Our tutors are a small team of talented professionals with a wide range of skills, education and experience. They love what they do, and have a passion for teaching young students. They look forward to working with all students who make up the beautiful diversity of New Mexico. Some of our tutors speak Spanish.

Laurie Bangs


I’m a retired high school English teacher who has continued to tutor adult and teenage students because I love what I do. My husband and I live in Minneapolis, MN, though we usually manage to escape for a while in the long winters to somewhere warm and sunny like Arizona or Mexico. We spent the last 8 years of our professional lives teaching internationally in several different countries and loved the opportunity to experience other cultures and make friends abroad. I am an outdoor enthusiast who loves to hike, bike, camp, garden and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Laci “Greg” Begaye

Proud member of the Navajo Nation

ELA & Science

My name is Laci Begaye, however I also go by the nickname Greg. I am from the Navajo reservation and attended three different high schools before graduating from Farmington High School in 2018.

I am a first generation student currently working on my BA for English Secondary Education with a minor in Honors at Fort Lewis College.

I enjoy volunteerism as part of how I choose to spend my time away from school. Shortly after graduating high school, I got a scholarship for the Rick West Cultural Preservation Program in 2018. As part of the program aimed at Native American students, we traveled to Washington D.C. to advocate for our government officials to pass the Violence Against Women’s Act.

In 2019, I joined Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC) as a volunteer. SCC was intended to encourage young adults to take action in maintaining the integrity of our Four-Corners wilderness. We helped maintain hiking trails in numerous forests and also aided in the efforts to maintain community safety during the 2019 museum fire in Flagstaff, AZ.

As for hobbies, I enjoy writing, singing, reading, and poetry. I am currently helping to run the International Students Club and Poetry Club at Fort Lewis College.

In the future, I would like to teach high school English; specifically in the Navajo reservation. My goal is to help as many indigenious students succeed in finding fruitful opportunities that can unfold into more substantial representation of the Native American community in the United States.

Niesha Benallie

Proud member of the Navajo Nation


I am a Native American and 19 years old. I am currently attending New Mexico Highlands University. I am pursuing my BA degree in Elementary-Special Education. I recently began doing a  variety of beadwork as my hobby.

David Bushnell

Algebra I & II, Geometry

David Bushnell was born in Germany and grew up in Idaho and Maine. He earned his bachelor’s  degree in mathematics from Princeton University and his master’s degree in mathematics from the  University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. He is retired in California but has family in  Albuquerque. Before retiring he worked at NASA as a software researcher, mostly looking for new  ways to make software more reliable. 

As an undergraduate he worked in the campus tutoring center tutoring other undergraduates in  mathematics. As a graduate student he worked as a teaching assistant, teaching classes in pre-algebra, pre-calculus, calculus, linear algebra, etc. 

He enjoys gardening, kayaking, biking, hiking, drying persimmons, remodeling his house, and being  with family. He has been a foster parent for kittens, teaching them that people can be nice and what a  litter box is for. He has also worked with a volunteer group maintaining county park hiking trails. And he has volunteered with an organization that gathers fruit from people’s fruit trees to donate to  disadvantaged families.

Susan Calderon

Algebra I & II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus, French

Hello!  My husband and I live about 14 miles outside of Washington D.C., in Vienna, Virginia.  We have a 24-year-old son, Noah, who lives about 25 miles away in College Park, MD, near the University of Maryland, where he went to school.  We are very proud of him; he got his degree in Music, classical vocal performance!

My husband just recently retired and I continue to work, teaching mathematics at George Mason University which is about 7 miles from where we live.  I also like substituting for the local high school math teachers when I can.  I have tutored some of their students.  One of my favorite things about teaching is working with the students.  While we were online, during the pandemic, I was very grateful to be meeting with them. 

I like getting out on my bicycle, swimming and running.  A friend and I are preparing to participate in a half Ironman in the fall!

I have never been to New Mexico and hope to travel there sometime soon.

I look forward to working with you!!

Darcy Campbell

Biology & Chemistry

Darcy Campbell earned her BS in Biology from the University of South Carolina and her MS in Health Physics from Georgetown University.  Darcy became a Certified Health Physicist in 2017, one of just 1200 nationwide.  She has served as an instructor for a workforce development program at University of New Mexico, Los Alamos as well as in accredited training programs for her current and previous employers.  Darcy is currently the Director of Radiation Protection for an environmental cleanup project in Los Alamos where she oversees her department’s training activities and provides overall programmatic direction.  In her spare time, Darcy works at a yoga and cycling wellness studio and enjoys spending time in the beautiful outdoors hiking and trail running.

Dianne Channell

Math, Algebra I & II

Dianne is a New Mexico native. She is a retired Santa Fe Public School math teacher. She taught at Alameda and Santa Fe High Schools. She is a fanatical dog lover with five dogs. In addition to generously donating her time to Ignited Minds, she also donates her time to rescuing dogs.

Martin Geer

English Language Arts

Native of Detroit. B.A. University of Michigan, J.D. Wayne State, LLM, Columbia University. Civil /International Human Rights/Criminal Defense Attorney; Law faculties, University of Michigan, Wayne State, Syracuse, UNLV; teacher, international-based law schools and judiciaries; numerous law review articles and book chapters on prison reform, international human rights, legal education. Fulbright Senior Scholar, India; U.N. and USAID Trainer; Legal Aid Director; Co-operating Attorney, ACLUNM; Tutor, Tesuque Elementary, Facilitator, N.M. Alternatives to Violence 

Bill Glaser

Algebra I & II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus

Bill earned his B.A. degree in philosophy from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1972. From 1973 thru 2006 he was in the construction business in Santa Fe NM. He was the owner of Glaser Construction, a general contracting business, from 1981-2006. In 2006, after completing the teacher licensing program at Santa Fe Community College, Bill taught mathematics at Santa Fe High School from 2006 thru 2012. Bill and Adele are married and have two children, Emily and Ross (deceased). In retirement he has been active in his lifelong interest in philosophical inquiry, tennis, cycling and he maintains an unofficial free construction consulting business. 

Monica Gonzales-Cejo

Algebra, Biology, ELA, Spanish & College Application

Monica graduated from the University of Virginia in 2019 with a B.A. in Biology and a Minor in Business Spanish. She then went on to serve as a Medical Assistant at the Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic in Virginia for two years, and is now preparing to enter the Wake Forest Physician Assistant Program. Monica was a part of Latinx and Migrant Aid in college, a tutoring organization that taught English as a Second Language and other general subjects to migrant children in the Charlottesville area. She was also a member of the Virginia Belles, an all-female a cappella group that performed at various university events and charity organizations. In her free time, she enjoys singing, sports, playing guitar, baking, reading, and getting outdoors.

Prof. Raymond Greenwell

Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus (Spanish Speaking)

Raymond N. Greenwell earned a B.A. in Mathematics and Physics from the University of San Diego, and an M.S. in Statistics, an M.S. in Applied Mathematics, and a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Michigan State University.  From 1983 to 2017 he was a professor of mathematics at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, as well as coach for the math team. He has published articles on statistics, fluid mechanics, mathematical biology, genetic algorithms, combinatorics, undergraduate mathematics education, and mathematical sociology. He coauthored the textbooks Finite Mathematics, Calculus with Applications, and Calculus for the Life Sciences with Margaret L. Lial and Nathan P. Ritchey, published by Pearson. He served the Metropolitan New York Section of the Mathematical Association of America as Vice-Chair for Four Year Colleges, Chair, Governor, Liaison Coordinator, and Webmaster. Since his retirement in 2017, he has lived in Santa Fe, NM, where he enjoys hiking, rock climbing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. For more information, visit his web page at https://sites.hofstra.edu/raymond-greenwell/.

Esperanza Guerrero

Proud member of the Navajo Nation

Algebra, Geometry, Math, Biology

Hello! My name is Esperanza Guerrero. I am from Shiprock, New Mexico. I am currently a student at Fort Lewis College. I am an undergrad in Biology Secondary Education. As a future educator, I want to make a positive impact on students through their love for science and my teaching of lifelong values that students can take with them in whatever they choose to do in life. Some of my hobbies include reading, painting, fishing, and hiking.

Madison Helm


Hello! My name is Madison Helm and I am currently receiving my undergrad in English Secondary Education. I believe that through reading and writing we are given new ways to express ourselves and learn about the world around us. I want to teach because I want to help young adults learn how to navigate themselves in a positive way, even if what they learn doesn’t follow them in an academic sense. 

Kelli James

Proud member of the Jicarilla Apache Nation

Middle School Math, ELA, New Mexico History, College Applications

My name is Kelli James, and I am from Dulce, New Mexico; a member of the Jicarilla Apache Nation. I graduated from San Juan College in May 2021 with my Associates of Arts in Elementary Education/Special Education. I am currently working on a dual Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Special Education with a minor in English as a Second Language at New Mexico Highlands University. My goal as a future educator is to work with students living on Tribal Reservations by helping and inspiring them to reach their full potential.  

In my free time, I love spending quality time with my Husband Jimmy and six amazing boys. We are a very competitive family and are active in various sports and extra-curricular activities. I, also, enjoy working on little arts and craft projects, cooking, traveling and being in the outdoors.  

Joan Kendrick

English Language Arts/Creative Writing

Hi! I am a retired English teacher from Santa Fe High School. During my career,  I taught Creative Writing and Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior English at the  Advanced Placement, Pre-AP, and regular levels. I have also created, directed, and  tutored in an after-school tutoring program. Before teaching, I worked in the  environmental field, both for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and as an  environmental consultant. And before that, I earned a BA in English Education and a  MA in Environmental Studies. I have been lucky in my life work to be able to pursue the  things I love to do, reading, writing and exploring the natural world. 

My husband and I moved from Washington, D.C. to Santa Fe 40 years ago. We  have worked, raised our two sons, and retired here. My days now are filled with hiking,  gardening, reading, cooking and spending time with family and friends. As wonderful  as retirement is, however, I do miss my students. I am looking forward to reconnecting  with students through this tutoring program and to helping them develop their writing,  reading, and thinking skills.

Katja Klosterman

Fullbright Scholar

Algebra I & II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Chemistry

Katja Klosterman was born and raised in New Mexico. She left her home in 2016 to pursue a B.S. in Biochemistry at the Arizona State University where she was a member of the Next Generation Service Corps. Upon graduating in 2019, she returned to New Mexico to research rapid biomedical diagnostics and therapeutics at the Los Alamos National Laboratory within the Chemistry for Biomedical Applications team. Katja hopes to pursue her MPH and MD in the future, with hopes of increasing access to healthcare across the nation. In her spare time, she likes reading about spirituality and philosophy, baking for loved ones, and doing pilates. She is inspired by the process and grit of understanding new and novel ideas in learning, which she gets to take part in during every collaborative tutoring session.

Maria Lynch

Spanish Speaking: Special Ed/Lower Algebra/Math/ELA/Biology/Social Science

Maria Lynch earned her B.S. in Botany and then her M.Ed. in Special Education in 1980 from the University of New Hampshire.  She moved to New Mexico in 1980 and has had a variety of work experiences since then, including teaching Special Education in Shiprock, Peñasco and Santa Fe.  Before COVID-19 times she and her husband enjoyed traveling.  Maria loves family, friends, plants, hiking, biking, gardening, reading, various crafts, exploring new places and admiring the numerous little bits of life that catch her eye.

Mary Mandeville-Chase


Mary earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (1989) and a Master of Arts (1981) in English Literature at the University of South Florida. She earned a Master of Science in Communication Disorders from the University of New Mexico in 1989. Mary taught Freshman English for eight years before beginning her work as a speech-language pathologist. For many years, she worked with toddlers and their families in speech and language development. She worked in Albuquerque; pueblos along the Rio Grande, including San Felipe, Santa Domingo, and Isleta; and on the Navajo Reservation in McKinley and San Juan counties. During this time, Mary occasionally also worked in elementary schools in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, San Antonio, and Lemitar. In the latter part of her career, she worked at the U.N.M. Health Sciences Center on a diagnostic team considering the question of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in young children. Additionally, she worked with families of children recently diagnosed with ASD, assisting them in supporting their children learning to communicate. Mary is deeply grateful to all the wonderful New Mexico families who opened their homes to her.

Jim Plewa

Algebra I & II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus

Jim graduated in 1970 from the University of Illinois with a BS in Electrical Engineering.  He has worked in the information technology area for many manufacturing and electronics companies.  In 1993 he entered the teaching profession through the Santa Fe Intern program and taught his first year at Capital High School, Santa Fe.  Jim taught high school math, including subjects from pre-algebra through AP Statistics, at Los Alamos High School from 1994 through 2009 before retiring.  He currently enjoys building furniture as a student at the Santa Fe Community College Fine Woodworking program.

Melody Postoak

Proud member of the Choctaw Nation

Biology, ELA, Music: percussion, vocals & music theory

Melody Postoak is a senior Music Education major at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. She has studied both Vocal Music and Percussion in her time at FLC. Melody currently serves as the Music Intern for the First Presbyterian Church of Durango, Chapter President for FLC NAfME (National Association for Music Educators), and General Music Representative for Colorado Collegiate NAfME. She has a passion for providing equitable learning opportunities and safe spaces for all students. In her free time, Melody enjoys traveling, creating art, and getting out into nature as much as possible.

Daniel Roller

Proud member of the Choctaw Nation

Geometry, Algebra I & II, Trigonometry

Since retiring and moving to Santa Fe six years ago with my wife, I have enjoyed volunteering as a tutor as well as doing computer programming tasks for local institutions. The tutoring has included GED mathematics for adults, middle/high school mathematics, and high school computer science. As a computer programmer, I have worked with the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, New Mexico History Museum, and the Office of Archaeology Studies. I earned a BS degree in Mathematics from the University of Washington, taught Algebra and Geometry in Ghana as a Peace Corps volunteer, started a career as a computer programmer working at Washington State University while earning a MS degree in Computer Science, and worked as a computer programmer for companies which sold computer software. I enjoy getting outdoors to walk/hike/bike, and studying New Mexican and Native American history.

Margaret Rose


Margaret Rose graduated from Stanford with a Master’s Degree in Education and a K-12 Teaching Credential in French. She attended Scripps College Junior Year Abroad Program at the Sorbonne University in Paris and continues to be fluent in French. She has taught graduate level courses in multiculturalism and methods for teaching foreign language. She was a member of the Nature of Words Literary Festival Advisory Board in Bend, Oregon as well as a member of the Los Altos, California School District Curriculum Council and PTA Board. She is retired with her husband in Santa Fe and enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren, adventure travel, hiking, tandem cycling, skiing, running and outrigger canoeing.

Cristina Smith

Algebra I, Geometry, Math, ELA, Social Sciences

My name is Cristina Smith and I am from Peralta, New Mexico. I graduated from Los Lunas High School, though I did attend 2 other high schools, one of which was a performing arts school where I focused on dance. I am currently working on my Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with a minor in English as a Second Language at New Mexico Highlands University.

I have worked as a dance teacher in all styles of dance for six years, as well as a coordinator for summer recreation and after-school programs. I was also a substitute teacher in Los Lunas Schools for two years. I am currently a full-time college student and look forward to beginning a career in education to share my love of learning.

In my free time, I enjoy dancing, exploring, cooking, baking, crafting, and spending time with my cat, Persephone.

Rik Svien

Math, Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Trigonometry, Physics, Chemistry, Spanish

Hello Everyone!  My name is Hendrik Svien, but I just go by Rik. I have been blissfully retired for almost six years after teaching high school science, math and ESL for about 33 years.  I started out teaching in California and Arizona before returning to my home state of Minnesota, where I subsequently taught at a state Arts High School, a school for Hmong students and a traditional, inner-ring suburb district, all in and around the Twin Cities.  My wife and I were lucky enough to teach in international schools in Peru, Jordan, and Panamá for the last eight years of our careers.  These days, I spend my time as a volunteer tutor working with adult ESL and GED students and, more recently, high school students who lack resources to hire tutors and need help keeping up with classes. I also have been concentrating a lot more on Spanish lately and am actually making some progress (I hope)!  I am a guitar and oud player and love world music, especially flamenco and Middle Eastern music.  I am looking forward to meeting and working with students in the Ignited Minds program.

Ronnie Varchetto


College App

Hello my name is Ronnie Varchetto. Formerly from Las Vegas, Nevada, I moved to Wisconsin where I graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2020. I
graduated with a degree in Biology. I also went to a tech college to get my license as a CNA to help out during the COVID pandemic in a local hospital. I am applying to PA
school in the Wisconsin area to further my life’s goal of helping better the lives of others. After graduation I look to travel the world as a traveling PA. I was part of the honor society Phi Theta Kappa in college and tutored many friends throughout my college experience. I was awarded student of the year in my high school and had a film award named after me for introducing film into the school’s theater department. In my free time I enjoy golfing, basketball, playing the drums, wakeboarding, hiking, and hammocking

Jenna Viscaya

ELA and French

Born in Washington D.C., raised in the Midwest, and schooled in New England, Jenna took her BA in English and Philosophy (Bennington, Boston University) and her love of poetry to California, where she became a women’s health activist, midwife, pre/postnatal counselor and co-founder of one of the first community women’s clinics (founded 1974, still running as a community-controlled branch of the county hospital). Certain that a medical revolution would soon follow, she became a Doctor of Oriental Medicine (MA, N.E. School of Acupuncture, Boston). After twenty years of teaching in graduate schools of East Asian medicine and practicing acupuncture (in Boston and Santa Fe), she added an MA in Counseling and spent her last ten years in the workforce doing psychotherapy at UNMH and in private practice. As a counselor doing Expressive therapies and working in Arts in Medicine, Jenna led groups in Poetry for Alzheimer’s, composition, narrative therapy, composed haiku for hospital in-patients, and taught yoga and acupressure to outpatients. As a professor of Oriental Medicine, she taught a range of courses from theory to clinical skills. As a counselor, she has worked with people with long-term mental illness, developmental disability, and in drug courts in the Pueblo communities. As a professor, she taught adults, many of them professionals from medicine and pharmacy careers in other countries immigrating to the US. Her teaching style is flexible, creative and inventive while being true to the topic being taught. Now retired (but not retiring), she spends time in Albuquerque with her husband and two dogs, gardening, walking daily and cooking. When possible, she meets her ex-pat daughter for world adventures in places with abundant water. In the local community, she has enjoyed being part of a cabaret song and dance troupe, doing musical theater, and singing in a choir. She is an avid exerciser, indoors and out, favoring dance, Pilates, yoga, swimming and kayaking.

Tom Yuster

Geometry, Algebra I & II, Trigonometry, Calculus

Tom Yuster is a retired mathematics professor. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1979. During his career, he taught at Middlebury College (1979-83) and Lafayette College (1983-2021). He has published in areas including finite group theory, fluid dynamics, and malaria modeling. During his time at Lafayette College, he served as the Coordinator of the Values and Science/Technology program, in which he taught a course on HIV/AIDS. He was also supervisor of the Calculus Cavalry, a peer tutoring organization operating out of the Mathematics Department that provided the majority of mathematics tutoring on campus. His calculus videos are freely available on YouTube. Tom enjoys playing tennis, although he doesn’t move nearly as well as he used to. It may be time to take up pickleball.

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