Nancy has lived in New Mexico nearly her entire life which has given her both a love of the outdoors and a respect for all living things in it. She moved to Las Cruces with her family when she was just a little girl. Her dad worked at White Sands Missile Range and her sweet mother stayed home and took care of the children. Vacations were generally back-packing trips into the Gila Wilderness, hiking, fishing, jumping into the ice-cold Gila River and sleeping under the stars.
Nancy is the proud product of the New Mexico public education system and a former educator. She graduated from Las Cruces High School and earned a degree in math education at New Mexico State University and began her career teaching student’s math and social studies in Las Cruces. She found true joy in helping others learn, giving them the opportunity and skills to choose their own path.
Nancy understands the struggles of balancing work, families and when the dollar just doesn’t go far enough. She married young and had 2 children while juggling her master’s education. She went on to get her Masters of Business Administration, with an emphasis in Business Computer Systems and got a job at White Sands Missile Range as a computer programmer, working for General Electric.
Our national labs and military installations provide a huge service to our nation and fund a significant part of our New Mexican economy. Right now, many of the biggest challenges we face will require technical solutions and we need leaders who understand what it takes to move our state to the front of the line in technology. As a programmer, Nancy worked on complex software systems that flew full-sized, pilotless aircraft used for test targets by the Army. She was in Mission Control for manned missile firings to assure that the software she developed performed perfectly. It was an exciting job to help support our country’s efforts to keep us safe with better technology and she was proud to be a part of it.
Nancy became a single mother and needed extra money, so at night she started teaching college classes for Dona Ana Community College at White Sands Missile Range and at the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility, west of Las Cruces. She saw the issues with our criminal justice system first-hand, and the contrast between students bettering their lives at the community college was not lost of her. It was very rewarding to work and these first-hand experiences inform her strong belief that improving education, particularly early childhood education, and rebuilding our mental health safety net, can keep New Mexicans out of prison and into productive fulfilled lives.
Nancy taught for the Community College for ten years until she was able to advance her primary career in science by working out of state with the Army Test and Evaluation Command as project manager on small business innovation research. Nancy's background studying small businesses success and failure will be an asset in economic development policy and diversifying New Mexico's economy. She retired in 2014 and she and her husband loaded up all of their belongings in a U-Haul truck and hit the road back to New Mexico. After 3 days, they finally reached the plains of eastern NM and from a distance, Nancy could see the Sandia mountains. “I knew I was home,” she said. “Home to the big blue skies, the wide-open vistas and the magnificent mountains of New Mexico”.
As Nancy reflects upon the many changes occurring in our world, she has realized that these treasures – big skies, clean water, high desert plateaus, matter. These are what makes New Mexico the Land of Enchantment. “I want to keep these treasures safe for us as well as for our children and grandchildren,” Nancy says.