The Organization

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SEED: Source for Educational Empowerment and Community Development

SEED oversees all administration of the Inspire Santa Fe program, including organizational, school and public relationships; recruitment, orientation, training and supervision of mentors and protégés; and coordination of all events and activities.

SEED, a New Mexico nonprofit corporation, was incorporated on December 8, 1997, for the purpose of providing alternative, holistic non-sectarian education to the communities of northern New Mexico. The original mission of the organization was to empower individuals, through a practical and heuristic curriculum, toward greater self-fulfillment and service of the community at large. In 2017, Todd Lopez, who co-founded Inspire Santa Fe while ED of a non-profit called Siete del Norte, became Executive Director of SEED. More at

The Visionary

Paquita Hernandez is a master transformative educator now based in Puerto Rico, where she grew up. Paquita founded CelebrateYouth! and the still robust Mentorship Program at Monte del Sol, through which thousands of New Mexicans engaged in  transformative mentoring relationships. In 2013, Paquita generously donated materials, practices, and wisdom that helped make Inspire Santa Fe possible.



The Founders


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Christian E. Casillas is a native Santa Fean and a freelance educator and scientist, who has been involved in education, design, and implementation of renewable energy projects in schools and communities in the United States, Central and South America, India, and Africa. He continues to support Inspire Santa Fe by providing evaluation and consultation services to the program.


Todd Lopez Executive Director of SEED, providing vision, direction and oversight of Inspire Santa Fe. Formerly the Executive Director of Siete del Norte, Todd helped found Inspire Santa Fe as part of a lifelong dream to create learning systems that tap into the local resources and wisdom of Santa Fe, NM, his hometown. Todd is currently Director of Inspire Santa Fe.


Seth Biderman is currently located in Washington, DC, where he is the principal of a charter school, but continues to support Inspire Santa Fe while also investigating efforts to disseminate Inspire to other communities. Seth was "mentored" into mentorship learning by Paquita Hernandez, with whom he led the Monte del Sol Mentorship Program from 2006-2008. A teacher with 9 years experience with pre-schoolers to adult learners, Seth is a graduate of Brown University, where he worked with the late Professor Ted Sizer, and holds an Ed.S in Educational Leadership (May, 2017).

Aaron Stern is the president and founder of the Academy for the Love of Learning, and has long held the vision of an out-of-school learning network and mentor learning workshops, key elements of today's Inspire Santa Fe. Aaron conceived the Academy with famed musician Leonard Bernstein, and serves as its President. As educational leader of the Academy, Aaron designed and directs the Academy's core curriculum and foundational program, Leading by Being®. Aaron is a composer, teacher, and internationally recognized consultant on learning. He conducts consultancies and seminars throughout the United States and in Europe, and is a board member of the Mind & Life Institute.

The 2018-2019 Team

Zach Taylor | Field Facilitator, The Masters Program
Zach, a Santa Fe native, has merged The MASTERS Program Charter High School's mentorship program--which he founded--into Inspire Santa Fe to help make the program possible. He continues to facilitate mentorships, as well as provide program vision and evaluation.


Tony Gerlicz | Director and Facilitator Tony is an educator who started two schools in Santa Fe, New Mexico and led two schools internationally, in Santiago, Chile and the American School of Warsaw, Poland. He believes Nelson Mandela, who said: “Education is the most powerful weapon one can use to change the world.” He was born in Argentina of Polish refugees, lives in Santa Fe with his wife Diane, and has two children and one grandchild.


Geoffery Moon | SAGE In his role as a gifted education specialist with Santa Fe Public Schools, Geoffrey Moon supports identification of high performing and high potential students and programs to help them develop their talents. His professional interests include creativity, disadvantaged populations, and program design. He spends his time outside school cooking for and playing with his wife and two children (one of whom REALLY enjoyed this mentoring program). When they get sick of him, he works with the New Mexico Association for the Gifted, writes, lights plays, mixes music, and cyphers at math problems.

The Partners

Inspire Santa Fe works closely with the following schools and organizations to select youth participants.

Santa Fe High School

Capital High School

The Masters Program Charter School | Field Facilitator Zach Taylor

Mandela International Magnet School | Field Facilitator Tony Gerlicz

Communities in School, El Camino Real Community School | Field Facilitator Mary Louise Romero

The Collaborators

Inspire Santa Fe would not be possible without the collaboration and support of the following individuals and organizations.

Communities in Schools New Mexico | Julia Bergen

The MASTERS Program | Anne Salzmann and Zach Taylor

Mandela International Magnet School | Tony Gerlicz

Santa Fe High School | Steve Heil and Geoffrey Moon

The City of Santa Fe and Mayor Alan Webber

Monte del Sol Charter School | Robert Jessen