong Kong, Paris, New York and New Mexico. Rathi is Partner + CEO of UKUU Creative, a new design firm in Albuquerque. She has traveled to 20+ countries and is passionate about immersing herself in different cultures. She is fluent in English, Tamil and Mandarin Chinese. She also speaks French, Hindi and Cantonese Chinese. Rathi brings experience in architectural design, programming, planning, and construction. She also enjoys building strategic partnerships in the community. She has worked on the design and construction of school buildings across the state and is deeply committed to the continuous growth and improvement of educational institutions in New Mexico. Her international background makes her particularly driven to work with CCPS’s mission for children to be “internationally-minded lifelong learners who are inspired to improve themselves and shape a more peaceful world”
Susan LaBarge, Member
Susan joined the CCPS Governance Council in Feb. 2019. She is a recently retired Albuquerque Public School administrator. During her 26 year career she served as a high school teacher for 8 years, high school Assistant Principal for 2 years and a middle school Principal for 16 years. She brings a body of knowledge and expertise from her career in education in the following areas: prioritizing programs and curriculum development to serve a diverse student population, recruitment practices that support diversity and a successful transition to middle school, development of a culture focused on teamwork, trust and collaboration, responsibilities for all aspects of staffing and school personnel, preparation and fiscal management of a multi-million dollar budget, community relations and outreach, and served in various leadership roles within APS. In retirement Susan’s intention is to continue to serve in the education arena and support the continuous improvement of education to ensure that all students have the opportunity to reach their potential and become mindful individuals who are productive members of our global community.
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.” Martin Luther King Jr.
Wesley Burghardt, Treasurer
Wesley Burghardt was born and raised in Alamogordo, New Mexico. He graduated from New Mexico State University with his Masters of Accountancy degree in 2011. Wesley is an Audit Manager with KPMG LLP, where he focuses on real estate and federal audits. Wesley is also actively involved in instructing courses for KPMG employees as part of his role, including courses on effective use of data and analytics. Wesley received his CPA license from the state of New Mexico in 2013. Prior to moving to Albuquerque, Wesley worked for the College of Agriculture at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM, working closely with state funded programs. Wesley is excited for the opportunity to serve Cottonwood and to support to growth of our future leaders!
Connor Brashar, Member
Currently a programmatic developer and team lead at Sandia National Labs, Connor works to develop programs that can see unique and novel technologies come to fruition. He writes proposals for unique technologies and then interface with both internal and external groups to present and discuss funding potential, the expertise of the team we are forming, and help form the vision for the next five years of Sandia Labs’ navigation research focus. Connor was a member of the second graduating class of Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School, and the school’s first IB diploma graduate. He was a student during the pivotally constructive years of the school’s culture, the development of the school’s unique application of the Paideia method, and the first IB curriculum courses. Over the many years since leaving Cottonwood, he has returned numerous times— often in his capacity as first a college student and then a young professional—in hopes of providing his experiences on the value of a Cottonwood education (a liberal arts-focused education) in the context of the STEM fields. Connor cares deeply about CCPS's progress moving forward.