Elaine Sanchez RDH, MA
Elaine Sanchez is the Executive Director of NAPPR, Inc. Before joining NAPPR in 2015 as the Director of the Dental Support Center, Elaine had an extensive career in various public health settings. Her most notable positions were administrative roles at various dental hygiene education programs, including being an Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico. Her early professional experiences focused on education, patient care and research. Subsequently, her career has given rise to an affinity for the business aspects that support community public health.
Elaine is deeply committed to serving, educating, and enabling those who are less fortunate. Being born and raised in New Mexico has built this passion by allowing her to see firsthand the needs of families and communities around the state. She brings her enthusiasm, energy, and drive to NAPPR’s desire to care for more children and families in need.
Elaine has a Master of Arts in Organizational Learning and Instructional Technologies as well as both Bachelor and Associate of Science degrees in Dental Hygiene.
Elizabeth “Liz” Torrison (LCSW IMH-E (III) DS III)
Director, Early Intervention Program
Liz has been with NAPPR for more than six years, overseeing the clinical process of evaluation and eligibility determination for Early Intervention services, as well as supervising the clinical team that consists of social workers and Early Intervention Specialists. Liz is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in New Mexico and holds a level three in both Infant Mental Health Endorsement, as well as a Developmental Specialist. She has a Master’s in Social Work from New Mexico State University. With more than ten years of experience in early childhood, Liz is strong believer in the power of attachment, and supporting all components of infant mental health when working with families.
Director, Early Head Start Program
Arra began working with NAPPR in 2009, serving eight years as the Early Head Start director. She has more than 22 years in early childhood care and education as a classroom teacher, administrator, technical assistance provider, home visitor, child care provider and grant reviewer throughout New Mexico.
Aliandra Maes (RDH, BS)
Director, Dental Support Center
Aliandra is a graduate from the University of New Mexico with a bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene. A lifelong resident of New Mexico, she moved to southern California for a few years early in her dental hygiene career. Along with her husband and son, she returned to the Albuquerque area and made her family’s home in Los Lunas.
Claire Canfield (P-LMSW)
Director, Tribal Home Visiting Program
Born and raised in Albuquerque, Claire studied at the University of New Mexico receiving her B.F.A. in Art History in 2009, focusing on pre and post-colonial art of the Americas. She then moved into the nonprofit realm working with the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in several capacities, including program management, volunteer coordination, fundraising and event planning for seven years. Claire’s family history and her time with IPCC sparked her commitment to serving native communities. Moving into the direct service realm, she worked with NMCAN as the Director of Engagement, leading community and youth engagement programs with a mission of supporting youth transitioning from systems to adulthood. In 2020, she received her MSW from New Mexico Highlands University. During her MSW program she interned with NAPPR’s Early Intervention program and Pueblo of San Felipe’s Equine Therapy program. Claire’s passion is for strong partnership with communities she is serving, which she believes is done through compassion, understanding, leadership and commitment.
Damon R. Carbajal
Damon joined NAPPR, Inc. in 2016 and has been a NAPPR volunteer since 2010. He has a B.A. in Secondary Education and a minor in theatre. He is currently a member of the inaugural M.A. Chicanx Studies cohort at the University of New Mexico where he is studying the mental health and school social climate perception among Chicanx LGBTQ+ youth. In addition to his M.A., he is working on an interdisciplinary graduate certificate in race and social justice. Damon is the GLSEN Albuquerque Co-Chair and Policy Coordinator, he also sits on the NM Educational Theatre Association board where he works advocating for theatre arts education and creating equity for LGBTQ+ students in the state of New Mexico.
Ashley has been in the education field for a little over 8 years- specifically working with children ages infant-5 and elementary-aged children. With a background of working in Special Education, Ashley has served in the Early Childhood field as an Early Childhood Director, Teacher, and One-on-one Special Education Teacher. She first joined the NAPPR team with the Little Scholar’s Academy as a teacher in 2016. She then became part of the Early Head Start team in 2019. She is excited to join the Admin side of NAPPR and looks forward to continuing to serve the families of NM.
Tribal Home Visiting
Cathy is from Zuni Pueblo and began working for NAPPR in August 2014 and received her degree in Early Childhood Multicultural Education at the University of New Mexico that same year. As a student, she worked part-time at the Women’s Resource Center as Program Assistant for the Breastfeeding Support Program. In her position, Cathy provided support and resources to students, staff, faculty and their partners/spouses who chose to breastfeed their children after returning to work or school. Cathy enjoys working with children and families in the Native communities and helping them to become empowered and have healthy relationships with their children and families. She enjoys traveling back home and spending time with family and friends, and watching movies and tv shows in her spare time.
Tribal Home Visitor
Danielle comes from Jemez Pueblo. Previously, Danielle worked as a Batterer’s Intervention Coordinator for a domestic violence prevention program. She graduated from New Mexico Highlands University with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and recently graduated with her Master’s degree in Psychology from Grand Canyon University. She enjoys the variety of services being provided by NAPPR and loves the positive focus on empowerment, education and community. Danielle’s passion is about helping people and helping create healthy happy environments for families. During Danielle’s free time, she loves to visit family and friends and enjoys traveling to different states across the country.
Tribal Home Visitor
Lizbeth is originally from California and has been living in Albuquerque for about 13 years and loves everything about it! She began working for NAPPR in May 2019. She received Bachelors Degree in Public and Community Health Education and Spanish from the University of New Mexico in May of 2019. During her last year at UNM, she interned with the Family Development Program. During this experience, she learned what it means to work in the community and help support organizations and programs that care for toddlers and infants. She enjoys working with families and helping them navigate through the early years of a child’s life. During her free time, she enjoys visiting family, friends, movies, board games, and traveling to different places.
Tribal Home Visitor
Ashley was born in Albuquerque and was raised in Phoenix, Arizona. She returned to New Mexico to earn her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Family Studies from the University of New Mexico. She graduated with her M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2020. She has worked with children and families since 2014 in various capacities including Head Start and Early Intervention. Working to empower children and their families is her passion. She strives to continue to learn and grow to best serve the community of New Mexico.
Tribal Home Visitor
Wendy is a tribal member of the Dine’ Nation and is originally from San Juan County. She resides in the Pueblo of Acoma with her spouse and children. She graduated with a liberal arts degree, Bachelor’s of University Studies, from the University of New Mexico in 2000. Her focus studies were sociology, psychology, and culture issues. She completed an Alternative Special Education Licensure from Santa Fe Community College. Wendy has been an educator for a number of years and began her career in early childhood education in 2007. She enjoys learning new perspectives from the families and children she serves. On her free-time she participates in community culture events, spends time with her family, and enjoys being outdoors.
Justina is a tribal member of the Dine (Navajo) Nation and comes from Deer Springs, AZ. She received her Bachelors in Philosophy with a Pre-Law concentration from the University of New Mexico. Since 2013 she has served in various capacities in different NAPPR programs, as a client, a policy board member, and as a THV staff person. She is interested in growing the capacity of Native American families and communities that meets their needs as well as strengthening the inherent tribal language and cultures of the people that we serve. This interest has inspired her passion for family advocacy and overall community health for Native American families and communities that exist on and off the reservations. She and her husband currently reside and raise their three children in Albuquerque, NM. In their free time they enjoy being back at home in Arizona and being together as a family.
Analise joined NAPPR in 2019 after working in the technology and telecommunication industry. She has a B.A in Psychology with a minor in Family Studies and Anthropology from The University of New Mexico. Analise is passionate about advocating and supporting members of our community and ensuring they have the resources and supports needed to succeed. In her free time Analise enjoys journaling, coloring, doing makeup, and mostly, spending time with her friends and family. Analise lives by the quote “stay gold” from The Outsiders, which reminds her that no matter what obstacles are placed in front of her, to stay kind, compassionate, and positive.
Clinical Manager (LCSW IMH-E (III) DS III)
Sam helps children and their families reach their full potential by supporting caregivers in self-care, helping them fully enjoy their children, and by guiding them become the parents that they want to be. Sam became a full-time NAPPR employee in 2014 after interning in Early Intervention. Prior to entering the field, he worked with children in a variety of settings, including as a Mixed Martial Arts instructor. He has a Bachelor’s from University of New Mexico and a Master’s in Social Work from New Mexico State University.
Sarah has always been passionate about working with children with special needs and supporting families who are raising children with disabilities. Sarah has been a childcare teacher and a developmental preschool teacher in Albuquerque Public Schools. With more than 20 years of experience in Early Childhood, Sarah has worked specifically in the field of early intervention for 15 years. She has a Bachelor’s in Child Development and Family Studies and a Master’s in Family Studies & Special Education. NAPPR has given her the opportunity to learn and grow in the field of Early Childhood for the past 9 years.
EI Specialist (DS III/FSC)
Girt (Hopi-Tewa/Pueblo of Laguna) helps coach and guide families with children in special education through a complicated educational system. It was while teaching in schools, on and off the reservation, she realized the help and support required of parents who have children with special needs. With a Master’s in Multicultural Special Education, Girt has 14 years of providing home-based, family-centered Early Intervention services and seven years of providing Early Childhood Special Education in New Mexico and Northern Virginia.
Social Worker (LCSW IMH-E (III)
As a family support specialist, Erica’s mission is to help at-risk families. She tries to nurture caregivers, helping to build a healthy bond between child and parent, and aid in the prevention of harmful patterns from reoccurring in future generations. Erica has nearly five years of employment at NAPPR. She was previously with UNM NICU and La Familia Treatment Foster Care. She has a Master’s in Social Work with a clinical concentration.
Social Worker (LMSW)
Tara started as an intern with NAPPR until she graduated with a Master’s in Social Work with a clinical concentration from New Mexico State University. She has been a full-time employee for three years, Tara’s passion is working with families, she continues to work and grow in the area of infant mental health.
Evaluation Specialist (LMSW)
Heather (Pueblo of Zuni/Navajo) began her career working with homeless youth and their families. This experience eventually led her to pursue a Master’s in Social Work from New Mexico State University. She hopes to utilize her degree to join efforts in strengthening Native families and communities.
Tracy supports and helps staff directly by working with families, and takes pride in doing it to the best of her ability. Her passion comes from family success stories, which makes her work even more meaningful. Tracy has been employed with NAPPR for more than three years and has worked in the business office, the Health Education and Outreach program, and has been an Early Intervention assistant. She has an Associate’s in Medical Billing and Coding from the University of New Mexico.
Sandra (Pueblo of Laguna) has been with NAPPR for more than 20 years, beginning her employment in 1995. She began as a part-time receptionist and later as a Data Entry/File Clerk and was later promoted to Database Specialist. Sandra is currently the Early Intervention program assistant. With 23 years of experience at NAPPR, she has enjoyed watching NAPPR grow and succeed. She has an Associates in Secretarial Studies from TVI. Sandra enjoys working at NAPPR and is dedicated to her work family.
Chrissy joined NAPPR in 2020. She loves what NAPPR stands for and how it helps the families in our community. Previously Chrissy lived in Peoria, Illinois and while visiting New Mexico, she fell in love with green chili and hot air balloons. She relocated to Albuquerque and has been here for the past 9 years. She loves learning about different cultures and languages. On three different occasions, she took the opportunity to volunteer outside of the country doing missionary work–traveling to the Dominica Republic, Costa Rica, and an island off the eastern coast of Nicaragua. In her personal time, she enjoys movies, reading, and ongoing volunteer opportunities in her community.
Alexis just joined the NAPPR team and is still very young and bright eyed to the world. She just turned 20 not too long ago. Alexis is currently going to school, where this is her fourth year, where she is studying pre-health sciences in the hope one day becoming a dentist. She currents holds an associate’s degree in integrated studies and a certification in public health and safety. In addition to this, she is currently in a dental assisting program to help her get a foot in the door of her dream career of becoming a dentist. In her spare time, Alexis loves to sing and listen to music as well as art. She has been involved in a variety of choir programs and used to perform at the Santa Fe Opera House.
Early Head Start
Education, Mental Health and Disabilities Coordinator
After being a classroom teacher for more than 20 years, Cece believes in successful outcomes are the result of how well you connect with the parents of the children you are serving. She received a Bachelor’s in Family Studies from the University of New Mexico and a Master’s in Clinical Psychology from Capella University. She is a current member of the National Head Start Association, the New Mexico Head Start Association, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Institute of Divine Metaphysical Research and the New Mexico Association for Infant Mental Health.
Inkind / ERSEA Coordinator
Over the past year, Nykki held the reigns as the Little Scholar’s Academy’s Center Manager. In ’97 she attended the Art Institute of Colorado with a focus in Graphic & Web Design; after a year or so she returned to NM. Soon after her return, she enlisted in the USAF as a communication specialist. She maintained her military career for 2 short years. After separation, she began working on her Early Childhood Multicultural Education degree at the University of New Mexico. She earned her degree in 2007. From 2000 to the present year, she has worked at various child care facilities; both Army and Air Force CDCs, YDI.
Nykki built a passion for working with children, after having a child of her own. She loved seeing them grow and being able to assist them in reaching their milestone goals. Her biggest award in all this is now being able to understand why kids do what they do. When Nykki isn’t glued to her favorite TV show or her phone, she spends a lot of her free time with her son, her baby niece and her bulldog. One life quote that seems to hit the nail on the head for Nykki is “Kill them with success and bury them with a smile”.. this basically explains itself.
Family and Community Partnership Coordinator/Home Visiting Supervisor
Jennifer has worked with families and children for the last 10 years in many capacities including crisis intervention, advocacy, after school programming, Head Start, and Home Visiting. Jennifer is a Licensed Master Social Worker and also holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Jennifer is passionate about continuing to empower and educate families in the state of New Mexico. Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, caring for her puppy, inspiring and helping others in their health and fitness journeys as an online fitness coach, and party motivating with a DJ company at various events.
Early Head Start Home Visitor
Gail is a Home Visitor for Native American Professional Parent Resources, Inc. (NAPPR) Early Headstart program in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has worked in the field of Early Childhood. She received her formal education from the University of New Mexico in Family Studies. Ms. Salas interest is working with American Indian families to improve health outcomes.
Early Head Start Home Visitor
Michele has collaborated with families in various New Mexico communities for over 10 years. She began working in southern NM after-school programs and child-care centers as a young adult while studying for her Associates in Early Childhood Education. Upon completion, she pursued a degree in Social Work and received her Masters in 2016. She interned at several agencies that provide services to central NM families while studying for her MSW. After several years of raising her own children in Oregon, Michele returned to New Mexico and joined NAPPR in late 2019.
Early Head Start Home Visitor
Jessica has been with NAPPR for 7 years but worked with Head Start for the last 15 years. She received her Associate’s degree in 2008 from Central Arizona College in Early Childhood Education. She believes the impact of working with families in their home has a lasting effect for generations to come. Jessica and her husband have two boys. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys photography, spending time with her family, and enjoying the outdoor recreation.
Early Head Start Center Manager
Jodie, who accepted this position with NAPPR in 2016, has more than 10 years of experience working in Early Childhood. She started her career working with Native American families for the Women, Infant and Children’s (WIC) program at the Pueblo of Laguna then transitioned into her current profession. She looks forward to continuing aiding children and families.
Early Head Start Teacher
Mica joined NAPPR in 2016 as a teacher’s assistant and is now a lead teacher. She has an Associates in Early Childhood Education from Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute. Mica is a tribal citizen of the Pueblo of Santo Domingo and resides in Albuquerque.
Early Head Start Teacher
Joining NAPPR in 2017, Vanessa looks forward to working with the children daily at the Early Head Start Center. She loves that she can work with all age groups and gain more knowledge and experience.
Early Head Start Teacher
Gertrude is a teacher at NAPPR’s Early Head Start Center. She graduated with my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education at Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute. She plans to continue for my Bachelors in Early Childhood Multicultural Education. She loves working with children because they give me the best energy when they come through the door.
Early Head Start Teacher
Roxana has been working with children in Head Start programs for 10 years. She has her Child Development Certificate from Central New Mexico Community College, where she is also working towards obtaining her degree in Early Childhood Multicultural Education. Roxana loves working with children because they brighten up our day and she loves to watch them grow.
Early Head Start Teacher
Dollie has been working with children in Head Start programs for 10 years. She has her Early Childhood Multicultural Education certificate with UNM as well as her Child Development Association Certificate which nationally recognized. Dollie is currently working towards her Associates in Early Childhood Multicultural Education Degree at Central New Mexico Community College.
Early Head Start Teacher
Estella joined NAPPR in 2020. She has been working in early childcare since she was 18 years old. Estella has worked with ages 2 weeks to 4 years old. She loves working with these ages because everything is new and exciting to them, so with that every day is new and different. She is in the process of completing her CDA in early childhood certification. Estella believes that children learn from play and values hands-on learning.
Early Head Start Cook
Lawrence has been in the cooking and food service industry for 17 years. From bussing tables to line cook to cold room prep to chef, he has stepped down from big restaurants and casinos to aid young children with health and meal education. Introducing new foods to young children and making good, wholesome meals makes him happy as he’s able to teach children about foods, knowing they will always leave school full and healthy.
Dental Support Center
Oral Health Outreach Coordinator
Alice joined NAPPR in early 2020 as the Oral Health Outreach Coordinator. She comes from the Pueblo of Cochiti, and has been in the dental field for more then 15 years. Alice was awarded Albuquerque Area Dental Assistant of the year. She has found her passion in public health where she is able to continue to help those in need throughout the Native communities.
Pueblo of Acoma
Marvis Vallo joined the NAPPR Board of Directors in January 2019 and currently serves as the Chair of the board and ensures the adherence to internal financial controls, budgets, and review of NAPPR financial reports. Marvis holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management and has extensive financial, budget, management, and investment experience work with tribal gaming, tribal enterprises and government, non-profits, and is currently employed with the State of New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions-Financial Management Bureau. Marvis also serves as a board member with the UNM Anderson Foundation Board along with being a member of the Pueblo of Acoma Tribal Council.
Pueblo of Acoma
Angel Charley comes from the Pueblo of Laguna and is the proud mom of an preteen. She is passionate about civic engagement, women’s rights, and shifting narratives that hold space for solution-based conversations. Angel holds a degree in Communication from the University of Hawai’i. When she’s not in the office you can find Angel traveling both locally and abroad, cooking/burning new foods , and spending time trying to relate to her tween (this currently involves something called “manga”?).
Zia and Jemez Pueblos
Mr. Dave Panana is an experienced and skilled nurse turned administrator. He has been an instrumental force in the stabilization and progression of tribal 638 facilities in New Mexico. In his positions of Health Center Director, Acting CEO, and Chief Clinical Operations Officer at Santo Domingo Health Center, Mr. Panana was the leader in implementing sustainable changes leading to expansion of services for community members. Specifically, Mr. Panana was responsible for contract negotiations, recruitment of key personnel and medical providers, and day to day operations. Mr. Panana is also the Albuquerque Area Representative for the CMS Tribal Technical Advisory Group and member of the Southwest Area American Cancer Society board. Among his accolades, Mr. Panana is the proud recipient of the 2015 Indian Health Service Director’s Award, the 2017 National Indian Health Board’s National Impact Award and the 2018 Native American 40 Under 40 Award.