New Mexico Division Representatives

Division Directors represent and advocate the issues and concerns of their specific division level as they pertain to art education in New Mexico. They are a point of contact for the New Mexico art educators specific to their division statewide, regardless of membership.

Melissa DeMaagd (she/her), Elementary Division Representative

Albuquerque Public Schools, Elementary Art Teacher

Melissa is an art educator with the Albuquerque Public Schools Fine Arts Program for the last eight years. She is a mentor teacher through the APS Mentor Program as well as a cooperating teacher for UNM. She believes creating art allows you to be human and enables a unique medium of self-expression. She loves weaving and spending time outdoors hiking, cycling and climbing. She got her masters in Art Education at UNM in 2015. She is excited about her new position as NMAEA Elementary Division Representative and looks forward to connecting with other elementary art educators across the state.

Contact Melissa at



Pam Elam, Middle School Division Representative

Contact Pam at 

Jill Dooner (she/her), High School Division Representative

Explore Academy (Albuquerque), Art Educator

Jill Dooner is a Level III Visual Arts teacher at Explore Academy Charter School. While working as a pastry chef with an undergraduate degree in art, she decided to go back to school for licensure to teach art, ultimately earning an MA Ed from the University of New Mexico. After spending nine years in the Rio Rancho school district, she chose to become part of of a fledgling charter school. Collaborating with eleven colleagues to create a school from a concept is a career highlight. Still at the school which is now in its fifth year, Jill serves as the department head for electives, and teaches classes in drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, and mixed media.

Contact Jill at

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Gig Yu (she/her), Higher Education Division Representative

University of New Mexico, Assistant Professor of Art Education


Dr. Gigi Yu is a University of New Mexico assistant professor in Art Education and the NMAEA higher education division representative. She has 20+ years visual arts teaching experience with young children to adults in community settings, museums, higher education, and public- school classrooms in Arizona, Chicago, Wisconsin, and New Mexico. Gigi worked with the Paradise Valley Community College (Collaborative Educators Institute), Albuquerque Art Museum, Santa Fe Opera Early Childhood Initiative, Albuquerque Public Schools Office of Early Childhood, and Chicago Artist Partners in Education providing pedagogical leadership and professional development facilitation, with an emphasis on early childhood art education. Gigi is the co-founder of the Collaborative Teachers Institute, a New Mexico statewide professional development initiative. Currently, she co-teaches preschool and caregiver art classes for the Albuquerque Museum. Gigi’s work with young children inspires her to see her own artistic practices in new ways. The early learning programs of Reggio Emilia, Italy and their deep respect for children’s artistic languages inspire her creative work and research. While working at Chicago Commons Child Development Agency she served as studio art coordinator, a role inspired by the atelierista from the early learning programs in Reggio Emilia, Italy. This role continues to inspire her work as an art educator/researcher. She is the co-editor/author of In Conversation with Reggio Emilia: Affirming the Rights of Emergent Bilinguals and Multilinguals, a forthcoming book published by Routledge. She also serves as an issue editor for the publication Innovations in Early Education: The International Reggio Emilia Exchange.

Contact Gigi at


Marissa G. Mascareñas (she/her), Pre-Service Division Representative

University of New Mexico, Undergraduate in Art Education

Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico Marissa grew up in the culturally rich

South Valley area. The same area where Marissa would later become part of the

Albuquerque public school system before moving on to higher education. She would

then join Apprenticeships For Leaders In Mosaic Arts also known as A.L.M.A right after

graduating from high school. This is where she would immerse herself in a diverse

group of young artists from around the city with the purpose of designing and

constructing a mural for the city. Immediately after Marissa attended Central New

Mexico Community College; proudly and enthusiastically earning her Associate in Fine

Arts. With a thirst for knowledge and experience, Marissa would later transfer to the

University of New Mexico majoring in Art Education with a focus in Ceramics. Currently

attending the University of New Mexico, Marissa is developing her teaching pedagogy

based on critique and communication. Inspired by the Reggio Emelia Approach, she

pulls the use of documentation heavily rooted in the values of that pedagogy and

applies it to her own. Valuing the ability of students to effectively communicate not only

their work but also the work of their peers. Marissa explores the documentation practice

of accordion journaling; creating multiple accordion journals based on ceramics and Art

Education to further her understanding of the content. By reflecting on her thoughts and

ideas based on these topics, Marissa is able to create long-term mind maps of these

concepts. Wanting to reflect on this practice in her own class one day, she hopes to

build the confidence of young artists so that they are able to create deeper and more

meaningful conversations about their work.

Contact Marissa at


OPEN POSITION, Admin/Supervisor Division Representative

Please reach out to one of our executive officers if interested in this position.

Kemely Gomez, Museum Division Representative

Museum of International Folk Art, Museum Educator


Kemely Gomez is an artist and museum educator, currently working at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa, NM. Gomez was born in Guatemala and moved to the United States at the age of twelve. She received her BFA in Studio Arts from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design in Santa Fe, NM. Gomez’s studio practice focuses on themes of memory, absence, and displacement. As the bilingual educator she is dedicated to expanding access to museum education and empowering individuals and communities through art.

Contact Kemey at


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Phyllis Kennedy (she/her), Retired Division Representative

Retired Art Educator, Albuquerque

Phyllis’ career in the arts and education started in second grade when she discovered overlapping all by herself. What a mind-blowing visual concept. She continued her studies at Kingswood Cranbrook (HS), RIT printmaking (BFA), and NYU photography (MA). In the early 00’s she served as executive director of the New Mexico Alliance for Arts Education during the time advocates were mobilizing to pass the 2003 Fine Arts Education Act. Inspired by the many arts educators and administrators involved in the targeted legislative advocacy campaign, she obtained a New Mexico elementary teaching license with Visual Art endorsement. 


Phyllis taught for five years. She then proceeded to work for the state arts agency, New Mexico Arts - first as a contract researcher and writer, then on staff as a program coordinator and arts education manager for seven years. Since retiring from New Mexico Arts in June 2021, she has returned full circle to her arts practice. Her photographs can be found in the New Mexico Museum of Art, the Albuquerque Sunport (photograph relocated to City Hall after 9/11 renovations), and the City of Albuquerque Public Art collection.

Contact Phyllis at


Amy Tanner (she/her), Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Liaison

Contact Amy at