New Mexico Academy for the Media Arts


P 505.243.1957
F 505.268.1651


Asay, Beckie

Beckie Asay

SPED Teacher

Office: 505.243.1957, Ext. 206

My name is Maria, but I prefer to be called Beckie. I’m an Army brat, born in Germany, but raised all over. I have been married 31 years, have one son and three fur babies. 

For college, I attended both the Dona Ana Branch Community College and New Mexico State University, GO, AGGIES. My credentials include having a Bachelor’s Degree in Science in Education (Elementary and Special Education) and an Associate’s Degree in Computer Technology.

My interests include Reading (Anne Rice and Ann Rule), coloring adult coloring books and listening to classic rock, especially The Doors. My main priority is my three puppies: Isabella Boots, Itty Bitty and Mojo.

Bentley, Dr. Paul

Dr. Paul Bentley

High School STEM


Dr. Paul Bentley holds a B. Sc. (Hons.) from Dundee University (UK) in Medicinal Chemistry, a M. Sc. From St. Andrews University in Medicinal and Biological Chemistry and a Ph. D. from Liverpool University in Chemistry. He has been a post-doctoral fellow at Columbia University, Assistant Professor at UNM and a visiting Assistant Professor at University of Oregon.

Dr. Bentley has published papers in many scientific journals and has had a number of patents issued. His research has focused upon development of new reactions, chemicals that generate fluorescence when attached to Zinc and how magnetism can enhance chemical and biochemical reactions. He has formed a company to exploit his magnetic research and created an online course on chemistry that contains videos and quizzes.

He has been a teacher at APS for 2 years and is happy to be returning to Media Arts!

Berlat, Kim

Kim Berlat

High School Humanities

Office: 505.243.1957, Ext. 201

As is often the case in life, Kim Berlat found teaching rather circuitously. She had not set out to become a teacher, but when she landed that first job in a classroom as an Educational Assistant, her path became clear. 

Over the past 30 years, Ms. Berlat has taught Gifted and Talented, middle school and high school English Language Arts, Journalism, and Adult Basic Education. Recently, Ms. Berlat decided see what life was like on the “other side” and spent two years as an assistant principal at an elementary school. 

In addition, Ms. Berlat has mentored and/or sponsored students in a variety of academic competitions including local, state, and national writing contests, Science Fair, Project GUTS (Growing Up Thinking Scientifically), Science Olympiad, and Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam. 

Having a career that spans 30 years or more is not unique or unusual. Many people have done the same. What makes Ms. Berlat’s career different is her passion. She was passionate about her work with students 30 years ago when she was an Educational Assistant and she has that same dedication and enthusiasm for education today.

Biggart, Justis

Justis Biggart

Digital Arts & Animation


Carson, Wendy

Wendy Carson

Middle School Humanities


Chavez, Bethanne

Bethanne Chavez

High School Spanish/ Humanities Coach

Office: 505.243.1957, Ext. 107

Bethanne Chavez is a native New Yorker, but has called New Mexico home for the past 16 years. Living in the multi-cultural climate of New York, she has always loved learning about many different nationalities and cultures.  Embracing the rich & diverse background of  New Mexico has only broadened her knowledge and appreciation for our differences and commonalities as a humanity.

Ms. Chavez has been an educator for more than 22 years, specializing in Spanish and TESOL, but also teaching English Language Arts. She has taught all levels and ages of students, including students at CNM. Teaching is a true passion for Ms. Chavez.  She is looking forward to teaching at Media Arts, sharing her experiences, love, and appreciation of other cultures for all in our world. 

Coates, Vary

Vary Coates

High School Science

Office: 505.243.1957, Ext. 101

Vary Coates grew up in Washington, DC. Later, she earned a BS from NMSU in Biology, and her MA from UNM in Secondary Education. Before becoming a teacher, she was a tree farmer.

Conforti, Anthony

Anthony Conforti

Media Coordinator/ TV Production

Office: 505.243.1957, Ext. 307

Anthony Conforti is a graduate of the University of New Mexico with a BA in English/Creative Writing and Theatre Arts. He began his professional career in media working in the, then, embryonic New Mexico film industry as a production manager and editor. Subsequently, he spent twenty years as a television news and documentary producer. Upon retiring from the television news business, Anthony traveled and lived abroad and wrote and published the historical novel, “ACALAN” which was the result of many years of research in Latin America.

While media has been Anthony’s career, it’s more than that now.

It’s a life skill. We are in the information age, and even if we don’t work professionally in the media, we’re all voracious media consumers.

Anthony takes a media literacy approach to the teaching of journalism and production.

To be responsible citizens and wise media consumers we must understand how media and especially the news media work. We must be able to recognize the processes that drive the media and hone our own critical thinking skills in order to evaluate what we see, read and hear.

I believe that anyone who can speak can write. Many of us have been taught that we simply cannot write and that has stifled our innate ability. We all have heard stories and the ability to tell a story is another inherent human quality. Media and writing is fundamentally about telling a good story. It all begins with the story. My goal as a teacher is to bring out the storyteller in my students.

López, Christopher

Christopher López

Visual Art

Office: 505.243.1957, Ext. 401

Christopher López was born and raised in Northern New Mexico where he learned to create art, raise animals and grow food. He comes from a strong lineage of educators and artists, which helped shape him into the artist he is today. In 2000, Mr. López graduated from the University of New Mexico with a BFA in Painting and Drawing. He is a father of two wonderful children, he calls his greatest creations. He is an active artist incorporating his education as an artist to set a positive example for anyone who is working towards the path of art and creativity.

The spirituality of telling stories, he feels, is important and moments in time that represent memories and visions. He also works through emotions and feelings in his work.

“We have all felt pain, pleasure, stress, love, happiness, sadness…normal emotions that we all share, some more powerful than others. I create because I have to, it is a major part of my life and all I do. If I am working in the garden, I think, what I can do to make these plants grow beautifully? I care about how they grow, so they in return share their sustenance with me. When people look at my work I hope it evokes feelings and memories they can relate to because I feel we all want to relate in one way or another, that is why I create!”

McDowell, Jeannie

Jeannie McDowell

Special Education

Office: 505.243.1957, Ext. 204

Meeker, Paul

Paul Meeker

Special Education Director

Office: 505.243.1957, Ext. 104

Paul Meeker has been teaching middle and high school since 1988 in New Mexico and Louisiana. However, he has taken several extended breaks to serve on active duty (stateside and overseas) with the U.S. Army National Guard from which he is retiring this month (August 2018) after 29 years.

Two of his favorite pieces of wisdom are as follows:

“… no assurance, no fixed point. Always one must throw oneself into the wave.” –  Ransom from C.S. Lewis’s novel Perelandra

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

Mr. Meeker is looking forward to an exciting year with MACCS students and staff!

Mueller, Tanya

Dr. Tanya Mueller

Middle School STEM Instructor

Office: 505.243.1957, Ext. 105

Dr. Tanya Mueller has her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Virginia Tech, and both her Master of Science and Doctorate in Anthropology from the University of New Mexico. Though much of her research has focused on the behavioral ecology of various species of mammals, her doctoral research focused her interests on the development of adolescence as a distinct life history stage.  Her work with baboons paved the way for her to study adolescence in indigenous populations, identifying how different this stage of life is for American teenagers.

She is currently employed by both the University of New Mexico and Central New Mexico Community College teaching a variety of anthropology courses and is excited to bring her love of science to the high school students at the Media Arts Collaborative Charter School. Though this is her first year working with predominantly high school students, she has regularly worked with middle school and high school students as a guest lecturer and has been tutoring middle and high school students in a variety of subjects since the early 1990s. Her understanding of adolescence and the challenges it brings carry over into her teaching philosophy, and she is able to tailor her teaching to meet individual students’ needs.

Richardson, Tom

Tom Richardson


Office: 505.243.1957, Ext. 305

Tom Richardson has been working with photography for over the last 15 years in many capacities including commercial photography, fine arts, and academia. His personal photographs have been exhibited in the U.S. and abroad. He holds a Masters of Fine Arts from UNM and a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the University of Florida. As an advocate for photographic education, he is excited to be working with the young hearts and minds at MACCS. On photography, he states:

What excites me about photography is that it is grounded in reality but completely abstracted from it at the same time.

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