THE STAFF WHO MAKE EVERYTHING POSSIBLE
“Everyone wants to be appreciated, so if you appreciate someone, don’t keep it a secret.”
Mary Kay Ash
REV. JUDY WELLINGTON
We welcome Judy back to La Mesa Presbyterian Church. Since Judy was here (2006-2013), she has had the opportunity to serve as Transitional Pastor with 2 different congregations - one from 2014-2017 and another from 2019 until now. Both were in Arizona.
Denia Napoli is the Office Administrator and began her tenure at La Mesa in October 2019. She migrated from Cuba at the age of ten and couldn’t wait to be old enough to join the US Army. She served her new country for six years during its time of need, deploying to both Iraq and Afghanistan. After receiving her college degree she relocated from Miami to Albuquerque with her supportive husband and their four children. Denia has found meaning in La Mesa’s mission of helping others and is excited to have joined the cause.
Leon began his work at La Mesa in September of 2019. His other career is as a performing arts teacher at Menaul School. He has a long history as a church musician and vocalist. Leon grew up in Lubbock, Texas where he sang and conducted church choirs from the age of 15. He attended college at Southern Methodist University. Leon has performed as a vocalist in the United States and in Europe and has a wonderful voice with an amazing range. He is also an accomplished pianist and voice coach.
YATZIRI Y GONZALES
Children and Youth Leader
Yatziri joined our staff on Christmas Eve 2017. She initially started as the Childcare Worker and has done so well, her responsibilities have been expanded to include working with Kids’ Club. Yatziri became involved in Arts Academy when her sisters were participating. After coming to events, she began to participate as a volunteer. She has assisted in teaching drama classes and beading classes. She has also taught an Arts Academy class on Ballet Folklorico. Yatziri’s major is nursing, with a specialty in pediatrics. She says that working with the church nursery and elementary age children is a good opportunity for her to work with children who will someday be her patients.
Yatziri is a recipient of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act. Her family came to the United States from Morelos, Mexico, when she was almost two years old, and she has grown up in this country. DACA has allowed her to attend school, work, and plan for future opportunities. She states, “DACA means hope for me because I’m able to pursue a career and work in jobs I know I’m good at and love doing. It means that I can have hope to make a difference for my family and community.”
Arts Academy Director
Flutist, harpist and educator, Bonnie Schmader, has performed and taught for over 30 years. Graduating with a Bachelor in Music degree from Arizona State University, she has made performing and teaching a life-long pursuit. In addition, she is a Certified Clinical Musician, providing therapeutic music services at Lovelace Women's Hospital, the University of New Mexico Hospital, New Heart Wellness Center and Alliance Home Healthcare and Hospice.
Bonnie is also an environmental educator and is passionate about connecting children and adults to the natural world. She's worked for the U.S. Forest Service, Albuquerque BioPark, City of Albuquerque Open Space, the Jane Goodall Institute, RiverXchange and the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority. She has lead music and wellness workshops for the community and has performed as a guest artist in several cultural music festivals.
Bonnie was chosen to be the 2017 Artist in Residence at the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in southwestern Colorado, where she composed, recorded and performed original music with her own soundscape field-recordings. Most recently, she traveled to the Netherlands to participate in Musicians Without Borders, a global music program that uses community music-making for reconciliation, healing and social change.
Meghan has served as La Mesa's bookkeeper since 2006. For nearly twenty years, she has provided administrative and accounting support to a variety of entities. In addition, she is a Certified Financial Social Work Educator, taking her love of numbers into her financial well-being small business.
She and her husband, Justin, are parents to their two young children, spending time working, playing, traveling, hiking, and dancing through life.
Ken was born in Salina, Kansas and is a third generation Presbyterian. He served in the Air Force, stationed in Japan, for four years as a radar technician, before attending Kansas State University and receiving a Engineering Associates degree in electronics. He worked at Sandia Labs in the weapons development area until 1985. He joined the congregation in 1997 and has been on the staff since 2008.
His work at La Mesa with the community has deepened his concern for the plight of immigrant, Native American, low-income, and special needs persons. He is very interested in seeing progressive government policies and non-governmental social organizations help create practical, if not radical, solutions for people seeking a better life.