LAS VEGAS, NM – A new board of directors for the Highlands Alumni Association will help the university better connect with its graduates and community.

Highlands Alumni Association members voted for the new directors July 22 – Aug. 1.

“It’s very important for Highlands to be closely connected to its alumni for purposes of recruitment, support, and outreach to the community,” said Juli Salman, Highlands’ alumni coordinator. “Our alumni are our most valuable resource and our best ambassadors.”

Salman said the makeup of the new Alumni Board of Directors represents a cross-section of the university’s alumni with a wide age range, geographical diversity, and representation from Highlands’ centers across Northern New Mexico. A current student will also serve on the board.

A committee composed of the executive director of the HU Foundation, the current president of the Alumni Association, a HU Foundation board member, and Highlands’ alumni coordinator solicited names of prospective board members.

The new directors are:

  • David Bunch graduated with his master’s in education from the Highlands Rio Rancho Center in 2010 and is the principal of Alameda Elementary School in Albuquerque.
  • Dan Cassidy earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Highlands in 1981 and his MBA from Highlands in 1987. Cassidy serves as the director and operator of the Roller Mill Museum in Cleveland, New Mexico, and operates the Cassidy Farms.
  • Ernesto Fresquez earned his bachelor’s in marketing from Highlands in 1977 and his MBA in Management from JFK University, San Francisco Bay Area in 2002. His professional experience includes the management of the Carneros Ranch, a sustainable ranching and registered llama enterprise in Arabela, New Mexico.
  • Shawn Gale earned his bachelor’s degree in fitness administration from Highlands in 1990. He has been on the leadership team of Defined Fitness for more than 20 years and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce.
  • Jeannae Leger earned her bachelor’s degree from New Mexico State University in 2002 and her MBA from Highlands in 2005. Leger serves as the administrative services manager for the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee.
  • Vince Marchi earned an MBA from Highlands in 1993. He has had 12 years of experience in Healthcare philanthropy at Presbyterian Hospital and has served as the president of the Adaptive Sports Program NM since 2011.
  • Martha McCaffrey graduated from Highlands in 1961 with a bachelor’s in history and English and graduated from the University of Maryland in 1976 with a master of library science degree. McCaffrey worked for 25 years as a high school media specialist in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. She has served as a mentor for AmeriCorps interns from the Highlands Media Arts Department.
  • Ane Romero is a nationally recognized and award-winning mental health advocate, speaker, and trainer who was born and raised in New Mexico. She received her bachelor’s degree in political science and MBA from Highlands, where she served as student body president and was appointed to the New Mexico Commission on Higher Education.
  • Josephine Sena graduated from Highlands in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and in 2002, with a master’s degree in Southwest studies, Hispanic language and literature. She earned a second master’s degree in library and information science from the University of North Texas. She has been employed at Highlands’ Thomas C. Donnelly Library for 15 years, seven of those years as a librarian.
  • Curt Spencer attended Highlands on a football scholarship and is a 1983 graduate with a degree in secondary education/health and physical education. Spencer has been an educator for 27 years in the Albuquerque Public Schools, Zuni Public Schools, San Felipe DeNeri Catholic Schools, Hope Christian, and the New Mexico Activities Association.
  • Leah E. Wolff is the manager of web application development software for The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department, where she has spent the last eight years managing and supervising software development and software production support for one of the state’s largest agencies.