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Faculty Bios

 W. Todd Lindsay- Superintendent/Principal -  is a 1981 graduate of Carrizozo High School.  He has a bachelor degree in History and a Masters of Education from New Mexico State University. Todd is also a Certified Athletic Administrator from the NIAAA. Todd attended WNMU to receive his credentials in Educational Leadership. He has served in the US Navy as an Aviation Administrationman (AZ3) Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, WA.

I was raised in Carrizozo and after High School attended NMSU and ENMU where I learned to Steer Wrestle.  I have had the opportunity to travel across the United States to rodeo as a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.  In 1994 my wife Shelley and daughter Tawney moved back to Carrizozo where I traveled to Rodeos from. In 1996 my son Wyatt was born and I decided I needed to finish my education and get a real job.

When not rodeoing I started substituting School here in Carrizozo and decided a career in education was for me. So I returned to New Mexico State and completed my degree. I got a job in Truth or Consequences as the History Teacher of Hot Springs High School, the next six years I was the Ag Teacher and eventually moved to the Middle School so I had more time on weekends and summer to continue Steer Wrestling and taking my kids to Junior rodeos.

I completed my educational Leadership classes and finally made my way into a leadership role as the Transportation/Athletic Director. After two years I was moved back to Hot Springs High School as the Assistant Principal and eventually the Principal. I spent 19 years in Truth or Consequences where I raised my family and built a small ranch raising Brangus Cattle.

When the Superintendent Job was posted I immediately applied not thinking I had a chance at the position. I was hired in March 2018 for the Position of Superintendent. I feel to have the opportunity to lead your home school district is an honor. I want the students in Carrizozo to know their greatness, and that their dreams can come true and Carrizozo Schools has had many graduates accomplish many great things. It is truly an honor and a blessing to have the opportunity to serve this school and community.

Swinney Rowena Rowena Aragon Swinney is the 2nd grade teacher at Carrizozo Municipal Schools in Carrizozo, New Mexico.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Education, with her major in General Science, at La Salle University Philippines in October 1996.  Her first teaching position began the following month.  From May 1997 to May 2007, she taught biology, chemistry and physics at Stella Maris College (High School Department). 

After a decade working as a teacher, she decided to try something new. In March 2008, she had the opportunity to work abroad in one of the largest hotel chains in the world, Marriot Hotels in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. 

In 2010, she finally joined her husband in Los Angeles, California.  From February 2011 through May 2012, she worked as a Program Leader at an after school program at Lynwood Elementary School in Lynwood, California.

She began teaching in Carrizozo in 2013 as a 5th grade teacher.  Additionally, she also taught 5th and 6th grade science classes.  She has been teaching 2nd grade since 2014 school year.

She loves to bake, cook, sing, and play the classical guitar.  


Serna Lydia A Ms. Lydia A. Serna is the 4th grade teacher at Carrizozo Municipal Schools in Carrizozo, New Mexico.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM in the year 1997. She also received her Masters of Education in Education from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales. She began her career in education as a Special Education teacher in Los Lunas Middle School for one year; followed by a year in Alamogordo, NM at Buena Vista Elementary. She began teaching regular education in Carrizozo 17 years ago: two years in the high school.  Then she moved to 5th grade for a year. She has taught 4th grade for the past 14 years. She has two sons, Craig and Cory, who graduated from Carrizozo High School; two beautiful daughters-in-law, Rosa and Heidi; two grandsons, Jonathan and Remy Collins. She loves to read, sew, and work in her yard. She also enjoys going to Jonathan’s piano recitals, and her grandsons’ soccer games. She is very involved in her church community as a counter of Sunday collection, lector, and choir. Message from Ms. Serna My father only went to school up to 5th grade, and my mother went to eighth grade.  I grew up with the values of hard working parents who valued education.   I always tell my students that if they get a good education, they will be successful as an adult and in their career choice.  I also tell students that it is never too late to get an education. I was 45 when I received my Bachelor degree; and 55 when I received my Masters. I am the first of 16 siblings to receive a higher education degree. I like the quote by Jaime Escalante, “Ganas (enthusiasm) is all you need.”


Gallacher Kellie Mrs. Kellie Gallacher is the Kindergarten teacher at Carrizozo Municipal Schools in Carrizozo, New Mexico.  She received her Bachelor of Business Administration majoring in Finance from New Mexico State University and her Masters of Arts in Teaching from Western New Mexico University.  She began her teaching career teaching 6th grade at Carrizozo in 1994.  Her second year in teaching was in 3rd grade and her 3rd year she taught kindergarten and has been teaching kindergarten ever since.  She is married and has three children.  The oldest daughter attends New Mexico State University, the middle daughter is in high school, and her son is in elementary.  Her husband is a ranch manager for Gallacher Land and Cattle Company.  He also serves on the nominating committee for Farm Credit of New Mexico and on the board for the Carrizozo Natural Resource Conversation Service. Kellie loves teaching, learning, reading, hiking, and watching grizzly sports. She also loves spending time with her family and friends. She is a member of: Carrizozo People For Kids (PFK), United Methodist Church, Carrizozo, Canyon Cowbelles, New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau and the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association. Message from Mrs. Gallacher: I like to encourage my students to follow the golden rule.  I believe if you treat others with respect it will be given to you in return.  I would like to thank the town of Carrizozo for their continued appreciation and pride of our school and students.  The success of our students wouldn’t be possible without the support of the community behind them.  It is great to be a Grizzly!!


Jackson Dale Mr. Jackson aka Coach is the high school Social Studies Teacher, Head football coach and Assistant Track coach. I received my Bachelors of Science degree in secondary education from Eastern New Mexico University and my Masters of Education degree from Grand Canyon University. Then I earned my Administrative license from the University of New Mexico. I am starting my 27th year in education. I have had a rather eclectic career teaching, coaching and administrating in a variety of schools from Middle school to college. During these experiences I‘ve held a  number of different positions to include all social studies classes from 7th – 12th, coaching from 7th grade assistant to 6A head coach. Administratively I’ve held various positions as well, to include Assistant Principal, Principal, Athletic Coordinator, Dean of Students. My wife and I have raised three children who are at various stages of their college careers. My wife of 29 years Cindy, a fellow educator now works for the University of New Mexico as a” Focus” Verifier. My interests include nearly all sports, hiking, skiing, woodworking and just about any outside activity.


Pierson Katherine Mrs. Pierson teaches 5th Grade, is Assistant Volleyball Coach, Jr. High basketball coach, and head Jr. High track coach. I received my Bachelors of Science degree in Elementary Education from Western New Mexico University. I also have a Master’s Degree in Education Leadership through Western New Mexico University. I began my teaching career in Truth or Consequences where I taught for 18 years. This is where I met my husband of 21 years. We have two children a daughter Kaitlyn who is a freshman in college at Western New Mexico University. Our son is a junior in High School here at Carrizozo High School. We made the decision to move to Carrizozo four years ago. This has been one of the best decisions we have made for our family. We absolutely love living in Carrizozo.  I began teaching 2nd grade at Carrizozo Elementary and did this for two years. Last year I moved to 5th grade where I am currently teaching. Outside of school I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I also enjoy reading and cross stitching when I get the chance. 


Elizabeth Barela Mrs. Elizabeth Barela is the 3rd grade teacher at Carrizozo Municipal Schools in Carrizozo, New Mexico.   She is a graduate of Carrizozo High School and a lifelong resident of Carrizozo.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Education of Elementary Education and Endorsement of Bilingual Education from Eastern New Mexico University in 2007.  She will graduate in May 2016, from Abilene Christian University with her Master of Education Leadership of Learning-Principal Track.  She began her career in education as an Instructional Assistant in Carrizozo, assisting teachers at the elementary level.  She then left Carrizozo Schools to complete her degree.  Her first teaching job was in Ruidoso, New Mexico at Sierra Vista Elementary.  She taught a First Grade Bilingual class.  While she enjoyed doing this, she wanted to teach in her home town.  In 2008, she interviewed for the 6th grade position at Carrizozo Schools.  She taught 6th grade for one year before doing an in-house transfer to third grade.  This is her 7th year as the 3rd grade teacher.  She is married and has 3 sons, Patrick, Ethan, and Braide and one daughter, Hailey.  Patrick attends Eastern New Mexico University, and the remaining three attend Carrizozo Schools.  Her husband works for the New Mexico Department of Transportation. She enjoys spending time with her family, riding horses, hunting, watching her children play sports, and teaching. Message from Mrs. Barela, My family emigrated from Mexico in 1978. I was born a citizen of the United States in December 1980.  As illegal immigrants, my parents feared deportation so they seldom traveled anywhere, except to buy necessities; but all the while, they worked on becoming residents.  In 1986, they became residents of the United States of America.  My father instilled the importance of hard work, always striving to do better, and the importance of education.  In 1997, my father became a United States citizen.  He is my hero!  He has accomplished so many things in his life.  Because of him, I am the first in our family to graduate high school, receive a bachelor's degree, and the first to earn a Masters.  You can accomplish many things through hard work and determination.


Dena Odell

Originally from California, I have lived in New Mexico since 1993 and in Lincoln County since 2001. 

School year 2018-2019 will be my 21st year of teaching public school in New Mexico. This year will be the 13th year I will teach elementary arts for grades K-4 and the 7th year I will teach 1st grade here in Carrizozo.

Before 2002, I taught 6 years in Socorro and 1 year in Santa Fe. I earned my teaching license through the University of New Mexico, but I graduated from Lesley College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. My undergraduate education was a degree in Environmental Education. This year I will earn a Master’s Degree from New Mexico Tech in Science Teaching.

Before teaching, I worked in the retail industry, home health care, and daycare. I also was a founding member of a nonprofit community organization in Missoula, Montana.

I love teaching, especially hands-on, experiential, and highly engaging teaching. However, since I started teaching first grade, I have also come to love teaching children how to read. It is highly rewarding to see my first graders at the end of the school year reading independently.

Besides teaching, I enjoy spending time with my family in the outdoors, riding my bike on the weekends and summers, skiing in the winter, and traveling near and far.


Carol Wilson Carol Wilson gets to combine four of her passions in life as a part of her job as Carrizozo Schools, where she serves as Culinary Arts Instructor, Librarian, and Yearbook instructor.

Wilson, who has written for newspapers and magazines for the last 33 years, loves telling stories and enjoys teaching students how to tell their stories in the Yearbook class. She also teaches fundamentals of photography and layout design. She gets to share stories and great books in her job as librarian, and prepares students for high-demand, high-wage jobs in foodservice in her role as Culinary Arts instructor. 

Wilson and her husband, Rex, ranch north of Carrizozo, raising calves, boys, and horses where the prairies meet the mountains and the mountains kiss the sky. Rex and the three Wilson boys, Justus, Kendal, and Marshal, are all graduates of Carrizozo High School.

"I've seen graduates of Carrizozo go out in the world and fulfill big dreams," Wilson stated. "Our job is to teach students to be life-long learners who are self-motivated."

Wilson's education includes a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Extension Education, Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication, and Masters of Agriculture and Extension Education with a minor in Special Education, all from New Mexico State University. She has taught Special Education, English, and History at the Carrizozo Schools for the past 11 years.

Wilson encourages her students towards excellence, not perfection. Her favorite quote is one that she first heard from her son, Marshal, who lives by Aristotle's words, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."


Tanja Burns Tanja Burns is the middle and high school science teacher for Carrizozo Municipal Schools. What a fabulous location and community in which to teach science! Tanja is a BSC Honors graduate of the University of Western Australia, with NM Teacher Certification in Secondary Education from Santa Fe Community College. She arrived to the USA by winning an inaugural North American Australasian postgraduate work scholarship, met and married her husband of 26 years, who is from Wyoming. She has worked in education from the outback of her home state of Western Australia, to schools in the city of Perth, as well as in the USA at Arapahoe WY [Wind River Indian Reservation], Lander WY, Sanders AZ [Navajo Nation], and Tularosa, Cloudcroft and Alamogordo NM. Tanja ‘s favorite accomplishment in life is contributing to her family, of which she is very proud: her husband teaches elementary school in Tularosa, one daughter is entering her junior year of high school in Alamogordo, while the other is a accomplished social worker/administrator and newly wed in Kansas City. When teaching science, Tanja believes that effort, professionalism, observation, thinking, asking/questioning and creativity are the essential ingredients for both the teacher and student. She strives to engage her students to continue a life long journey in using what they learn in science class well beyond school, throughout their lives, to keep inquiring, inspiring and contributing.


C Barella Cathy Barela is the Dean of Students at Carrizozo Municipal Schools in Carrizozo, New Mexico.  She earned her Bachelor of Science in Education at New Mexico State University in December 1996.  Mrs. Barela earned her Masters of Education in Elementary Education at Eastern New Mexico University in 2006. She has been in education for 19 years, starting out as a Head Start teacher in Ruidoso, NM.  Cathy started at Carrizozo Municipal Schools in August 1997. She has taught 5th grade and 2nd grade. Then moved to the Technology Coordinator position and is currently the Dean of Students.  Cathy has been married for 21 years and has 2 children, Cirsten and Tristen.  Cirsten is a Freshman at ENMU-Portales and Tristen is a sophomore at Carrizozo High School.  Tristen is involved in sports and active in FFA.  Her husband, Chris, is a supervisor for NMDOT and currently serves on the Carrizozo School Board.

Cathy believes that people should be part of the solution, not the problem.  She enjoys being with family and friends, reading, baking, and quilting.


Allison Greene-Wall

Allison Greene-Wall is the Carrizozo Middle and High School English teacher for 8th-12th grade and Advanced Placement Literature/Composition and Language/Composition. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History from New Mexico State University where she was a Crimson Scholar and a Phi Alpha Theta: National History Honor Society member. She did graduate work in Special Education at the University of Texas at El Paso, and earned a Master of Science in Literacy from Walden University in Minnesota. She has over twenty years of experience in teaching in Texas and New Mexico.

Currently, she lives in Ruidoso and worked for six years at Ruidoso High School teaching English, ENLACE, World History, Government and Economics, Duel Credit and AP U. S. History, where her husband of 31 years still teaches English and Drama. Prior to RHS, she was the Social Studies teacher and curriculum writer for an ESL high school in the South Valley of Albuquerque. Before moving north, she worked for twelve years in the Gadsden School District as a middle school and high school teacher in special education, content mastery, science, social studies, and research skills.

She has a New Mexico Certification to teach English, Social Studies, Family and Consumer Science, Gifted and Talented, TESOL, and Special Education with twenty years of experience in education. Although, not born here, she has lived most of her life in New Mexico and El Paso. In her limited spare time, she is a fiber artist who spins fiber, knits, crochets, felts, sews, and weaves. Although before becoming a teacher, she was an archaeologist, she finds that being an educator has been the most gratifying work she has ever performed and finds every day it is a pleasure to work with our young people.

  Michelle Smith-Scott (Mrs. Smith) teaches 6th grade at Carrizozo Municipal Schools. Mrs. Smith received her Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education, with a minor in Educational Psychology at New Mexico State University, graduating with Distinguished Honors.  She was accepted into and successfully completed the NASA pre-service teaching institute at Johnson Space Center.

 Mrs. Smith began her professional life in the United States Army where she worked in technology.  She then worked for the Texas Youth Commission in juvenile corrections, earning the rank of Lieutenant.  She wanted to reach and make an impact on youth before they became incarcerated so she decided to teach.  Her classroom motto is, “No Excuses, I’m Dyslexic” and is placed above her numerous academic achievements. 

Mrs. Smith is married and has three children.  Mitchell will be a Senior, and will join the NAVY after graduation. Jayden and Tylannie will both attend Carrizozo Elementary School. Mrs. Smith looks forward to and enjoys spending time with her family. She is excited about becoming a part of the ZOZO community!  Mrs. Smith would like to thank the wonderful citizens of Carrizozo for their warm and friendly welcome. Go Grizzlies!