A Child's Garden - Staff

Becca Benson

Lead PreK Teacher

Becca Benson graduated with her bachelor's degree from the University of New Mexico in December 2012 from the Early Childhood Multicultural Education program, and is currently attending UNM to pursue her MA in Elementary Education with a focus in Reflective Practice. She has been teaching at A Child's Garden since January 2013 with 4-year-olds and Pre-K. Prior to graduating, Becca taught at a private preschool in Albuquerque for four years and worked at a church nursery for over 10 years. 

Carolyn Boykins

Assistant Teacher

Carolyn graduated with his Bachelor of Science from the University of New Mexico in Signed Language Interpreting in May 2014. He started working at a Child's Garden during the 2017-2018 school year. Carolyn has over 10 years of experience working within Early Childhood. Prior to working at A Child's Garden, Carolyn worked in various fields focused mainly within intervention and accomodations for children and individuals with disabilities and special rights within educational settings. 

Chyanne Gaylor

Lead Toddler Teacher

Chyanne Gaylor first started working at A Child’s Garden 2 years ago as a floater, then moved up to the infant room in the spring. This is her second year being a lead teacher at A Child’s Garden and she is excited about it. Chyanne graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Family and Child Studies from the University of New Mexico in May 2017. She wholeheartedly believes that early childhood education is very important to a child’s social and emotional development. She believes that even at this early age children are very capable learners and she mirrors that through her curriculum. 

Elisa Hernandez

Assistant Teacher

Elisa has been a teacher at A Child's Garden since 1985. She was one of the first TEACH scholars to receive her AA in early childhood education.

Elsie Coriz-Sandoval

Resource Teacher

Elsie lives in Santo Domingo Pueblo. She is currently attending CNM to get her Bachelor's Degree  in Early Childhood Multi-cultural Education. She is proud of her culture, loves to read, go on walks and doing Zumba.

Emily Kinsky

Lead Infant Teacher

Emily has a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education with 16 years of child care experience. She joined ACG in 2010. Emily teaches by theme through a play-based curriculum.

Gloria Romero

Assistant Teacher

Gloria has been working as an Assistant Teacher since 2002. She has her GED and is currently working with Mind in the Making Early Childhood Teacher's Course. She takes advantage of every opportunity to be involved in Educational training. She loves working with children, spending time with her family, reading, and listening to music.

Hope Bravo

Enrichment Teacher

Hope has been with ACG since the summer of 2012. She earned her B.S. in Human Development from the University of California Davis in 2007. After that she worked as a nanny and infant teacher in California, and as a nanny and toddler teacher in Hawai'i, before relocating to ABQ in 2012. The nanny positions were with six different sets of twins. She has two children who attend ACG, Nisa and Arthur. In her free time she likes to crochet, binge-watch Netflix, and play with her kids. smile She has had many positions at ACG, but currently serves as the Enrichment teacher in the Blue Room.

Ian Schiefelbein

Lead 3's Teacher

Ian Schiefelbein joined A Child’s Garden in the Summer of 2018. He has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin at Platteville with an emphasis on Early Childhood, as well as certifications in TESOL and Bilingual Education. Prior to graduating in 2008, he worked in early childhood programs throughout the Midwest, before obtaining his degree and accepting a lead position at a Reggio Emilia-Inspired program in Madison, Wisconsin. After relocating to New Mexico, he worked as an early childhood educator and adjunct professor in Santa Fe before joining the team at A Child’s Garden. In his spare time, he enjoys music, travel, and just about anything in the great outdoors.

Karen Katzenberger

Assistant Teacher

Karen graduated from UNM with a Bachelor's degree in University Studies. She enjoys teaching sewing to 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th graders in the summer at the Albuquerque Academy Summer Program.

Kari Salandre

Lead 3's Teacher

Kari has worked with ACG on and off since 1990. She is continually educating herself. She has 2 sons who both attended ACG. She loves to read to children and sharing her love for science.

Kathryn Morales

Enrichment Teacher

Linda Rose

Assistant Teacher

Linda has been working at ACG since 1986. She has worked with all ages. Her son, Danny, is an alumni and has a son. She loves being a Grandma, working and learning from the children.

Lynnette Sheridan

Assistant Teacher

Nia Sena

Lead Toddler Teacher

Nia, in 2009, became a Golden Apple Scholar. While working on her Bachelors Degree at UNM she worked at the NM National Dance Institute as a Tutor. Nia graduated from UNM May 2013 with a Bachelors in Early Childhood Multicultural Education. She began working at A Child's Garden that summer. She has worked with all age groups here at ACG.  She graduated in May 2015 with a Masters in Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies. In her free time Nia enjoys salsa dancing.

Olivia Natale

Assistant Teacher

Olivia Natale has worked at A Child’s Garden since the Summer of 2018. She started as a floater and then became an assistant in the infant room. Prior to starting at ACG Olivia worked for a non-profit doing advocacy work for quality early childhood education in New Mexico. She has her Associates degree in Early Childhood Multicultural Education with a concentration in Infant and Family Studies. She is currently working towards her Bachelors degree in the same concentration. She is passionate about early childhood education and believes strongly in the importance of quality care and education for all young children. The early years are so important and Olivia believes in taking a child-centric and strength-based approach to early education. She sees all children as competent and capable and believes in partnering with the child in the learning process. 

Sandria Cook

Enrichment Teacher

Sandria has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art/Biology and another degree in Education. She began teaching at ACG under the directorship of Nancy Thomas. For the past several years she has been one of the Art/Drama teachers along with Kathryn Morales. She has taught at APS and at Head Start. Sandria has put in over 15+ years at ABQ Academy teaching ceramic sculpture during the summer session. 

She is also a practicing artist with mediums in clay and natural materials. She is member of FUSE, a group firing and maintaining the anagama wood kiln near Madrid, NM. It is Sandria's joy and privilege to explore and share with her students the art of storytelling, drama, song and dance, paint and paper, hands and hearts.

Sarah McKinney

Lead 3's Teacher

Sarah has a bachelor's in Political Science and Spanish from UNM, a master's degree in Early Childhood Special Education from George Washington University, and a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has taught in the Washington, DC and Bernalillo Public Schools. This is her first year at ACG, and she is excited to be working with such a supportive, inclusive, and innovative school community. In her spare time, she enjoys going on walks, playing with her three sons and husband, painting and doing home renovation projects.

Shelby Rael

Assistant Teacher

Shelby graduated with her AA in Early Childhood Education from Central New Mexico Community College in December 2017. Shelby is currently attending New Mexico Highlands University to complete her Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education. Shelby has worked at A Child's Garden since 2016. 

Wendy Chairez

Resource Teacher

Wendy recently started working at A Child's Garden. She graduated from Central New Mexico Community College with an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Multicultural Education. She is attending the University of New Mexico pursuing a degree in Family and Child Studies with a concentration in Early Childhood Multicultural Education. She is minoring in Teaching English as a Second Language. 

Wendy Wyman

Lead Infant Teacher

Wendy is originally from upstate New York where she received her Early Childhood Education degree. After college, she moved to New Mexico. Her career inlcudes 10 years at Albuquerque Preschool Co-op where she started the 2 year old program. She then worked at UNM Children's Campus where she was the first  teacher to have infants and was involved in starting the infant/toddler continuity of care rotation. She then became a grandmother and moved to ACG with her granddaughter, Madi. Wendy has been with ACG since 2003.

William Mutidjo

Administrative Assistant

William Mutidjo graduated with his bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico in 2013 in Political Science with a minor in Psychology. William has been the Administrative Assistant since December 2016. Prior to working at a Child’s Garden, William worked as Executive Assistant for a local nonprofit providing permanent supportive housing.


Mary Matteucci

Mary Matteucci

Mary joined the ACG Team as Director in January 2015.  She was born and raised in Albuquerque and has attended First Presbyterian Church for most of her life.  She received her B.A. and teaching certification from the University of San Diego in 1991 and completed her Graduate work at the University of San Diego, Texas Christian University, and the University of New Mexico.  She has been in the field of education for over 25 years.  She is dually certified in General and Special Education.  Mary enjoys running, reading, traveling (especially to the beach) and playing with her family which includes her husband, four fabulous children (three of whom attended A Child’s Garden) and her dog,Tara.