Meet Our Board of Trustees

The members of our Board of Trustees have a wide variety of professional expertise that they bring in service to the school. The one commonality they share is their passion for Desert Academy. The Board follows the best practices set by NAIS. One of the primary responsibilities of the Board is to carefully steward the school’s resources and be accountable for the institution’s financial stability. The Board oversees the operating budget and actively helps raise money for Desert Academy. Another primary function of the Board is to select, hire, evaluate, and establish the compensation for the school’s Head of School. The Board works in tandem with the Head of School, focusing its primary work on long-range and strategic issues, not the daily operations of the school, especially not staffing.  You can contact the Board of Trustees by emailing: 



Ben Alaimo-Monson

Born in California, Ben was raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  He earned a BA in Financial Management from the Anderson School of Management at the University of New Mexico, during which time he also continued his finance studies abroad in Hong Kong.  Ben started his career at financial services in 2008.  He is an active volunteer and serves on the board of a variety of local nonprofits. 


Tom Clark, Vice President

Thomas Matthew Clark was born in 1967 and was raised in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. He attended and graduated from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri in 1989, with a B.A. in Political Science. Mr. Clark attended the University of Arkansas School of Law and graduated with a J.D. in 1993.

Mr. Clark moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1994 and opened his law practice in 1995. He is a partner with the law firm of Clark, Jones & Pennington, LLC. Mr. Clark’s practice consists primarily of representing individuals who have been charged with criminal offenses. These cases include murder, sex crimes, all drug offenses, general felonies, domestic violence, DWI and license revocation. In addition, Mr. Clark represents people who have been injured or killed in all types of accidents, as well as those who are victims of civil rights violations.


Amanda COLA

Bio coming soon


Martin Dryden

Martin moved to Santa Fe in 1982 from Denver, Colorado. An alumnus of Colorado State University, he owns a computer services company and specializes in digital security. Previously Mr. Dryden worked as an Investment Advisor Representative for a Pershing correspondent doing research on international companies supporting emerging digital technologies. He served on several charter school and private school boards improving governance policy and reputation management during the last ten years and most recently as Director of the Remarkable Lives Foundation. Currently Martin acts as the New Mexico coordinator for International Exchange Students sponsored through the US Department of State. Martin and his wife Teodora Dryden have a son attending Turquoise Trail Charter Elementary School.


Nicole Kliebert

Nicole grew up in Paulina, Louisiana where she learned the value of experiential learning. She earned a bachelor of science in agricultural communications from Oklahoma State University and a master’s in leadership development from University of Georgia. She began her career as a 4-H Agent where she worked with more than 200 volunteers to plan, implement, evaluate, and market programming for 1,400 youth ages 9-18. The experiential learning model was used to develop all programming, which is why Desert Academy's learning model appeals to me. She is the outreach coordinator for Cornerstones, a historic preservation training organization. In her free time she volunteers with Adaptive Sports Program and The Santa Fe Opera. She enjoys cooking, reading, hiking, and skiing.



Lorissa Longfellow was born in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country, grew up in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, and in 2008 moved to Santa Fe, from Arizona, with her husband and daughter. She is a graduate of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg Florida where earned a B.A. in Humanities concentrating in Art History. Lorissa has over a decade of nonprofit arts management experience working with Salvador Dali Museum, Florida Craftsmen, and the River Valley Artists Guild. Since moving to Santa Fe, she has continued working part-time as a self-promoting photographer. In her free time she works on the board of or volunteered with many community organizations including El Dorado PTA, Vista Grande Public Library, and Girls Scouts of New Mexico Trails. In 2017, her daughter Addison became a student of Desert Academy and Lorissa had volunteered her time to the Casino Night committee and the Parents Association. Married to Adam Longfellow, they enjoy the many activates and arts that Santa Fe has to offer.



Trudy Moon is originally from the Kansas City area, and lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan and St. Louis, Missouri before moving to Santa Fe in 2010. She has degrees in Mathematics and French Literature from the University of Kansas, and a Masters in Secondary Education. Trudy has been continually involved with education as a middle and high school math teacher, a natural childbirth instructor, a public school board director and community organizer in St. Louis, and a parent of three children. Trudy and her husband Joe’s oldest child, Grace, graduated from Desert Academy in 2013. Their son, Dylan, graduated from DA in 2017.


John Rigatti

John was born and raised in New York City. He moved to Santa Fe in 1999 with his family. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Manhattan College and an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business. While in New York John spent 20 years in the financial industry as a credit analyst, mutual fund manager, and institutional fixed income salesman. While in Santa Fe he has worked as a realtor for Sotheby’s International Realty. John and his wife, Margaret, have two children, John and Olivia. John is a 2017 graduate of Desert and Olivia will be in the 2020 graduating class.



Marquita Russel has more than 30 years of experience in public finance, specializing in economic development and water project financing. Marquita joined the New Mexico Finance Authority in September of 2000 and has served as its Chief of Programs since 2002, overseeing the water resources and private lending divisions. Marquita lives in Santa Fe with her husband Mark. Their daughters Lily (class of 2013) and Abby (class of 2015) attended Desert Academy beginning in 7th grade and graduated with IB diplomas, which helped them immeasurably in college. Marquita was on the Desert Academy Board from June 2008 to June 2015 and served as its Treasurer from July 2008 to June 2014.



Monica Scarborough, Secretary

Monica Scarborough is a native Santa Fean and the Director of Operations for A-1 Self Storage, where she has served for two decades – building the company from 6 properties to 17 today. She is also an active Qualifying Broker in Real Estate who has co-brokered multi-million dollar self storage acquisitions. She serves as the Secretary for her Neighborhood Homeowners Association. She was an involved parent at Carlos Gilbert Elementary (2004-2012), serving on the PTK Board and working to raise thousands of dollars in fundraising to support the school. She also tutored math and reading to children in various grades once a week.Monica is involved with Big Brothers, Big Sisters and was a big sister to children in Santa Fe. Her two daughters, Savannah (2017) and Hailee (2018), both attend Desert Academy. Monica is a board member of the Parent Association and a Gala Committee member. She assisted in coaching the middle school girls’ volleyball team for two years. Her personal interests include traveling the world, biking, running, skiing and hiking. She competes in team triathlons, bike races and 5 and10K runs. Her passions are children and education. She works diligently to make a difference and help change children’s lives. As a child, she lost her single mother at 15 and became emancipated. Monica worked two jobs through high school and college in order to accomplish her goals and give herself as many opportunities as possible. She believes in hard work and that all children can have a promising future.


Rob Wilson

Before retiring, Rob launched and was president of a Management Consulting firm in Boston that specialized in Strategic Planning for major corporations. Before starting his own business in 1974 he lead the strategy practice at Arthur D. Little Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His career began in 1952 with the General Electric Company in marketing, merchandising and selling positions. He also served as president of the Hathaway Shirt Company in Canada.

Currently Rob provides volunteer consulting services with SCORE Santa Fe.




Advisory Council

Steve Bohlin
Peter Burega
Peril Cunanan
Valerie Ingram
Sally Mittler
Mary Amelia Whited-Howell