Staff

STEVEN H. SIMON
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.

 

SUSAN TALKINGTON
Chief Operating Officer
susan@simoncf.org
505.982.0733 ext. 105

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.

 

BEAR NASH
Marketing Director
bear@simoncf.org
505.982.0733 ext. 106

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.

 

SIMON SCHOLARS PROGRAM STAFF

MIKE AMMERMAN
Simon Scholars Program Director
mike@simoncf.org
505.982.0733 ext. 103

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.

 

ANISSA EVANS
Simon Scholars Program Coordinator
anissa@simoncf.org
505.982.0733 ext. 104

Anissa joined the Simon Scholars Program, where she serves as Program Coordinator, in 2010. Anissa is a native New Mexican and has worked in the nonprofit community in Santa Fe for the last 10 years. In her role as Program Coordinator, she manages the college scholarships and works closely with the Simon Scholars team in supporting our scholars. Prior to this she worked for the Drug Policy Alliance and Delta Mortgage. In her spare time, Anissa enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.

 

JANETH SANTOS
Simon Scholars Program Coordinator
janeth@simoncf.org
505.982.0733 ext. 102

Janeth joined the Simon Scholars Program as the Program Coordinator in July 2017. She is a first-generation student, an alum of the Simon Scholars program, and a graduate of Capital High School, class of 2011. She attended the University of New Mexico, where she pursued her degree in Political Science with a minor in Economics. After earning her degree in 2015, she worked as a mentor for high school students at College Plaza at Santa Fe High School. Janeth is very passionate about helping other students like herself surpass the barriers to obtain a higher education.

 

MARILYN CISNEROS
Tutor Coordinator – Albuquerque
marilu.cisneros@gmail.com
505.982.0733

Marilyn graduated as a Simon Scholar from Albuquerque High School in 2011. She then enrolled at the University of New Mexico, where she pursued a BS in Biology and also served as a Simon Scholars tutor during the 2012-2013 academic year. After earning her degree in 2015, Marilyn decided to further give back to the Simon Scholars program and became the Albuquerque Tutor Coordinator in the fall of 2016. In addition to this role, Marilyn is conducting Virology research at the UNM Cancer Research Facility as a PREP Scholar and is applying to Cancer Biology PhD programs.

 

MARIO MORENO
Tutor Coordinator – Santa Fe
mamoreno@sjc.edu
505.982.0733

Mario first joined the Simon Scholars Program as a Tutor in Santa Fe in September 2015. His experience as a first-generation Hispanic who deferred completing college to financially support his family provides a unique perspective for high school students facing similar circumstances. In addition to being the Santa Fe Tutor Coordinator, he works with both AVID and the Santa Fe Youth Shelter, providing individual and group tutoring to underprivileged and at-risk youth. Mario is currently an undergraduate at St. John’s College, Santa Fe, earning a B.A. in Liberal Arts through their world-class “Great Books” Program, and is the copy editor for their monthly student newspaper, The Moon. When not tutoring or studying, Mario can be found hiking, learning sign language, or watching re-runs of The West Wing.