Teacher’s Corner

Jeanne Abkes
Roadrunner Teacher
Jeanne Abkes is in her 16th year of teaching preschool. Her life journey has led from Iowa through travels in Latin America, volunteer work in the Cascade Mountains, at Habitat for Humanity Headquarters, and a Benedictine Monastery to coming to the border as a volunteer and later as a bilingual teacher. Jeanne is married and has two girls, ages seven and three. She enjoys travel, cooking, bicycling, and reading. Her favorite children’s author is Ezra Jack Keats.

Teresa Chavez
Bobcat Teacher
Teresa Chavez was born and raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She loves reading, taking walks on campus, spending time with her family and playing flute for her church choir. Teresa has been a musician for 18 years, playing in various musical groups including LCHS Showcase Band, New Mexico All State Symphonic Orchestra,The NMSU Gospel Choir and the NMSU Pride Marching Band. Teresa is starting her third year as a Bobcat Teacher. She is currently working towards her Masters Degree, to be completed in Spring 2019. Teresa and her Fiancee live with their five dogs; Daisy, Rusty, Gizmo, Teddy and Pancho.

Deborah Powell-Billingsley
Turtles Teacher
Deborah Powell-Billingsley was born in Santa Monica, CA, the second out of four children, all the rest brothers. She grew up in Westwood, home of the UCLA Bruins, and attended the University Elementary School, UCLA’s laboratory school. She received an Associates Degree in Art from Santa Monica City College, a BA in Design from UCLA, and an MA from NMSU in Early Childhood Education.
Deborah has worked for several different childcare organizations over the last 13 years in Colorado, Oregon, and California before returning to Las Cruces to join up with the School For Young Children staff again.
This March Deborah will celebrate her 3rd anniversary to Ron Billingsley. Her and Ron enjoy restoring and improving their 100 year old home in a historical area of Las Cruces. She also enjoys gardening, cooking, swimming, visiting museum, and traveling. She took some golf lessons from a local pro, but has decided to leave the golfing to Ron until she is skilled enough to leave Ron in the rough.
Kate Puckett
Bobcat Teacher
Kate Puckett was born in Oklahoma City, OK, the third out of four girls. She grew up in Las Cruces and graduated from Las Cruces High School. She received a BS in Oceanography from the University of Washington, and lived in Seattle for almost 10 years. Before returning to Las Cruces Kate lived for 13 months in Romania volunteering in orphanages. She has worked in a number of different programs including on- site childcare and Head Start. Kate received an MA in Early Childhood Education from NMSU and has worked with the program since 1998. She has worked primarily with preschoolers and has taught a variety of college courses.
Kate lives with her sister and three cats and enjoys spending time with the rest of her family. She enjoys playing soccer, reading, doing crossword and sudoku puzzles, and traveling. Her latest goal is to learn how to make a good loaf of whole wheat bread.
Tina Ruybal
Roadrunner Teacher
Hello, my name is Tina Ruybal, I have been a teacher in the Roadrunner classroom for five years now. I currently old a Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education and am working on a Masters Degree. Before attending school, I traveled with my husband to different parts of the country as well as Europe as a Military Spouse. I lived in Germany for three years where my first son was born. I have four beautiful children, Matthew 13, Shaeann 11, Kyler 7, and Ryan 3.