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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Alaimo-Monson, Vice President
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 Morgan Stanley in 2008. He is an active volunteer and serves on the board of a variety of local nonprofits.
Mark as an Ambassador,is a retired, career Foreign Service Officer. His three decades plus career included postings in Latin America, Europe, Central Asia and Africa. During 2012-2015, he served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Spain’s only former colony in sub-Saharan Africa.
In the Spring of 2016, the U.S. Department of State asked him to return to government service to take a short-term assignment as Acting Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Port Louis, Mauritius. During his June-August 2016 tour there, he led the embassy on a range of challenging political, economic and environmental issues in both Mauritius and the Seychelles.
Mark previously served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Sudan and in Kazakhstan. In Washington, he was Chief of Staff in the Office of the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights at the U.S. Department of State. From 2010-2011, he had an academic year detail from the Department of State as the Senior Public Diplomacy Fellow at George Washington University. Earlier in his career, Mark was Deputy Coordinator in the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization at the Department of State.
Prior to entering the Foreign Service, Ambassador Asquino was the Fulbright Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Oviedo in Asturias, Spain (1975-76). As a Foreign Service Officer, he returned to Spain during 1982-86 as Director of the U.S. Cultural Center in Madrid and subsequently as head of all non-academic exchange programs at the U.S. Embassy there. Mark is fluent in Spanish and has a working knowledge of French, Russian and Romanian.
Mark earned a Ph.D. in American Civilization from Brown University, where he also did his undergraduate studies. He is married to Jane S. Asquino. They live in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
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 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.
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. Her husband, Joe Moon, is a scientist and software developer at Open Eye Scientific Software here in Santa Fe. Trudy and Joe’s oldest child, Grace, graduated from Desert Academy in 2013. Their son, Dylan, also attended DA (class of 2017).
Kim Motola, PRESIDENT
Kim and her family moved to Santa Fe in 2001 from the Bay Area. She has more than a decade of experience in the brokerage and insurance industries, working as a producer and as a compliance principal. During her work years in New Mexico, she commuted to San Francisco and worked out of her home office. She was responsible for direct supervision of registered personnel, regulatory inquiries, written supervisory procedures, registered investment advisory business and all of the insurance services. She spoke on various panels for continuing education conferences and held the several FINRA and state insurance licenses. She retired in 2006. She has been an active board member with local community groups including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern NM. Kim graduated from University of California, Riverside with a BA in Art History. She is married to Alex Motola and they have two children. Both are students at Desert Academy – their daughter Kate in the class of 2018 and their son, Cameron, in the class of 2022 at Desert Academy.
Marquita Russel, FINANCE COMMITTEE CHAIR
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.
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.