Rachel Lee Waldrop – Director

When Ms. Rachel was growing up, she wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer AND a National Geographic Photographer. She spent many years of her childhood in Guatemala and loves to travel. Ms. Rachel’s favorite things are rock hunting, photography, gardening, learning about other cultures, live music, and being in the water.  She has been married to her husband David for fifteen years and has three children – ranging in age from nine to twenty-five. She has been in the early childhood education field for over 20 years and in addition to education, she also has a degree in cultural anthropology. Three words that describe Rachel are funny, compassionate, and activist.

“I love spending my time with children because they teach me so much. When you truly listen to children, you learn how innately wise and capable they are and are reminded that it’s still possible to see the magic in everything around you.”

Melissa Martinez-Gallegos – Assistant Director

When Ms. Melissa was growing up, she always wanted to be a teacher. She worked in the Dragonflies (2 year-olds) classroom at Garcia Street Club for three and a half years before becoming Assistant Director – a position she’s held since 2016. Melissa loves to play with her one year-old daughter Stella and hang out and have fun with her big family. Melissa is currently studying to be a Speech Language Pathologist and has always had a passion for supporting the development of language and communication in young children.

Three words that describe Melissa are level-headed, responsible, and problem-solver.

Amy Vargas – Teacher & Cook

Ms. Amy has worked at Garcia Street Club for over a decade. As the Kitchen Coordinator, Amy helps administer the food program. She plans and prepares healthy meals and snacks for the children. She also frequently works in the classrooms and helps keep the school organized and running smoothly. Amy was born in Embudo and grew up in Taos. She loves being outdoors – fishing, camping, or just spending time with her two daughters Andrea and Alicia, her step-son Nico, and the newest addition to her family – her baby granddaughter Avery.

Three words that describe Amy are happy, energetic, and reliable.

Molly Baker – Owls Class

Ms. Molly has wanted to be many things since she was a child – a cowgirl, an historian, an author, an actress, but one thing she always wanted to be was a teacher. Along the way, she has had many jobs including barista, trail builder, habitat restoration, and sheepherding. Ms. Molly has now been in the education field for over 6 years, but she has always taken on a role of teaching in any job or position she has held.

“I think I am a teacher because I love learning so much for the students, from the world, and from working through challenges in the classroom.”

Alex Irish – Owls Class

As a kid, Mr. Alex wanted to be a delivery milk man as well as an artist. “The plan was to distribute milk AND art during delivery routes.” He has now been working in the education field for over 6 years. His background is in creative writing and English literature and has had a number of short stories and poems published! When Mr. Alex isn’t at school, he is home enjoying a good book, sculpting, writing, and enjoying some family time with his wife, two young sons, and mother-in-law.

“The importance of pre-k development cannot be overstated; the opportunities to inspire and to instill a love of learning, and to foster that sense of wonder children have.”

Estella Grimaldo – Black Bears Class

Ms. Estella always wanted to be a singer, oceanographer, or philanthropist, but she has spent over 35 years in the education field. Ms. Estella is a teacher because she believes the children chose her to teach a long time ago, and she loves them very much.  She loves “beautiful” things including the sea, gathering with people of like minds and hearts, decorating, gardening, and storytelling. In her free time, Ms. Estella enjoys singing, collecting shells, going to movies and art shows, and gardening.

Ms. Estella describes herself as “a seeding flower” and always tells the children she is a zebra because of her mixed interests.

Alexandra Avila – Black Bears Class

Alexandra (Ms. Alex) has been in the early childhood education field for over six years and joined the Garcia Street Club team in June of 2020. She is married and has two children – Noah and Isabella. Alex loves to spend time with her family and when she was little she wanted to be a veterinarian, but later discovered a love for working with children. 

Three words that describe Alex are caring, honest, and hardworking.

Andrea Padilla – Red Foxes Class

When Ms. Andrea was a kid, she wanted to be like her grandma and become a hair stylist. Instead, she has had over 15 years of experience working with children in various settings including the City Youth Program, behavior management, and Head Start. Being a teacher is rewarding to Ms. Andrea, and she feels she’s making a real difference in families’ lives. Her favorite part about being a teacher is the interactions she has with children and watching them grow and develop. If Ms. Andrea isn’t working at school, you can catch her outdoors and soaking up the sun. She finds joy in sounds of nature and different kinds of flowers, makeup, sketching, and nail art are other things Ms. Andrea enjoys.

Gloria Burrola – Red Foxes Class

Even as a child, Ms. Gloria wanted to be a teacher and has spent over 12 working in early childhood education. Her favorite thing about working with children is learning and sharing with them. She has been married for over 20 years with three children, and she and Ms. Chely are sisters! Ms. Gloria’s favorite things to do are spending time with her family, home interior design, and dancing and singing. Ms. Gloria can seem a little shy but enjoys being silly and having fun with the children and families.

She can be described as responsible, hardworking, patient, and loving.

Carmen Ausserer – Jackrabbits Class

Ms. Carmen has her background in history and early childhood special education. When she was growing up she wanted to be a high school history teacher or an American Gladiator, but instead she has worked as a pre-K gymnastics teacher, nanny, and special education pre-k teacher. During her spare time, Carmen likes to bake, hike, knit, play Ultimate Frisbee, and is learning to garden. Carmen loves family, sunshine, dogs, and food. Carmen loves early childhood education and continues to teach because the children always keep her on her toes. She enjoys that she gets to be playful with the children and learn with them every day.

Three words that describe Carmen are kind, calm, and cooperative.

Aracely Lopez – Jackrabbits Class

Ms. Chely has worked in the early childhood field for over 12 years and has enjoyed being around children since she was a kid herself. Her favorite thing about being a teacher is watching them grow and learn, but she especially loves working with toddlers. Her favorite things are her family, food, her job, and dancing. During her free time, she spends time with her family including her brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews, and watches lots of movies.

Three words that describe Chely best are sentimental, loving, and jokester.

Cydney Remelius – River Otters Class

Ms Cydney is originally from Los Alamos. She lives in White Rock with her partner, two step-daughters, and her one year-old son Banner (who, by the way, got his name from The Incredible Hulk movie.) When she was little, Ms. Cydney wanted to be a veterinarian. She loves to hike, play games, do crafts, and spend time with her family. Cydney is currently pursuing her degree in Early Childhood Education and three words that describe her best are friendly, nurturing, and dedicated. 

“I love working with young children because it’s so rewarding to watch them learn new things and overcome obstacles.”

Genny Sanchez – River Otters Class

Ms. Genevieve (Genny) wanted to be a pediatrician or a pediatric nurse when she little. When she was younger, she did a lot of babysitting and taught in a local afterschool program, which helped her realize she wanted to work in the education field. Genny’s hobbies include doing crafts, taking nature walks, and spending time with her partner and four children. Genny has a great sense of humor and three words that describe her are friendly, outgoing, and loving. Ms. Genny loves adventure and would love to go skydiving one day!

Gentry Hilton

Ms. Gentry was born and raised in Santa Fe. She lives with her parents and her dog, Zac. Gentry has worked in the early childhood education field for about three years – mostly as an art teacher. Growing up, she always wanted to be an artist. She loves to paint and she regularly shares that passion with the children at Garcia Street Club.  She also enjoys cycling and tries to read as many books as possible. Gentry can usually be found playing chase and other games or making art with the children on the playground. Three words that describe Gentry are creative, energetic, and artistic.

“I love working with young children because I find their perspectives fascinating… and there’s never a dull moment!”

Ana Alarez

Ms. Ana was born in raised in Santa Fe and her family is from Chihuahua, Mexico. Ever since she can remember, she has been going to visit her family there. Ana is an adventurous person and is a former member of the New Mexico National Guard. She also has a deep passion for watching soccer. Her favorite team is a Mexican team called “America.”  Ana lives with her husband and her precious three year-old daughter Alison and loves to visit new places.

Three words that describe Ana are ambitious, kind, and responsible.

Josephine Lopez

Ms. Josephine is originally from Glorieta, New Mexico. She has been in the early childhood education field for over 20 years and has been teaching at GSC since 2013. When she was a little girl, Ms. Josephine wanted to be a dentist or dental assistant. Josephine loves to spend time with her family. She has a son, a daughter, and five grandchildren.

“I love working with children because it just makes my day to be around them. I love the things they do and say.”