New Mexico

Alliance for Children

Creating healthy communities through the arts

Board of Directors

Dr. Bruce Klinekole, Treasurer, a member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, holds a Doctor of Chiropractic from the Parker School of Chiropractic and a Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Neurology Board. Dr. Klinekole has been practicing for over sixteen years in Ruidoso. He is active in community engagement for Eating SmART.

Dr. Michael P. Clements, M.D. is a physician and long-time resident of Ruidoso who is currently engaged in full time private practice here. Dr. Clements’ area of specialization is Geriatrics. He is also board certified in Hospice and Palliative Care, and serves as Medical Director of the Hospice Center in Ruidoso. In addition to his duties as a private physician in Ruidoso, Dr. Clements serves as the Medical Director of the Mescalero Care Center. He is an active community supporter of Ruidoso’s Old Mill Preservation Society and has a special interest in NMAC’s nutritional and healthcare projects.

Ms. Debbie Haines-Nix believes wholeheartedly that we should actively participate in the leadership of our community and our state. As a founding board member of Leadership Lincoln, board member of New Mexico First, past committee member of ACI, and 2007 recipient of the Annual Governor’s Award for Outstanding New Mexico Women, she advocates for the education and development of future leaders. As a founding board member and past president of H.E.A.L, Inc., (Help End Abuse for Life), Debbie has worked in Lincoln County to address the catastrophic impact of domestic violence on our families. Debbie is a twelve year veteran life coach and trained facilitator who currently conducts Inspired Living retreats and workshops held at her Sanctuary on the River Inspired Living Center.

Advisory Board

Mr. John McPhee, M.A. Coordinator of the Childhood Injury Unit for the New Mexico Department of Health is also the New Mexico representative for the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Mr. McPhee is a contributing editor to the "Healthy Environments and Living Spaces" curriculum. He is also a contributing editor to the "Improving the Safety of Child Care Environments" curriculum for daycare providers.

Melina Atencio Romero, M.A., has served as Director of Region IX Head Start from 1998 to the present, overseeing all systems and services for the three Head Start programs in Lincoln County and supervising a staff of 26 employees. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Management and a Bachelors of Social Work, with a focus on Early Childhood Development and Education. She is an active supporter of NMAC’s family literacy and health and wellness programs for children.


Media/Public Relations

Bill Yorston, Proprietor of Ruidoso Computer Genie, Website and computer services

Registered Dietician

Amy R. Maupin, BS, MS, LD (Licensed Dietician), RD (Registered Dietician) RD # 633461, CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator), has served as Registered Dietician at Mescalero HIS Hospital for 12 years.

Fitness Professionals

Sarah Crewe, Certified Level 1 USAT Coach, Certified Level 2 ASCA Swim Coach, Certified YogaFit Instructor, Instructor and Chairperson, ENMU Physical Education Department

Andrea Reed, Proprietor, The Dance Gallery, ballroom dance instructor and instructor of children's dance, three years experience as dance coordinator for Eating Smart

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Dr. Robert Thigpen, Ph.D., Chairman of the Board, who now resides fulltime in Alto, NM, is Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the University of New Orleans, and was Chairman of the Political Science Department there for many years. Dr. Thigpen has taught classes on public policy, including the politics of food distribution. He is actively involved in fundraising efforts and volunteer recruitment for the NMAC's health and wellness projects.

Executive Director, Julia H. Price, M.A.

Julia has served as Executive Director of the New Mexico Alliance for Children, an educational non-profit organization, since 2002. She also serves as Program Director for Eating SmART. She developed Eating SmART in 2007 as a pilot program for the New Mexico Collaboration to End Hunger's statewide effort to reduce food insecurity for children in economically deprived circumstances. Julia previously taught English, writing, and art at the high school and college level for twenty years. She is a Regional Coordinator for the New Mexico Collaboration to End Hunger, a member of the Board of Directors for the Southwestern Arts Alliance, a member of the Ruidoso Regional Arts Council, and an active visual artist.

Programs Coordinator, NMAC, Rebecca Thigpen Coyne , PhD

Rebecca  brings to New Mexico Alliance for Children her enthusiasm for developing programs that meet the needs of the whole child. Dr. Coyne holds a PhD in Multicultural Teacher and Childhood Education from the University of New Mexico and a Master’s Degree from New York University in Childhood Education. She taught preschool through the fourth grade for seven years in New Mexico and Hawaii. She has also taught graduate and undergraduate classes within the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

ALPHA Effect Facilitator:  Douglas Thigpen has served on staff with the New Mexico Alliance for Children as an ALPHA Facilitator since February 2014. He previously volunteered with our educational non-profit from 2007 to 2013, participating as a chess coach in our summer enrichment programs and also assisting with community gardening projects. Douglas holds a BA in Psychology with a minor in English from the University of New Mexico.

Douglas states that “While working with the New Mexico Alliance for Children, I have had the privilege of leading participants through the ALPHA music program and the art activities that accompany it. It has been rewarding to guide listeners through the transformative experience and an amazing opportunity to witness astounding degrees of growth within the short time frame of the program.”

Summer Brooks, an ALPHA Effect Facilitator for NMAC, is a Reading and Literacy Specialist. Ms. Brooks has a background in Special Education, working with persons to overcome learning challenges.  Ms. Brooks enjoys working with people of all ages and volunteers in her community to support learning and creative development. Ms. Brooks holds a Masters of Education in Reading and Literacy from Eastern New Mexico University and a Bachelors of Arts in Education with an emphasis in Language Arts and Special Education from ENMU. She trained as an ALPHA Practitioner in the Spring of 2012, and is currently coordinating ALPHA programs in the Ruidoso area.

Patsy Neely, NMAC’s Family Literacy Coach, was born in New Mexico.  She relocated to Nevada to attend college at UNLV, where she received her Bachelors of Education, and taught for several years in Las Vegas and Reno.  She returned to the “Land of Enchantment” in 1993, where she taught elementary school in grades 2, 3, and 6.  She also taught Reading Methods at Eastern New Mexico University, and Creative Writing at the Clovis Community College.

Patsy’s love of literacy has led her to become a Literacy presenter and consultant.  She uses rich literature as a springboard to teach in many different venues.  Patsy coordinated the annual “Poetry-Olio,” a community gathering of all ages, to share poetry, for five years in Portales.  It was a great success!  She is also a poet and storyteller…and tinkers with playing the ukulele!

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