CVCS Teachers

Contact Information, Supply Lists, etc.

Kindergarten Teacher, Jill Abraham

Jill grew up in Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado. She originally moved to Albuquerque, NM in 1989. She met her husband, Wayne, and had a son, Jordan, while in Albuquerque. Later she moved, with her family, to Tucson, AZ for 3 1/2 years, then to Reno, NV for 5 years. In the fall of 2005, they moved to Belen, NM to be close to both sides of the family. In January, 2006, Jill went back to school for her Early Childhood degree. She graduated summa cum laude in 2009 from UNM Albuquerque. In the summer of 2009, she obtained her Early Childhood license with a TESOL endorsement. During the 2009-2010 school year she substituted in the Belen and Los Lunas school districts. For fun, Jill enjoys reading, crocheting, spending time with family and entertaining friends at her home.

First Grade Teacher, Sara Esquerra

Ms. Esquerra is joining us this year and is excited to be a part of our great school.

Second Grade Teacher, Jaime Fassett

Mrs. Fassett grew up in a ranching family in Nebraska and Colorado. She graduated from Oklahoma St. with a degree in Animal Science and completed her education program at NMSU. She lives in Socorro with her husband and two daughters, and in her free time, she reads, swims, works with her many animals, and explores new ways to make learning fun for her students. Mrs. Fassett began teaching second grade at CVCS in August of 2015. Classroom Philosophy: I want to inspire students' lifelong passion of questioning, problem solving, and desire to expand their knowledge.

Third Grade Teacher, Deborah Matcham

Mrs. Matcham moved to Socorro six years ago from Northern Vermont. She holds a degree in Recreation Leadership from Becker College in Massachusetts and later earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education/Psychology from Johnson State College, Vermont. Mrs. Matcham holds a New Mexico Level II license and starting teaching at CVCS in 2016. In her spare time she enjoys reading, gardening, cooking, and spending time with her husband and sons.

Classroom Philosophy: Children need to feel safe, accepted, and valued before they can be ready to learn.

Fourth Grade Teacher, Kate Burleigh

Fifth Grade Teacher, Kamala Kilari

Ms. Kilari is joining our teaching staff this year and we're excited to have her teaching our fifth graders.

Middle School Math & Technology Teacher, Qing Qing Cui

Ms. Cui is joining our staff this year and is looking forward to contributing to and strengthening our technological expertise as well as teaching math to our middle schoolers.

Middle School Science & Math Teacher, Tommie McSherry

Ms. McSherry grew up on a small farm outside of Deming, NM. In 1999 she moved to Socorro to attend NMT, where she earned a B.S. and M.S. in Biology and a teaching license through the ALP. In her free time she enjoys being outdoors with her family gardening, playing and caring for their many animals, and hiking. Ms. McSherry began teaching at CVCS in 2012, teaching science, math, and gifted students.

Middle School English Teacher, Gail Lujan

Gail Lujan grew up in a small town in Massachusetts, but has lived more than half her life with her husband, Joaquin, here in the Rio Grande valley of New Mexico. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts and became a teacher when her children began school. For the last many years, she has loved her job as a classroom teacher here in New Mexico and currently holds a Level III license with endorsements in Language Arts, Social Studies, TESOL, and Reading. In her free time, Gail likes to read, follow Boston sports teams, and play with her pets. Classroom Philosophy: Public Education is the lifeblood of Democracy.

Middle School History Teacher, Diedra Vinson

Ms. Vinson joined us this year. We are looking forward to her sharing is wide range expertise with our middle school students.

Special Education Teacher, Denise Gilson

Denise grew up in Socorro, NM, stomping and romping in the desert. She began her journey as a musician, earning her B.M. in Flute performance and M.M. in Music Composition. Later, she became a teacher with the NYC Teaching Fellows program, teaching while earning her M.S. in Special Education in 2009. Currently, Denise holds NM Level III licenses in Music K-12 with endorsements in Math 5-9, and Special Education K-12. In her free time she loves to run on trails, bake and eat deliciousness, hangout with her family and friends, and read YA novels. Classroom Philosophy: Questioning is learning.

Spanish Teacher, Emily Brindle

Ms. Brindle is joining our staff this year. She's bringing a fresh perspective to our Spanish program and we're excited to have her with us.

Music Teacher, Beth Crowder

It's hard to say whether music or farming is more important to Beth; neighbors have overheard her singing to her bees sometimes! She is in her ninth year of teaching music at CVCS, and loves her job of creating something special for each grade to participate in, from international tunes, math songs and campfire rounds, to popular music and building instruments. She holds degrees in chemistry and biology from UNM, and her family was part of the group who built the BEMP site that CVCS visits monthly. Her favorite three people are her own great kids! In her free time, Beth likes to hike, care for her farm/bees, ski, sing & play music with friends, and READ!

P.E., Dezirae Armijo

Dezirae was born and raised in Socorro, NM. She developed a passion for sport and exercise at a very young age while being involved in AYSO and youth basketball leagues. She went on to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Health & Exercise Science from Adams State University in Alamosa, CO. While she was attending school, she played on the Adams State Women’s Soccer Team for four years. Her hobbies include doing anything outdoors, reading, painting, and yoga. Now that she is back home, she is extremely excited to share her passion of health and exercise with the students. Classroom Philosophy: Health is wealth.

Art & 7th Grade Writing Teacher, Linnea Burleigh

Linnea Burleigh is just a great art and 6th grade history teacher.

Physical Therapist, Cindy Leclerc


Cindy grew up in Maine and attended Colby College where she earned a B.A. in Biology and Environmental Science in 1997. She then earned a Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy from the University of MN, Minneapolis. After all that school she had the opportunity to live in Montreal with her husband for 4 years. They then decided they wanted to raise their kids in the United States. Socorro, NM became the place of opportunity for just that in 2007! They have 3 kids who now attend CVCS and Cindy is glad to help service the needs of this small school. She also services pre-k thru 12th grade for the entire Socorro School District as well as Magdalena. Working with kids has been her passion but she has also practiced in the hospital, outpatient, home health and nursing home settings since 2003.

CVCS Educational Assistant, Patti Chavez

Patricia Chavez is from New Jersey and a graduate of Montclair State college with a BS degree. She moved to New Mexico in 2002 and is married to Mr. Mike. Patti has three children, all who are grown with careers. Her son's work in California, her daughter works in Oregon, and her stepson is an investigator in New Mexico.

Patti continues her career as an Educational aide. She has worked at Cottonwood Valley as a special education educational aide since 2007. Having worked in this field for 20 years, it still brings Patti joy! She continues to be an advocate for special populations here at Cottonwood Valley.

CVCS Educational Assistant, Eva Greenwood

Eva was born in Springerville, Arizona. She lived in various places in New Mexico while growing up. Eva volunteered at San Antonio Elementary School in the mid to late `80's, was a substitute in Magdalena `90-`01, and traveled many miles with the Magdalena FFA (Future Farmers of America), basketball and track teams. Eva stayed home after her two boys graduated high school. She then substituted at CVCS and began full time in 2002.

CVCS Educational Assistant, Lisa Arendt

Lisa grew up in Albuquerque and Socorro and finished her General Studies Associates Degree from New Mexico Tech. After, she spent a few seasons focused on rock climbing and camping at Heuro Tanks, Texas and then moved to Santa Fe and became a CNA (certified nurses assistant). She worked while earning an Associates in American Sign Language Interpreting from Santa Fe Community College. Lisa then moved back to Socorro to be with her future husband and worked at Head Start while earning a Childhood Development Associates (CDA). At Head Start, she learned the importance of early childhood education and found a love of working with students. After her 1st child, she began working at CVCS's after school program. She then took time off and dedicated herself to her family of her husband and two children. Lisa then finished her Bachelors in General Studies from NMT and came back to CVCS as an Educational Assistant in 2017. In her free time, she loves to take her kids to the Great Outdoors!