President and CEO

In early 2005, Steve was hired to establish the New Mexico branch of The Ronald Simon Family Foundation and to implement the newly formed Simon Scholars Program.  He served as the NM branch’s Executive Director between 2005 and 2011 and guided the Simon Scholars Program toward success.  Simon Scholars began with one partner high school and five students in 2005, and now serves six partner high schools in Albuquerque and Santa Fe and accepts twenty new students per year, with very high levels of retention.  The Program is currently near capacity with just under 120 active high school and college students.  What began as an experiment has changed the lives of many students and opened up doors that previously could have only been dreamt of.

Steve currently serves as the President/CEO of the Simon Charitable Foundation, and the Executive Director of the Street Food Institute.  Steve has an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from The University of Denver and a graduate degree in Psychology from Antioch University, Santa Barbara.  He is an avid traveler and has previously resided in California, Hawaii and Sydney, Australia.  Steve has worked in culinary and management capacities in the restaurant industry, and in sales and marketing in both the food and wine industries.  Steve brings both a fresh and a global perspective to the local issues that challenge New Mexico.


Chief Operating Officer
505.982.0733 ext. 5

Susan joined the Simon Charitable Foundation in March 2013. Susan’s career began building software for the banking and finance industry.  After pursuing her M.A. from St. John’s College, she turned her attention to the non-profit sector, finding a natural match of organizational talent with purposeful work.  Susan brings accuracy, attention-to-detail and systems-level organizational skills to the Foundation. With more than 12 years of experience building software for banking applications, Susan understands the value of data integrity and efficient processes which save valuable resources for the organization.  In her spare time, you can find her at the dog park with her German Shepherd Dog/Alaskan Malamute rescue, Zeus, and her daughter.



Simon Scholars Program Director
505.982.0733 ext. 3

Mike began his career in youth development while attending Indiana University. Working summers as a camp counselor, Mike developed a passion for outdoor leadership and experiential education. Upon graduating with a degree in Therapeutic Recreation (specializing in Outdoor Leadership) and becoming a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, Mike worked as an experiential therapist with youth and adults in a residential care facility. He then served as a counselor leading groups of incarcerated and at-risk teens on 30-day therapeutic wilderness excursions. In 1998, Mike relocated to Santa Fe to be closer to the mountains and deserts of the Southwest. Since then, he has worked for the Santa Fe Mountain Center and with Santa Fe, Rio Rancho and Pojoaque Public Schools in a wide range of experiential and therapeutic youth development programs. When Mike began working with the Simon Scholars Program in 2007, he initiated the first multi-day experiential leadership retreat for the current Simon Scholars. Mike plays a key role in developing, implementing and continually improving the current Simon Scholars Program in New Mexico. When Mike is not working directly with the Simon Scholars, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and two young children.


Simon Scholars Program Coordinator
505.982.0733 ext. 4

Anissa joined The Simon Charitable Foundation in early 2010 as the Executive Administrator, in 2011 she became Program Assistant for the Simon Scholars Program and in 2014 became the Program Coordinator for the Simon Scholars Program. She has over 10 years experience in Office Administration and Retail Management. Prior to joining The Simon Charitable Foundation, Anissa was Office Manager of the Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico. Anissa also worked in the mortgage industry for many years serving as the Office Manager and Marketing Coordinator for Delta Mortgage and the Marketing Coordinator for Quest Mortgage. Anissa attended the University of New Mexico and Capella University where she majored in Business Administration and Marketing. Anissa lives in Santa Fe with her husband and two young sons. In her spare time, she loves to read and travel.


Simon Scholars Program Coordinator

James joined the New Mexico Simon Scholars Program as the Santa Fe Scholar Support Coordinator in August 2014. In addition to his role with Simon Scholars he currently works in the domestic violence field. Prior to these positions, James lived and practiced at the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, dabbled in organic farming, and was a medical student at Columbia University. He also worked as a clinical neuroscientist. James earned his BA in Neuroscience from Pomona College and a Masters in Biology from the University of Cambridge in the UK. He is a world traveler, having grown up in Belgium, Venezuela, and Italy. Outside of his work with Simon Scholars, James is passionate about spiritual practice, singing, hiking, reading, and art of all kinds.




Street Food Institute Program Director

Dave began his culinary career twenty years ago, while living in New Hampshire and completing a B.A. in Philosophy from Plymouth State University. Dave started as a baker in an all-organic bakery where he developed a deep appreciation for sustainable, local, from-scratch cooking. These pillars became the basis of his cooking philosophy. Dave moved on to cook in San Francisco and then Santa Fe, where he spent ten years as chef of the venerable Santacafé. Dave then opened his own restaurant, Amavi, to critical acclaim, where both the cuisine and the wine focused on the Mediterranean region. Most recently Dave turned his culinary exploration to New England where he spent four years as the chef of Maxfish, delving deeply into the world of fish and farm-to-table dining. Regional cuisine and teaching have always been a top priority for Dave. He has traveled extensively in both Europe and the Far East researching local cuisines.


International Education Program Coordinator
505.982.0733 ext. 6

Bear is a well-traveled culinary enthusiast. He began his work with the Street Food Institute in the beginning of 2011 as a key collaborator in the development of the Program. Bear has ten years of experience in the food service and hospitality industries. His interest in food, health, and international culture has led him to the far reaches of Southeast Asia and Latin America. Bear has worked and participated in business ventures in various Latin American countries, and is nearly fluent in Spanish. In his free time he enjoys music, sports, and outdoor activities.