Our People

Elaine Sanchez RDH, MA

Elaine Sanchez (she/her) RDH, MA
Executive Director

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.

Arra Carbajal (she/her), B.A.

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 (she/her) (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.

Damon R. Carbajal (he/el), M.A.

Director, Business 

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, an M.A. in Chicanx Studies, and a certificate in “race” and social justice from the University of New Mexico where His research and advocacy interests include, mental health, school social climate, and the overall wellbeing of Chicanx LGBTQIA+ youth. Damon is the GLSEN Albuquerque Co-Chair and Policy Coordinator where he aims at creating equity for LGBTQ+ students in the state of New Mexico. He holds a strong passion for creating a brighter tomorrow where all youth can thrive no matter their race, sexual orientation, gender, or any other social location they live at. 

Sarah Braaten (she/her), MA

Interim Director, Early Intervention Program

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.

Sadie “Girt: Carr-Hohenstien (she/her) (DS III/FSC) 

Interim Director, Tribal Home Visiting Program

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.

Tribal Home Visiting

Cathy

Program Manager

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.

Justina

Evaluation Specialist

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.

Danielle

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.

Wendy

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.   

Roberta

Tribal Home Visitor

Roberta relocated to New Mexico from California in order to pursue new educational endeavors and be close to family.  Roberta completed a successful educational program at the University of New Mexico where she graduated at the top of her class. Since receiving a bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology, she plans to continue her education in the field of social work.  Roberta was recruited by and is currently a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society due to her outstanding academic achievements while studying at the University of New Mexico. Roberta is a licensed nurse with extensive experience working with individuals with behavioral disorders.  She believes strongly in the advocacy of indigenous communities as she has cultural ties within her own family system, which she maintains through supporting the next generation through song and dance. Roberta hopes to continue impacting the community by increased knowledge and relationship building during her time at NAPPR.

Early Intervention

Heather

Infant Mental Health 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

Billing Manager

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

Database Assistant 

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.

Ashley

Program Assistant

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.

Early Head Start

Cecilia “Cece”

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.

Nykki

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.

Jennifer

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.

Christen

Health, Nutrition, and Safe Environments Coordinator

Christen joined NAPPR, Inc. in 2022. She received her B.A. in Indigenous and American Indian Studies from Haskell Indian Nations University and is currently pursuing a M.A. in Family and Child Studies with a concentration in Human Development and Family Relations from the University of New Mexico. Christen enjoys working with families and children within the Native communities of New Mexico, promoting education, health, culture and language. In her free time, she enjoys visiting family, friends, traveling and playing volleyball.

Gail

Early Head Start Home Visitor

Gail is a Home Visitor for Native American Professional Parent Resources, Inc. (NAPPR) Early Head Start 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.

Leah

Early Head Start Home Visitor

Leah (she/her) graduated from Ohio University with a Bachelor’s in Cultural Anthropology. She has worked in group homes for at risk teens, worked with adults who have developmental disabilities, and most recently in child protective services. Leah moved to New Mexico and joined NAPPR in 2022.

Roxana

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.

Dollie

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.

Dominica 

Early Head Start Teacher

Dominica is from Kewa Pueblo, formally known as Santo Domingo Pueblo. She currently resides in Albuquerque with her husband. Dominica received her Associates degree from Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) in April 2016. She started at NAPPR in May 2016 at Little Scholars Academy then transitioned to the Early Head Start program. Dominica has worked with ages 6 weeks to 5 years old and has been in the early childhood field for 6 years. She is currently enrolled in the Early Childhood Mentor Network to become a mentor to the incoming Early Childhood educators. Dominica loves working in the early childhood field because she enjoys all the memories and bonding created with each child. On her down time she enjoys watching movies, TV shows and playing games; you will often catch her quoting movies. 

Lawrence

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

Alice

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.

Administration 

Brittany

Receptionist

Born and raised in Albuquerque Brittany has always wanted to help her community thrive and improve. NAPPR has given her the opportunity to begin connecting families to resources that can enrich the lives of infants, toddlers, and caregivers. She is a strong believer that a smile and support can make the biggest difference in someone’s life. Being a mother herself she hopes to work closely with families and assist them to being the best they can be. Her ultimate goal is to improve the future for our youth

Angel Charley
Chair

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”?).

Tracy Sanchez
Vice-Chair

LCDR Sanchez has extensive business and finance experience as an Executive Officer in the Indian Health Service. In addition to a clinical background in social work, Tracy is a physician assistant. Tracy Sanchez is from the Pueblo of Acoma

Steve Tetrev
Secretary 

Dr. Steve Tetrev has a vast knowledge of the Indian Health Service medical and dental services which is supported by a multitude of advanced academic business degrees. Steve is a retired Captain of the US Public Health Service.

 

Leanna McClure
Member

Leanna has broad experience centered around education (pre-K-12), grant management, and organizational leadership. Leanna is currently a PhD candidate and is Oglala Lakota and Mescalero Apache.

Vollelle Zamora
Member

As the former CEO of the Isleta Healthcare Center, Ms. Zamora has comprehensive business and finance knowledge. Volelle has professionally served under a board of directors and is eager to give back by serving as a board member. Volelle is a member of the Navajo Nation.

Marvis Vallo

Marvis Vallo
Member at Large

Marvis Vallo joined the NAAPR Board of Directors in January 2019 and currently serves as the Member at Large for the organization. With his financial background, he 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.