Cottonwood Classical Preparatory SchoolTuition Free, 6 - 12 Public School

Skip to main content
Mobile Menu
Summer Hours for CCPS - Monday - Friday 9:00 am - 3:00 pm - The school will be closed from June 27th through July 20th.
Community » Governing Council

Governing Council

2017-2018 CCPS Governing Council

Darrell Garcia, President                            
As a life-long resident of Albuquerque, Darrell understands New Mexico and its unique culture. Darrell Graduated from La Cueva High School and received his Bachelors in Business Administration from Colorado State University.  Upon returning to New Mexico, he pursued graduate work at the University of New Mexico where he has subsequently earned an M.A. in Elementary Education and an M.B.A in Policy and Planning with an emphasis in Strategic Planning and Leadership.  As a founding instructor at Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School he wore numerous hats as he served as the Health Sciences Chair and later became the school’s first Athletic and Activities Director.  Darrell currently works at the University of New Mexico where he serves as the Senior Alumni Relations Officer at the Anderson School of Management.  In this position, he works to support the school’s mission by creating engagement opportunities for alumni and increasing philanthropic support for the school.  Darrell’s strong understanding of CCPS, its culture, and the strategic planning process will help continue to move the school forward. 
Kyle Jones, Vice President    

Kyle Jones is a research staff scientist at Sandia National Laboratories working in the field of infrasound geophysics for treaty verification and nuclear explosion monitoring. He received his B.S. (2007) and M.S. (2009) in Geophysics from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, NM. Kyle is a native to New Mexico, growing up in Alamogordo, attending college in Socorro and eventually moving to Albuquerque to work for Sandia National Laboratories. Prior to joining Sandia Kyle did contract work for Los Alamos National Laboratory while substitute teaching high school at Socorro High. Although Kyle and his wife have no children of their own, he believes passionately in education and giving back to the community.  Kyle brings a strong technical background in math and science to the board and looks forward to serving the staff, faculty and students of Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School.


Nick Williams, Treasurer

Nick Williams was selected as a Governing Council member for Cottonwood Classical in the summer of 2015. He is the Finance Director at the Albuquerque Community Foundation. Previous to his role at the Foundation, Nick was an audit manager with KPMG LLP focusing on state and local government clients and higher education. Nick received his B.A. in the Social Sciences from Portland State University in 2006 and a certificate in accounting from Portland State University in 2010. In addition, Nick received his CPA license in 2012. Nick grew up in Raton and moved to Albuquerque in 2010 to begin his accounting career. Before his current career, Nick was involved in organic farming and remains passionate about sustainable agriculture and environmental issues. Nick and his wife, Kate, have two young children and are passionate about supporting education in Albuquerque. Nick is excited for the opportunity to serve on the Governing Council.



Lisa Marbury, Member    
Lisa has been with the University of New Mexico for the past 11 years and is currently the Executive Director for the Vice President of Institutional Support Services. She directly manages Parking & Transportation Services, Office of Planning, Design, & Construction, and the UNM Faculty & Staff Club. She also has indirect oversight of the Physical Plant Department.  In her role she has coordinated organization wide strategic and fiscal and budgetary planning and policy/procedure development and oversees human resources development and management, and information technology issues.  Lisa brings a strong background in facility usage and development, facility master planning, and strategic planning to the CCPS GC.    

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.

Ken GantKen Gant, PTO Representative
Ken Gant is the PTO Representative to the Governing Council. His daughter has been at Cottonwood since sixth grade, and Ken has been the PTO representative since 2015.  He has lived in Albuquerque for the past thirty years and definitely considers himself a Burqueño. By profession, Ken is a software engineer, currently Lead Developer at RS21, a startup data visualization company. In addition to various volunteer activities for CCPS, he has mentored high school senior projects and tutored students in the essentials of 3D graphics programming.
Clifford Jake, Secretary

Clifford is a pricing analyst and contract administrator for a private government contracting company. Prior to this, he worked as an estimator for a commercial construction company gaining an extensive background in the construction industry. He received his bachelor’s degree in 2010 in Psychology from the University of New Mexico.  Living in Albuquerque nearly his entire life, Clifford not only enjoys being a resident but is also enthusiastic about giving back to his community and being a part of something bigger than himself.  Clifford brings his contracting, accounting, budgeting, and business administration knowledge to the board and is excited to be a part of the CCPS Governing Council.

 Jill van Nortwick, MemberJill 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.



Alexandria Tavarez, Member

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.




Danielle Silva, Member

Danielle Silva was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She graduated from the University of New Mexico with her Bachelor of Business Administration, concentration in marketing and minor in economics. Danielle is the Community Engagement Specialist at U.S. Eagle Federal Credit Union. U.S. Eagle is a local, financial cooperative that serves its member-owners through outstanding member experience. Her role as community engagement specialist is to invest in the community through events, communication, contributions, financial literacy, and partnerships. In her spare time, you can find her volunteering, purchasing a latte at a local coffee shop, or running the trails of Albuquerque. Danielle brings experience in marketing, strategic community partnerships, and continuous improvement to the Board. She is passionate about seeing our youth succeed and is excited to serve Cottonwood Classical. 


Lisa Wallhagen, Faculty Representative

Lisa Wallhagen received her B.A. in Psychology and Sociology from the University of New Mexico. After serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kazakhstan teaching English as a second language, she returned to Albuquerque and began pursuing her teaching license at Central New Mexico Community College. She has been a teacher at Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School since January 2010. She taught sixth and seventh grade English for seven years and has been teaching IB Psychology since 2015. In 2018, she will have her M.S. in Forensic Psychology. She has served as the English department chair and is currently the coordinator for the Extended Essay. Having taught students at the beginning and end of their CCPS journey gives Lisa a full picture of the Cottonwood experience and culture. She is excited to continue being an active member of the CCPS community through her role on the Governing Council.


Meetings are open to the public and are held on the Jefferson Campus located at 7801 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109 at 6:00 pm in the school cafeteria.  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.
2017-2018 Meeting Agendas & Minutes
August 15, 2017
August 28, 2017 - Staff Forum CCPS Cafeteria - No GC business will be discussed
September 11, 2017 - Community Forum CCPS Cafeteria - No GC business will be discussed
September 19, 2017
October 17, 2017 - Moved to October 25, 2017
November 21, 2017
December 8 & 9 - New Mexico Coalition of Charter Schools Conference
December 12, 2017
January 16, 2018
February 20, 2018
March 20, 2018
April 17, 2018
April 24, 2018 - Special Meeting 7:00 pm
May 15, 2018
June 14, 2018
July 17, 2018