Learn about who we are and where we come from! Our staff members are responsible for the development and implementation of our initiatives and contracted work. If you would like to work with our team, you can learn about the services we provide here and contact us here.

Danielle Gonzales

Executive Directordanielle@nmfirst.org505-225-2140

Danielle was born and raised in New Mexico and comes to New Mexico First with over 20 years of experience working on education policy and management. Her most recent position was with The Aspen Institute where she served as Managing Director, convening education and policy leaders across lines of difference to improve outcomes for students. Previously, she worked as a Senior Program Officer for The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, focused on K-12 and post-secondary policy. She also held several positions at the Pew Charitable Trusts where she was recognized as national expert on pre-K policy and advocacy, particularly related to pre-K governance, and English learners. Among Danielle’s very first work experiences was working as an intern for the late U.S. Senator Pete V. Domenici.

Danielle achieved her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Spanish Language and Literature from The George Washington University, where she was a Harry S. Truman Scholar, and her Master of Education from the University of Notre Dame. 

Danielle serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for Transforming Education and was recently elected to serve on the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education.

Danielle enjoys hiking, running, and spending time with her family.

Sharon Berman

Civic Engagement & Policy Manager

Sharon Berman joined New Mexico First as staff in 2013. She has a background in education, anthropology and music. After moving to Corrales with her family in 2004, she managed a museum-on-wheels program for the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, designed education curriculum, and co-founded a charter school in Albuquerque. Sharon holds a M.A. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Montreal and a M.A. in Visual Anthropology from the University of Southern California.

Theresa Cardenas

Civic Engagement & Policy Manager

Theresa is a native New Mexican born and raised in Santa Fe with a passion to serve her community. Her farming, ranching and native family roots date to the original New Mexico settlements. She has over 25 years of dedicated experience working as a social entrepreneur as a social worker, home builder and as a science advocate to improve and sustain the natural, cultural and built environment for future generations. She has expertise in public policy at the local, state and federal level at the intersection of air, water, climate, electricity and resiliency. She formally served as a climate and energy outreach consultant to the Union of Concerned Scientists. In her role she worked in partnership to use independent science, analysis and effective advocacy to create practical solutions to make New Mexico resilient and sustainable.

Theresa is a 2013 fellow at the National Hispanic Leadership Institute in Washington DC and Harvard Kennedy School, holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico and a masters of sustainability degree from Arizona State University with a concentration in water resources. In 1990 she was a citizen ambassador to Russia with the Citizen Ambassador Program, Design for Health Care Delegation. She is an avid hiker, gardener, flamenco artist and researching her particular family ancestry for a legacy museum collection on New Mexico families.

Kenn Rodriguez

Admin. & Communication Coordinator

Kenn is an award-winning journalist and writer. A native Norteño Nuevo Mexicano, Kenn earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Journalism with a minor in Chicano Studies from the University of New Mexico in 2003, He also served as an AmeriCorps volunteer at the North 4th Arts Center for four years. In addition to writing for the Albuquerque Journal, Santa Fe New Mexican and other regional newspapers, he has also managed social media accounts and worked in the communications field for over 30 years