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

Sarah grew up in Indiana on a small farm. She got her Bachelor's Degree from Ball State University in Public History and finished her education program at SFCC. Sarah now lives in Albuquerque with her husband, Kaleb. They love going on adventures together and experiencing new things together! Sarah loves to read, be with animals, cook, bake, and garden. She also loves to have fun and find fun ways to learn with her students. Sarah has taught middle school history for 3 years and this is her 2nd year in teaching 1st grade. Her classroom vision is to cultivate a safe environment for mistaking and learning for all!

Second Grade Teacher, Jamie 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 started 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

Kate learned to love reading growing up on the shores of Lake Erie, spending long summer afternoons fishing and reading. Hooked on mysteries. During her undergraduate degree at Emerson College in Boston, MA, where she studied performance and directing for Children’s Theater, she discovered that writing can actually come from movement, dance and storytelling rather than fighting the white of a blank page. With newfound passion for learning outside of fill-in-the-blanks, Kate completed her Master’s degree in Education at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA., in Integrating the Arts into School Curriculums. She holds a Level III NM teaching license in Language Arts with endorsements in Reading Instruction and Performing Arts and an Intermediate K-8 Elementary License.

Fifth Grade Teacher (Social Studies & Language Arts), Jared Shrack

Mr. Shrack started teaching at CVCS in 2014. After becoming a dad, he took some time off teaching but is now back in the classroom half-time. Mr. Shrack enjoys teaching reading, writing, and social studies, but he also loves his afternoons at home with his son, Anders. Mr. Shrack grew up on a family farm back in Indiana. He loves gardening, raising chickens and goats, reading, cooking, and working with his family on their little four-acre farm here in Socorro. He and his family are working to create a self-sufficient farm where they produce their own alfalfa, wheat, eggs, and dairy products.

Fifth Grade Teacher (Math & Science), Chi Le

Mrs. Le grew up in New Orleans. She got her BA in Classics from the University of New Mexico where she met her husband Dan. She got her teaching license from CSULB and taught for four years in Los Angeles and four more in Espanola, NM. She is the proud mother of two children, Claire and Adele, at CVCS. Her hobbies include family outings and reading classical literature. She is a level 2 teacher with a master’s in teaching math and science from NMSU.

Middle School Math & Technology Teacher, Qing Qing Cui

Qingqing Cui grew up in China and came to the USA for graduate school at the University of Kansas in 2008. She has taught at the University of Kansas for three and a half years of college math classes before she came to New Mexico. She moved to New Mexico in 2015. She had worked in calculus labs at New Mexico Tech for one semester and then taught in Socorro High School for two years. She joined the CVCS middle school team in 2019. She lives with her two children and her husband. When she is not teaching, she likes to paint, read books, cook, and spend time with her family and friends.

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

The study of language, culture, and faith are passions that led Emily to want to teach Spanish at CVCS. Originally from North Carolina, Emily began studying Spanish in 11th grade and earned a B.S. in Spanish and International Business at Meredith College, Raleigh, NC with studies abroad in Spain. She has an M.Div. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY and is nearly completed with an M.A. in Hispanic Linguistics from NMSU, Las Cruces NM. Emily has a Level 1 Alternative License with endorsements in Bilingual education, TESOL, and Modern and Classical Languages. Her favorite Spanish teachers are her husband from Spain and her two kids. Her goals for teaching K-5 Spanish at CVCS are 1) to facilitate a love for bilingualism, literacy, NM heritage and world cultures; and 2) to build heritage and second-language Spanish skills.

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

From doodling cross-sections of mice homes and planting fairy gardens in baking pans to devouring books in the tree house and writing fictional letters to a friend across the ocean, Linnea's life has always been infused with imagination and stories. Her love of writing inspired her to pursue a B.A. in German and English at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and she even seized the chance to study abroad in the crooked, cobble stoned streets of Heidelberg, Germany.

In spring 2016, Linnea took over as the art teacher at her childhood school. She has a Level I K-8 License through the ALP at Santa Fe Community College and has an endorsement in Visual Arts. She loves sharing art from different peoples, times and places with her students and helping them learn to rise to new challenges. She also has the privilege of writing with the sixth graders, where they dream up “juicy details.”

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. It wasn't until attending NM Tech after high school that she embraced the beauty and outdoor recreational fun that surrounds Socorro. She lived in Santa Fe for many years working in home health as a CNA (certified nurses assistant) and completed an American Sign Language Interpreting degree from Santa Fe Community College. She returned to Socorro to be with her future husband and found her love for teaching young students while working at Head Start in Vegita and Socorro. After enjoying many years as a stay-at-home mom and completing her bachelor's degree in general studies from NMT she worked for CVCS's after school program and has loved being an educational assistant since 2017. In her free time she enjoys taking her children into the great outdoors!

CVCS Educational Assistant, Ana Jacobs

Ana is a Socorro native. She attended NM Tech studying Psychology. She is new to CVCS as an educational assistant but not new to educating children, having three of her own. Ana relishes every opportunity to learn more to better help her in working with children and their educational needs.

Outside of school Ana can be found playing multiple instruments in the local community band, experiencing the joy of the great outdoors with her children and husband or simply unwinding with a good book (or Netflix).