New Mexico

Date and Time

Thursday, April 28, 2016
8:00 a.m.-3:45 p.m. (MT)


University of New Mexico
Central Campus
Student Union Building
301 Cornell Drive, NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106


8:00-8:30 a.m. Registration
8:30-8:50 a.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks for NJHS Outstanding Achievement (OAA) Awards

  • Dr. Beverly Hutton, Deputy Executive Director, National Association of Secondary School Principals
  • Dr. Barbara Damron, Cabinet Secretary of Higher Education, State of New Mexico
8:50-9:05 a.m. Remarks and Recognition of NJHS OAA winners from New Mexico

  • Hanna Skandera, Cabinet Secretary of Public Education, State of New Mexico
9:05-9:15 a.m. NJHS OAA Closing Remarks/State Summit Opening Remarks

  • Dr. Beverly Hutton
9:15-9:35 a.m. Opening Keynote Speaker

  • Dr. Barbara Damron
9:35-9:40 a.m. State Summit Overview

  • Dr. Jonathan Mathis, Director, National Honor Societies, NASSP
9:55-10:45 a.m. Student Workshop:
Leadership CompetenciesEffective and Persuasive Communication
Learn how to use your voice.

Grassroots Efforts and Strategies for Community Engagement
Understand how to cultivate consensus with constituents.

Champion Social Justice Efforts
Build your knowledge in advocacy, intercultural awareness, and diversity.

Digital and Social Media
Become adept in strategy and effective content development.

Project and Team Management
Take what you learn from vision to action.

Improving School Climate and Culture
Learn about the importance of a healthy school culture and how to exercise your student voice.

10:55-11:45 a.m. Student Workshop:
Understanding Issues and Initiatives
Student Caucus Groups
Students from each of the six leadership competencies attend:

  • The Environmental Impact of Water Conservation: Christine Chavez, City of Santa Fe Water Conservation Manager
  • Student Wellness and Maintaining School/Life Balance:Cameron Estrada, New Mexico Top Youth Volunteer, and Michelle DuVal, Director, The Mindful Center

Concurrent Adviser Workshop:
NHS and NJHS Programs, Policies, and Procedures

  • Elancia Felder, Manager, Honor Society Programs and Procedures
11:55 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Lunch and Speaker

  • Eva Vega-Olds, Assistant Director of Civil Rights, Anti-Defamation League
1:00-2:15 p.m. Collaborative Work: Student Caucus Groups
2:30-3:25 p.m. Presentations: Student Caucus Groups
3:25-3:45 p.m. Closing Remarks: Response from New Mexico

  • Dr. Robert Frank, President, University of New Mexico
  • Dr. Jonathan Mathis

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Presenters and Workshop Leaders

Amir Alhambra

Amir Alhambra is a program manager with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. There, he collaborates with colleagues to develop effective strategies to provide programs that inspire young people from low-income communities to stay in school, to recognize business opportunities, and to plan for successful futures. He seeks knowledge about the growth and development of children, and he enjoys working with teams to help each student achieve success in entrepreneurship and college and career readiness. Amir is currently a doctoral candidate at The George Washington University.

Andy Costanzo

Karen Dawson

Karen Dawson spent 32 years as a high school art and leadership teacher and was also involved in service learning. She earned numerous awards during her career, including the Presidential Volunteer Service Award from President George Bush for her work with Habitat for Humanity. In 2012, she received an award for a new weekly community outreach program she co-founded that provides a meal for those in need in St. Louis. For the past five years, more than 40,000 meals have been served and the program is being emulated in 54 communities.

Leonel Diaz

Leonel A. Diaz is the coordinator of student leadership and engagement at the University of New Mexico. He is interested in mixing digital media with leadership development. For example, he is involved with development of a mobile app to help students track their leadership skill development through their involvement on a college campus. In his current role, he is working on creating a leadership center and a marketing campaign aimed at reducing sexual assault, discrimination, and hate bias.

Andrea Elzy

Andrea “Drea” Elzy has extensive experience in postsecondary education, student affairs and student services. Her areas of expertise are residential education, diversity education, health and wellness education, paraprofessional mentoring, and innovation. Throughout her career, she has focused on helping students reach their highest academic and personal potential though mentorship and sharing her experiences. She holds a master’s in Higher Education from the University of Southern California and is a current doctoral candidate studying Higher Education Organizational Leadership at the University of Southern California.

Tom Heethuis

Tom Heethuis has been involved in advising student activities for 40 years. He has been a student council advisor, activity director, leadership camp director, and building principal. An award-winning advisor, he has been a presenter at numerous conferences and workshops. Through his workshops, attendees discover hands-on, practical leadership activities that they can take back to their schools and use with their students as soon as they return.

Crystal Newby

Crystal Newby currently serves as the assistant director of education and training for the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) where she is responsible for creating and executing professional development experiences for its members. She is also the staff liaison for NACAC’s Inclusion, Access, and Success Committee. Prior to joining NACAC, she spent nearly 10 years as a leader in college admission at both public and private institutions.

Bertrand Perdomo

Bertrand Perdomo is a third grade teacher in the Gadsden Independent School District of New Mexico through Teach for America. Prior to teaching, he was heavily involved in community engagement at the grassroots level. As a program manager for three University of Southern California outreach programs he worked with community residents, local law enforcement, and school and university staff to make South Los Angeles safer.

Nicole Smith

Nicole Smith is an educator, advocate, change agent, dream director, warrior of peace and possibility, and transformational leader. She is committed to unleashing the passion, purpose, curiosity, imagination, courage, and grit in students and youth leaders. She currently works as the senior program officer, School Programs, and the director of the summer academic enrichment program for the College Success Foundation DC.

Jackeline Stewart

Jackeline Stewart

Jackeline Stewart is the vice president of strategic communications for Opportunity Finance Network. She previously served as an appointee in the Obama administration as press secretary at the U.S. General Services Administration. She also specialized in Latino, mainstream, and social media working with the Service Employees International Union and the National Council of La Raza.

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Eva Vega-Olds

Eva Vega-Olds is an anti-bias education trainer, performer, and diversity and inclusion expert who has worked with all ages and stages. She admits, however, to having a special love of working with aspiring leaders among Millennials and Generation Z. She is currently the assistant director for the Anti-Defamation League’s Civil Rights Division.

Cameron Estrada

Cameron Estrada is a senior at Roswell High School in Roswell, NM, and is in her second year on the School-Based Health Alliance Youth Advisory Council. She is the founder and president of a nonprofit called IMPACT Teen, a group of young women who strive to improve their community and school by raising awareness about different health issues. It is sponsored by the school-based health center in Roswell High School. Last year’s topic was teen dating violence and this year’s focus is healthy eating.

Christine Chavez

Christine Chavez is a graduate of New Mexico State University with a bachelor’s in environmental science and a master’s in biology. Her emphasis of study was Environmental Microbiology and part of her research as a graduate student was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Christine developed her interest in water at a very young age. She had conversations with her grandfather on the importance of water and how it related to the water rights associated with the family land and the acequias that ran through it. Working for the Office of the State Engineer helped her develop the knowledge of water rights in New Mexico, and she worked in several basins including the Lower Rio Grande, Tularosa, and Northern Rio Grande in the administration of basin policy and regulation. Her work in water conservation began with the City of Las Cruces where she found that educating the community on water was one of her passions. This spurred her interest in teaching. She is currently the water conservation manager with the City of Santa Fe. The city’s award-winning water conservation program has the lowest gallon-per-person use in the Southwest.

Michelle DuVal

Michelle DuVal

Michelle DuVal is the current director and lead instructor of The Mindful Center. She is also the director and lead instructor for the mindfulness programs at the University of New Mexico Center for Life, the Presbyterian Healthplex, the New Mexico Heart Institute and Evolutions Family Counseling in Albuquerque, NM. In addition to her current programs of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindful Eating, and Hearts and Minds, she also brings mindfulness trainings into work environments through her Mindfulness- Based Workplace Workshops, programs and retreats. In spring 2011, she brought mindfulness training into the Albuquerque Public School system for all teachers and administration.

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