Our Staff Members

Administrative Staff

Keres Learning Center 2023
Dr. Curtis Chavez
Director of Advancement/CEO in Training

“KCLC is a place that makes me feel at home. KCLC makes me proud and happy to be apart of their team. I support KCLC’s mission because it gives hope to our children and community to learn the Keres language.”

Trisha's Board of Directors 2023
Trisha Moquino
Co-Founder/CEO/ Keres Speaking Montessori Guide/ IMI Facilitator

“I love working at KCLC because children have the opportunity to realize their whole salves inclusive of language and culture. It makes me so happy to hear our emerging bilinguals (Keres/English) and to be a witness to their joyfulness. So much hope.”

Keres Learning Center 2023
Mara Matteson
Administrator

“I love that KCLC does education the way that works for children and the community honoring the whole child, the language and community the child comes from, not in isolation, but in an intergenerational community setting.”

Trisha's Board of Directors 2023
Celeste Naranjo

“I love that KCLC supports our families in the effort to maintain our Keres language with a holistic approach. It makes me proud and happy to hear all staff, volunteers, and students making a joint effort to speak our language daily.  I’m hopeful that we continue to reclaim our education for our children’s future. I support the mission of KCLC because it allows our children to be their whole self and not hide who they are as Cochiti Pueblo children. The iiwas are able to let their inner Pueblo child shine.”

Keres Learning Center 2023
Jerome Garcia
Interim Director of Operations

“KCLC is a place where Cochiti kids can learn our language first hand and can get the education they need to succeed in the two worlds we as Indigenous people live in. I’m happy to see that parents and their kids are wanting to learn our language when not in the home and this makes me hopeful for the future of Cochiti people and our traditions.”

Keres Learning Center 2023
Eileen "Povi" Mitchell
Director of Indigenous Montessori Institute (IMI)

I love how KCLC is flexing Indigenous Educational Sovereignty. KCLC makes me happy and proud that I do not have to “leave my Indian” at home. I get to be my full Pueblo self and not have to worry about being misunderstood or looked at differently for speaking the importance of our languages, cultures, and traditions in the workplace! I have always hoped to be able to work in an environment that honors my beliefs and KCLC has made that possible for me. I support KCLC’s mission, KCLC is actively reclaiming our children’s education and honoring our heritage. The iiwas don’t have to put their Cochiti identity second when they enter their classrooms, it is encouraged and brings everyone together to keep encouraging their learning. The iiwas are also learning beyond what is taught in a “traditional” classroom setting and truly leading, not just their wonderful classroom guides, but all of us, in their learning.

Keres 2024
Jennifer Sanchez
Administrative Assistant

As a KCLC employee, I fully support their framework for educating the “whole child.” For KCLC, educating the “whole child” means and I quote, “that we support all areas important to the successful growth of Pueblo children, including linguistic, spiritual, intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development.” I was assured upon becoming a staff at KCLC the same values would be exemplified throughout the school and in our everyday work as staff.  It is important we demonstrate a positive role model for the children.  As a KCLC staff the ongoing development of the “whole person” is a value I was then, and am now, still eager to embrace, both for the children enrolled in KCLC and for the staff who oversees their learning experience.

Keres 2024
Tenasha Ansera
IMI Program Assistant

“KCLC’s environment is surrounded by goal-oriented staff and children. I work with passionate people who come in every day and strive to be the best version of themselves so that I can support the work that is done at KCLC. KCLC creates inner warmth, and you see the future shining brighter. I support the mission in many ways, not only as a staff member but also as a parent raising children in Keres. KCLC helps keep the language intact and nourishes the spiritual side of my life as an Indigenous person.”

Keres Learning Center 2023
Katie Kitchens
Assistant Head of School

“I like that KCLC humanizes all members of the community – children, staff, families. It is a place of joy and love. KCLC embodied liberatory education. Also, the children are briliant, hilarious, generous, responsible and caring – it is an honor to get to spend time with them everyday.”

Classroom Staff

Infant/Toddler

Keres 2024
Dominique Quintana

“I love that KCLC is a safe place for students and adults to speak and learn Keres. Hearing all the iiwas respond in Keres gives me hope for the revival of the language here in Cochiti. I support KCLC mission because I want our youth to learn about our way of life while supporting their academic journey.”

Keres Learning Center 2023
Loretta Cordero
Keres Speaking Infant Toddler Montessori Guide

“KCLC gives me hope when I hear the children talking in Keres. I love that KCLC allows and encourages our Cochiti children to be Cochiti children without having to choose between or alter in excelling at all academics, here at KCLC they can do both. I feel like the Montessori method fits into our way of life, we want our children to be confident, independent and their own person and that’s what KCLC and the Montessori method helps our children with.”

Keres Learning Center 2023
Dee Mody

“KCLC gives me hope when I hear the children talking in Keres. I love that KCLC allows and encourages our Cochiti children to be Cochiti children without having to choose between or alter in excelling at all academics, here at KCLC they can do both. I feel like the Montessori method fits into our way of life, we want our children to be confident, independent and their own person and that’s what KCLC and the Montessori method helps our children with.”

Keres Learning Center 2023
Anita Suina
Cultural Language Teacher

“KCLC is a one of a kind institute. It carries everything a child needs to learn. I’m proud to be part of KCLC’s daily achievements and hopefully the iiwas will be able to carry on our language and traditions. Each day we do our best to support and honor our heritage and our language by the iiwas and the community speak our Keres language.”

Primary

Jacob Chavez
Keres-Speaking Primary Montessori Guide

“I like that KCLC supports myself and my community with learning and furthering our Keres language. The constant learning and the passing on of knowledge make me proud because it is our way of life and it don’t stop. I support our mission of KCLC because language is who we are as a people.”

Rolinda Chavez
Keres Speaking Montessori Guide

“What I like about KCLC is it’s an intergenerational school, just like life, no one is in a setting of the same age group.  The school is set up like the outside world beyond school doors. Seeing the children grasp on to the language and speaking it on their own makes me have hope that their generation/future generations have the opportunity to make it become their 1st native tongue. I support KCLC because we are given an opportunity to give to our children to learn about our way of life during school.”

Joelle Cordero
Keres Speaking Primary Montessori Assistant

Elementary

Laini Szostkowski

“My favorite thing about KCLC is the community. Everyone here is committed to living the mission and values of the school. The children are grounded in their cultural identities, supportive of one another, and joyous in their learning. I am grateful to learn from them every day! Dr. Montessori believed that education was the key pathway to freedom and justice. It is an honor to be a Montessorian working in service to Indigenous language revitalization and educational self-determination.”

Gabby Rosetta
Gabby Rosetta

“I really enjoy the environment at KCLC, especially speaking in Keres with the Iiwas. It is a completely different experience than I expected, especially since I am new to Montessori education. I am so happy to be surrounded by amazing staff who care deeply about our Keres language and care about educating and continuing our way of life for our young people and our community. I am so proud of the Iiwas whose first language may not have been Keres, but English and hearing them say phrases and sentences is such a beautiful and hopeful feeling. I feel the mission closely aligns with how we live as Pueblo people. This mission reminds us to understand who we are, why we are here, and what our purpose is. This connects us as language learners, educators, and members of our community.”

Keres Learning Center 2023
Dwight Mody

At KCLC everyone supports each other & unity as a family, things are in a positive way. I enjoy KCLC to see the joy in the iiwas faces, always eager to learn about our traditions and culture, to hear them speak in keres. I have not heard iiwas speaking in keres in a long time. KCLC makes me happy and hopeful for our younger generation. The teaching of our values, tradition, and way of Cochiti people treasures the land, language, and culture to be preserved for generations to come. The dedication for the employees passing on the future for the iiwas.

Adolescent

Keres Learning Center 2023
Jennifer John
Keres Learning Center 2023
Bernard Suina
Keres 2024
Dale Naranjo

“I like the Keres language support. What makes me proud is seeing how the students use the language. As staff and students, I have the hope that we will all strive to learn the language and become more proficient, and that one day we will all be fluent. I support KCLC’s mission by continuing to speak the language. Another reason why I support KCLC is its teaching method using the Montessori method. When I sit in class and observe the students work with each other in an open classroom environment, I am amazed at how young they understand the day-to-day tasks they are given.”

Programming Staff

Keres Learning Center 2023
JeniMae Mody
Keres Learning Center 2023
Angelica Garcia

“I like that KCLC integrates Keres language into academic daily learning for the iiwas and staff. I am pleased with how much I have learned at KCLC, particularly having that safe space to speak Keres. I feel confident at KCLC knowing that all staff can gain from one another. I see KCLC’s mission used daily as I fully support the mission of KCLC. Learning the language and culture is a top priority for KCLC.”

Keres Learning Center 2023
Kemara Williams
Infant Toddler Assistant/Mentor Apprentice Program Assistant

“I like working at KCLC because I get to work with children, learn more about the language, and relearn our traditions.”

Avelina Garcia

“I enjoy learning with the children every day. Immersion allows you to speak Keres every day. I greatly feel appreciated. The children, teachers and staff at KCLC will always provide you with inspiration and support in speaking Keres. I love hearing the iiwas speak the language, which pushes you more to become a fluent speaker. I truly believe that we must educate our children with language and cultural teachings from birth. Language and culture are important. Revitalization is necessary to pass on the tradition to the next generation.”

Keres 2024
Apryl Arquero

Support Staff

Keres Learning Center 2023
Carlos Pecos

“Hearing the iiwas speak in Keres brings warmth and joy. I am hopeful the iiwas will be able to speak Keres fluently because I have never seen a school like KCLC before. I fully support the KCLC mission as it helps me become a better Keres speaker and KCLC gives me that safe space.”

Patrick Suina

“I like KCLC’s immersion approach to education, which includes daily use of our Keres language and lessons. The Keres Children’s Learning Center makes me feel confident, cheerful, and proud. Hearing our Iiwas communicate in the Keres language at various ages brings joy. I support KCLC’s mission as it is the most vital place to revitalize our Keres language.”

Keres Learning Center 2023
Deollo Johnson
Movement Instructor

“I like the warm, and supportive environment. The staff are genuinely good-hearted with strong positive intents for the young ones. The children are growing in a place that nurtures their highest expression.”

Jo Hird
Iiwas Playhouse Recreation Teacher

“There’s such a positive and genuine atmosphere here. I’m fortunate to be a part of the good-natured and caring KCLC team.”