Cottonwood Classical Preparatory SchoolTuition Free, 6 - 12 Public School

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OFFICE HOURS...During our remote learning time the school office hours will be as follows:  Monday thru Thursday from 7:30-3:30 and Fridays from 7:30-1:30

Governing Council


Meetings are open to the public and are held on the Jefferson Campus located at 7801 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109 at 5:00 pm in the front office conference room (Richie's Room).  Minutes of meetings are available for review 10 days after the meeting has taken place.  Meeting minutes are kept both electronically and in a binder in the administrative offices at the Jefferson campus.  Meeting minutes are posted on the web page after they have been approved in the next month's meeting by the full council.
2019-2021 Meeting Agendas & Minutes
2018-2019 Meeting Agendas & Minutes
August 21, 2018
September 18, 2018
October 16, 2018 
November 27, 2018 (the November meeting was originally schedule for November 20)
December 18, 2018
January 15, 2019
February 19, 2019 - STILL ON FOR TONIGHT!
March 19, 2018
April 8th, 2019 - Meet & Greet ED Finalist
April 11th, 2019 - Meet & Greet ED Finalist 
April 16, 2019
May 1, 2019 - Special Meeting - Budget
May 21, 2019
June 18, 2019
July 16, 2019
2018-2019 CCPS Governing Council

 Jill van Nortwick, PresidentJill van Nortwick pic

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 Papponi, PAC Representative

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.




Andrew Bundy, Secretary

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, Vice-President

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. 


Rahni Kellum, Member

Rahni was born in Kansas City Missouri and moved to Albuquerque in 2015 where she began her career at Sandia National Laboratories. Working as a technical business development specialist, Rahni is responsible for identifying synergies and creating relationships between Sandia and universities to enhance research and build the talent pipeline. Rahni has a passion for diversity and inclusion, specifically around minority serving institutions. Rahni is actively involved in helping minority students who want to pursue a degree in STEM and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated.  Rahni is excited and privileged to be serving on the governing council to help further integrate inclusion and diversity principles in the CCPS mission. She received her bachelor’s degree From Prairie View A&M University in Marketing and a Masters of Business of Administration from the University of New Mexico

Liz Titus, PTO Representative
Peter Lukes, Staff Representative
Governing Council Policies & Bylaws
You can see the current versions of all policies here.
The CCPS Governing Council bylaws can be read here.