School Director, Holly Wu, NBCT 

Holly Wu is an educator and mother. Ms. Wu was awarded “Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Elementary Education” for her graduating class in 2000 from Eastern New Mexico University. She became certified K-8, and her undergrad minor was math. Ms. Wu received her Master of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico in 2004 and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She earned the credentials to become a reading specialist with this degree, and also became endorsed in English as a Second Language in 2006. She later earned her National Board Certified Teacher credential in 2006 and renewed in 2016.

Her teaching background includes additional experience in Reading Recovery. She spent two years as a K-12 District Math Coordinator and has led countless teacher and academic coach trainings.

Learn more about CSCA’s co-founders


Shelly TarterNational Board Certified Teacher, Shelley Tarter 

Shelley Tarter retired with Albuquerque Public Schools after 24 years service. She taught elementary school, served as an early childhood resource teacher and was a first year teacher mentor as well as a lead mentor with the APS district.

After getting a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of New Mexico, she returned to UNM for coursework for her teacher certification. In 2002, she obtained her Master of Arts degree in Elementary Education from UNM . Shelley became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2010 as an Early Childhood Generalist. Her teacher certification through the state of New Mexico includes a TESOL endorsement (teaching English to speakers of other languages) and a reading endorsement.

She has three grown children, several pets and enjoys traveling with her husband.


Certified Teacher, Audrey Dobek

Audrey Dobek is excited to be a part of Chinook Spirit Children’s Academy (CSCA). She became interested in CSCA while looking for the perfect school for her daughter, Sasha. At CSCA, Sasha has thrived socially, academically, emotionally, and spiritually. Audrey has past experience as a kindergarten teacher with Albuquerque Public Schools and believes that the ideal relationship between student and teacher is one in which mutual respect is apparent.

At CSCA, she incorporates hands-on and supportive learning techniques to educate children based on their own unique learning preferences, in an energetic, focused environment where everyone can learn and grow together. Audrey encourages all of our children to work to exceed even their own hopes and dreams, and to realize their true potential.


Education Assistant, Joan Ellis

Joan Ellis studied Psychology, Math and English at UNM. When her oldest was an infant, she taught sewing to the neighborhood children’s home. Joan comes to Chinook from a long line of seamstresses, farmers, and teachers. Both parents, maternal grandmother and oldest daughter are/were teachers.

For more than thirty years she worked as a mortgage lender, spending much of that time teaching complex math concepts to adults. During that time she dreamed of being a kindergarten art teacher. When her youngest started school, she volunteered to teach art at Petroglyph Elementary where she first met Ms. Holly Wu.

After retiring from the banking business, she worked at Explora, as well as a small quilt shop, and taught children’s summer camps. This evolved into a short term Art project at Chinook in the fall of 2016. Since then, Joan’s classroom duties and love for the students have grown exponentially.


Dr. Connie McNeilEducational Assistant, Dr. Connie McNeil

Dr. Connie McNeil holds a PhD in clinical psychology. She retired as a full time psychologist and is excited to start a new chapter as EA. Her work history includes counseling children, administering school diagnostic testing and assisting parents and school staff cope with and redirect challenging behavior. She also has teaching experience
at the college level.

Her personal focus at CSCA is to support students to become more than they think they can be. As a believer that we are spirits having a human experience, she is honored to be a part of the spiritual as well as academic growth and development of each student.

Ms. Connie is proud to call herself mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She loves to read, travel, and spend time with her family. Her most unique accomplishment was to carry the Olympic torch as a prelude to an Olympic sanctioned event in Oklahoma.


Bookkeeper and Administrative Assistant Kathy Azar

As a member of the New Mexico Peace Choir, Kathy Azar our traveled to Europe in 2017 to participate in the World Peace Choral Festival in Vienna, Austria.
She brings her love of music to CSCA’s students as the school’s music teacher, where she encourages the children to use their voices as instruments.

Kathy brings over 40 years of experience to our school. You can find her volunteering for all of the school’s field trips, joining her twin grandchildren who are also Chinook students, where she enjoys watching all the CSCA children experience “Life is Our Classroom.”


Substitute, Christi Rein

Christi Rein has volunteered for many organizations over the years; Casa Angelica, PB & J, CLN Kids, and in 2011 the Austin Safeplace Domestic violence shelter recognized her with an award for being the longest and most dedicated volunteer.

Christi has served on many boards to include Vice President of is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach with a passion for working with children. She utilizes over 25 years experience of using food to fuel and heal the body, and personal experience understanding the importance of embracing a positive self image, to teach children self respect and respect of others through proper nutrition, gardening, cooking, yoga, meditation, and art.

Christi is a member of the Austin Business Travel Association, President of New Mexico Entertainment & Digital Industry Association, and currently serves on the board for New Mexico S.A.F.E House Domestic violence shelter.