Executive Director, NISN and Founder, NACA
Kara Bobroff is Navajo/Lakota and began her career as a Special Education teacher in Albuquerque, teaching students with behavioral disorders. She served as Assistant Principal of a low-income school in Albuquerque and a middle school in Marin County, CA. As Principal of Newcomb Middle School in New Mexico, Kara worked with 250 Navajo students and seven reservation communities. She facilitated more than 50 community conversations that led to the founding of the Native American Community Academy (NACA) in 2006, and NACA-Inspired School Network (NISN) in 2014. Under her leadership, NACA has been recognized as a model for effective indigenous education by the New Mexico Indian Education Sub-Committee and has been invited by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to participate in national strategic reform for Indian education. In 2012, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) in conjunction with the MetLife Foundation recognized NACA as one of 10 schools in the country for its ability to promote high achievement in spite of serving a large number of students living in poverty. NACA was recently highlighted by the state Legislative Finance Committee as one of the few middle schools in the state to show great promise. Kara has been recognized as one of the “Best Emerging Social Entrepreneurs” in the country by President Obama, awarded a national Echoing Green Fellowship, and is a current Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow. She earned a Master’s in Special Education and an Education Specialist degree in Educational Administration as a Danforth Scholar from the University of New Mexico, where she received the Zia Award for University of New Mexico alumni for distinguished service in the field of education.
Fellowship Director/Team Lead, NISN
As NISN Fellowship Director and Education Team Leader, Alan Brauer plans, executes, and evaluates the NISN Fellowship. He brings a strong background in education and leadership to NISN, coaching and mentoring new teachers to achieve ambitious academic results. He also has strong experience building partnerships with districts, communities, and families. Alan began his career as a teacher at Smith Lake Elementary in New Mexico, where he was also a Teach For America Corps member. He continued his work as a leader with Teach For America, both in New Mexico and as a Managing Director and Site Director in Maryland for 12 years. Alan earned a Master of Arts in Teaching, in Elementary Education from Western New Mexico University and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Goucher College.
Director of Facilities and Operations, NISN
As Chief Operating Officer, Daniel Ulibarri is responsible for ensuring the success of the NISN network and the implementation of the NISN vision, key functions, finance, operations, facilities, and management. He has over 18 years of experience working in management and systems analysis. Daniel previously worked as the Executive Director for Educate New Mexico, Inc., which provides K-12 scholarships to low and moderate income families in New Mexico and served as the lobbyist there to aid in the passage of educational reform legislation. He also served as State Director for Parent Involvement with the Texas School Choice Program and Director of Public Affairs for the Credit Union Association of New Mexico. He holds a degree in Business Administration from Sterling College.
Director of School Evaluation & Design, NISN
As Director of School Development, Corina Chavez works with and supports NISN Fellows to complete the charter application process, supports school development planning or placement, evaluates and refines the Fellowship curriculum, and assists in the creation of schools of academic excellence and cultural relevance. Corina has worked in education since first starting her career as a program assistant/tutor for the American Indian Upward Bound/TRIBES program at the University of Colorado in 1987. Her background is extensive in education, program oversight, charter school management, and program evaluation. She also has vast experience working with American Indian populations through her work as an Independent Consultant with Bureau of Indian Education schools where she focused on fundraising, program monitoring, and evaluation. Before coming to work for NISN, Corina served as the Performance Oversight Coordinator for the New York State Education Department and the New Mexico Public Education Department as an Education Administrator in the Charter Schools Division. Corina holds a Master of Arts in Community Psychology from the University of Texas and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Colorado. She is a licensed teacher in the state of New Mexico.
Director of Data, Analysis and Reporting, NISN
As Director of Data, Analysis and Reporting, Tom Genné works with each network school team and Fellows to ensure that Student Information Systems (SIS) and Student Assessment Systems (SAS) are in alignment, effective, and accurate. He most recently worked with the Research, Deployment and Accountability Department with Albuquerque Public Schools for the past 15 years and as its Director for the last eight. One of his responsibilities included leading a team that analyzed data for nearly 90,000 students in order to improve academic outcomes. For many years Tom also served as a Principal of several K-12 schools in rural Alaska, where he worked with Alaskan Native communities. He brings a school leader’s experience in establishing schools that serve Indigenous populations. Tom holds a Master of Education in Public School Administration from the University of Alaska and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Montclair State University. He is licensed as both a teacher and administrator in the state of New Mexico.
Program Support Specialist, NISN
As Program Support Specialist, Clarence directly supports the Executive Director and provides administrative and logistical support of the NISN team. He also serves as a community liaison, providing on-site technical support to community partners. Clarence first came to the Native American Community Academy in 2007 as Out of School Time Learning Director and later served as College Engagement Director. Before joining NACA and the NISN, Clarence worked as Research Project Coordinator for the University of New Mexico NM CARES Health Disparities Center. He has an extensive background supporting youth and Native American causes, both as a consultant and in positions with the New Mexico Forum for Youth in Community; Save the Children’s Western Area Office; the Navajo Nation in Shiprock and the National Indian Youth Council, Inc. in Farmington. He also served on the Board of the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry. Clarence earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Brigham Young University and is continuing his education with graduate studies at the University of New Mexico.
Director of Professional Development & Curriculum, NISN
As NISN Director of Professional Development and Curriculum and Instruction, Josh Krause works with NISN Fellows and school teams to develop professional development plans, provide technical assistance in Curricular Design and Assessment, and trains teachers to develop academically rigorous and culturally relevant curriculum. He is a talented educator who has inspired many new and master teachers to refine and develop their craft. Josh began his work with NACA five years ago, most recently as NACA’s Professional Development Lead and Humanities Leader. Josh also served as lead instructor of Central New Mexico Community College’s(CNM) Alternative License Program and Growing Educators for Native American Communities (GENAC). He was a 2014 Emerging Leader with the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and a Presidential Fellow for Curriculum Development at CNM. Josh earned a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Assessment from Fordham University and a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He is currently working toward a Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies (LLSS) at the University of New Mexico.
Indigenous Education & Knowledge Manager, NISN
Kristin Szczepaniec is from the Seneca Nation and is responsible for the NISN Indigenous Education Knowledge Management System to facilitate the sharing of best practices across schools with educators both nationally and internationally. Before coming to NISN, she served as the Director of Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships for Teach For America's Native Alliance Initiative by leading and supporting the work to build a strong community of Native teachers and educators focused on Culturally Relevant Education. Kristin also served as a Math teacher at the Pueblo of Laguna. She earned a Masters of Public Administration in Education Policy & American Indian Studies from Cornell University, holds a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame.
Kirsten is currently the Fellowship Director with NISN in Oklahoma. In this position she’s worked with each of the five Oklahoma based NISN fellows as they engage with their communities. In this role she supports school designers in learning more about their communities, what parents and families want for their children and translate those hopes and dreams into an action plan for a school in their community. Prior to joining the NISN team, Kirsten worked in multiple organizations including Teach For America and New Leaders. Her career has been focused on helping future leaders develop the skills necessary to have the resilience to lead their schools for the long run. She has a Bachelors degree from Penn State University, an MBA from Argosy University and is pursuing an EdD at Southern Methodist University in K-12 Educational Leadership. Her research focuses on understanding the set of professional experiences impacting leadership styles of school leaders who are currently leading schools in high need settings to academic outcomes.
Coaching & Instructional Leadership, NISN
As the Director of Coaching and Instructional Leadership, Valerie supports NISN school leaders by ensuring their instructional and curricular plans support student learning and fosters continuous school improvement. A core part of her work is to support network teachers through the practice of observation, reflection and mentoring. Valerie is from the Pueblo of Laguna. She was a teacher for thirteen years; nine of those years were at NACA, where she taught Native Literature and Humanities. Valerie was a curriculum writer on several New Mexico-based projects and serves as an educational advisor to her Pueblo. She was the Board President of the Laguna Department of Education, Project Coordinator for a Laguna language initiative and currently serves on the Pueblo’s Education Priority Team. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University and a Master of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico.