Mission & Vision
Transforming teaching and learning through relevant, challenging, and inspired professional development.
The Sofia Center for Professional Development engages educators in reflection, dialogue, and action focused on essential questions about teaching and learning. The Center nurtures and restores educators’ sense of calling and purpose, and empowers educators to be creators of innovative change in their schools and communities.
We envision a future in which educators’ work is revered as a central life force in every community – a future in which educators are afforded the resources and inspiration necessary to teach and lead in ways that transform students’ lives. In service of this vision, we design professional learning experiences that prize diverse voices, intellectual curiosity, the larger purposes of education in a democracy, shared expertise, and heart.
We believe that teachers’ voices belong at the center of conversation about education.
We believe in the power of educators working together across communities and cultures.
We believe that teaching well is an honorable practice.
We believe that education has the power to transform individuals and communities.
We believe intentional reflection yields meaningful action.
We believe that the heart of the teacher matters as much as the training.
Who We Are
Our story began on the beautiful high-desert campus of Bosque School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Nestled against the cottonwood forest along the Rio Grande, the school served as our homeground from 2013-2020. It was at Bosque that we built and nurtured a vibrant professional learning culture and launched our public programs, providing a vital resource to educators from diverse schools and organizations throughout the community. It is there that we have our roots.
In the fall of 2020, the Sofia Center began the process of becoming its own organization, allowing us to deepen our public programs and expand our design & facilitation work with individuals, schools, and organizations. We’re excited about this new direction, especially at a time when educators are navigating formidable challenges and need and deserve meaningful professional development more than ever.
Since 2013 – with the support of many generous people and institutions – we have welcomed educators from over 300 schools and organizations to our programs. Our participants teach and lead in public and private schools, community programs, museums, detention centers, and more. They work throughout our home city of Albuquerque and across the state and country. The throughline among them is their passion and commitment to teaching and learning. They are our community.
We are grateful for your interest and hope you will add your voice to our shared learning.
Sheryl Chard is the founding director of the Sofia Center for Professional Development in Albuquerque, New Mexico. From 1998-2013, Sheryl served as the first head of middle school at Bosque School in Albuquerque and had the wonderful opportunity to collaborate with colleagues to build a thriving middle school of 250 students and 35 faculty members. In 2013, after several years of designing and planning, Sheryl became the full-time director of the Sofia Center for Professional Development.
The Sofia Center is the manifestation of many of Sheryl’s passions – her love of working with educators; her commitment to lifelong intellectual inquiry; and her desire to create innovative and beautiful spaces in which people can work collaboratively, think outside the box, and stay true to the heart of teaching and learning. She is an experienced program, retreat, and workshop leader who has designed a wide range of inspirational offerings for teachers and education leaders from over 300 schools and organizations.
Sheryl earned her B.A. in English from Trinity University and her M.A. in Women’s Studies from George Washington University. In 2004-05, she was a Klingenstein Fellow at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she spent a year researching and writing about what constitutes meaningful professional development for educators.
Sarah Camp is the Program Coordinator at the Sofia Center for Professional Development in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Searching for sofia wherever she can find it, Sarah has studied art & art history (earning a B.A. from Asbury University), and education (earning an M.A. in Teaching from Eastern Kentucky University). She has taught preschool in a special needs public school classroom, art & art history in a private high school, and English as a Second Language to international students at Texas A&M University and the University of Kentucky.
Sarah has found sofia in its robust beauty around the world while living and studying abroad in Scotland, Hungary, Italy and France. She has learned about the sofia of resilience from refugees while serving as the Education Director for a local non-profit, where she coordinated after-school tutoring and preschool programs. Sarah currently has exposure to a heavy dose of everyday sofia, as she is given the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of her two young inquisitive boys, Jonah and James, and to live life with her philosopher firefighter husband, Ty.
Sarah is honored to be working at the Sofia Center with Sheryl Chard, together with their mutual commitments to books, beauty, and bringing inspirational programming to educators from Albuquerque and beyond.
Al Adams received an Ed.D. in administration, planning and social policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (1985), M.A.T. from The Colorado College (1980) and B.A. in history from the University of Pennsylvania (1969). He is in his ninth year of “rewirement,” consulting with independent school heads and trustees and serving as a 1:1 advisor to a number of school heads. This follows Al’s 28 years as a head: 5 at the Cambridge School of Weston (MA) and 23 at San Francisco’s Lick-Wilmerding High School. Earlier in his career, Al was a teacher, coach and administrator at The Colorado Springs School (C.S.S.), was a founder of the K-6 Children’s School and head of C.S.S.’s pioneering, nationally-acclaimed Middle School. In 1987 he led the creation of the national Network of Progressive Educators, later to become the Progressive Education Network and was instrumental in developing the Private Schools With Public Purpose consortium.
Al is best known in the education arena for his articles, presentations, workshops and consulting related to leadership, organizational systems, strategic thinking, institutional positioning, diversity/equity/inclusion and public-private partnerships. During his tenure, Lick-Wilmerding became recognized as a national leader in the realms (1) its head, heart, hands curriculum, (2) modeling what it is to be a private school with public purpose and (3) advancing pioneering approaches to access, inclusion and student success.
Carly Andrews is Head of School at Baker Demonstration School in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to Baker, she served as Head of School at Willowwind School, a progressive independent PK-6th grade school in Iowa City, Iowa and Assistant Head of School as well as Head of Middle School at Bosque School. Carly earned her B.A. in English Education and TESOL at Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio, her M.A. in English Literature from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College, and completed the Educational Leadership Licensure program at the University of Iowa. Prior to her work in school leadership, Carly taught English, humanities, and poetry courses in independent, suburban, and urban secondary school settings. She also taught at Clark Montessori in Cincinnati, Ohio, the first public Montessori secondary school in the United States, where she was trained in secondary Montessori methodology and place-based field studies. She has studied language, literacy, and culture at the University of Iowa, where she taught pre-service teachers about the intersections of race, culture, and identity in literacy classrooms. Carly has presented at schools and national conferences on learning and the teenage brain, conflict and leadership, and project-based learning in progressive settings. She is interested in progressive documentation and assessment practices, mindfulness practices in the classroom setting, place-based and experience-based educational models, public and private partnerships in the school setting, and cultural exchange and service learning.
Roma Arellano recently retired as Learning & Development Manager for Intel’s worldwide Human Resources organization, where she focused on leader development and leader-led learning. Her career with the company included being an HR representative on Intel’s Site Selection team, which took her all over the world assessing potential new sites on everything from labor code to the strength of the universities and availability of experienced talent. Roma also implemented a multi-million dollar workforce development program in Vietnam for Intel for five years. She has worked in community service, diversity, and recruiting. Outside of Intel, she is an international board member of AMIGOS de las Américas, and she serves on Bosque School’s Diversity Task Force. She lives in Corrales with husband Jim Ransom. Daughters Daisy and Mia are Bosque graduates and attend college in Colorado and New York. Roma holds an MBA in International Management and an MA in Latin American Studies from University of New Mexico.
Dana Asbury is a retired editor, who worked at the University of New Mexico Press for eighteen years. After graduating from Wesleyan University, she moved to Albuquerque and earned her M.F.A. in photography from UNM. At UNM Press she worked primarily on art and photography books but also in other areas, including Latin American Jewish literature. Her two daughters attended Bosque School for all seven years and graduated in 2003 and 2005, the third and fifth graduating classes. One lives in London, the other in Boston, and they both work in publishing. Dana was on the board of trustees at Bosque for over fifteen years, five of them as the chair. Her husband is still enjoying running the Richard Levy Gallery, a contemporary art gallery in downtown Albuquerque that opened in 1991.
Gary Gruber is a Leadership Consultant who works independently and in conjunction with Leadership and Design, the successor to The Santa Fe Leadership Center. In 2010-11, he served as Interim Head of School at Bosque School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he was also the founding head of school from 1994-98. Gary has worked in numerous independent schools, including serving as Head of School at The Shipley School in Pennsylvania and Principal of the American School in London. He was a senior consultant with Carney Sandoe & Associates for 11 years, working with independent schools throughout the United States. He is a graduate of Miami University in Ohio. He holds a Master’s Degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Human Development from Pennsylvania State University. Gary is the author of two recent books, Seven Decades: A Learning Memoir (2013) and YOUR CHILD, YOUR CHOICE: Finding the Right School for Your Child (2014). Gary and his wife Susie are residents of Santa Fe, where they have lived for the past 18 years.
Nina Leacock teaches upper school English at Bosque School and serves as the Upper School Dean of Academics. Nina has taught English to high school, college, and graduate students in Georgia and California. She was an undergraduate at the University of Michigan and earned her Ph.D. at the University of California, Irvine. Her essay on Goethe was published in the scholarly journal Narrative. Nina loves walking in the mountains almost as much as she loves reading novels. She lives with her husband, Scott, and her dog, Katie, in Cedar Crest.
Anna Mara Rutins
Anna Mara Rutins, Director of Service Learning at Bosque School, holds 22 years of experience in education and non-profit community programs, including six years living or traveling overseas with various development and government agencies. She has worked for U.S. Peace Corps, Open Society Institute / Soros Foundation, Berlitz International, New Mexico Dept. of Health, and Albuquerque’s Futures for Children in the roles of program officer, trainer/facilitator and consultant. As the founding Director of Program Development for Journeys in Film – Educating for Global Education, Anna created and facilitated professional development workshops for teachers and administrators throughout the United States and Canada about the need for integration of global perspective into core curriculum content. She continues to apply her B.A. degree in Inter-cultural Communication from American University (Washington, DC), with a concentration in Applied Cultural Anthropology, to all aspects of life.
Russell Shaw is the Head of Georgetown Day School, founded in 1945 as the first integrated school in Washington DC. GDS is a thriving and nationally recognized k-12 institution, known not only for its quality education but as a leader in social justice, equity, and diversity curriculum. Russell began his educational career leading backcountry expeditions for Voyageur Outward Bound School in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. He subsequently taught at Thornton Friends School in Maryland, served as Dean of Students at Woodside Priory School in California, and was Assistant Head of School and Middle School Director at Abington Friends School in Pennsylvania. Russell received a Klingenstein Fellowship at Columbia University’s Teachers College where he earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership. He is a graduate of Yale University. He and his wife, Rabbi Shira Stutman, have three children.
Lori Taylor is the Education Specialist at The Silk Road Project, an organization founded in 1998 by Yo-Yo Ma to promote innovation and learning through the arts. Prior to joining the Silk Road Project, Lori served as Project Director for the Actors’ Shakespeare Project in Boston. Lori helped forge ASP, one of the largest professional theater companies in New England, and directed and facilitated ASP’s Incarcerated Youth at Play program, community programs, artist residence programs and summer teacher institute with Salem State University. Before working at ASP Lori directed the Teacher Residency Program at The Met in Providence, Rhode Island, a teacher training program that targets young adults from urban communities who aspire to be teachers. Lori worked for nine years at the Cambridge School of Weston where she taught history, was Dean of Faculty and founded The Shakespeare Ensemble. She was a teaching assistant to Ted Sizer at Brown University where she received her M.A.T. and a personal assistant to legendary cartoonist HerBlock at The Washington Post. Lori also served as curriculum director at Exploration Summer Program which served over 800 high school students in a residential summer program at Wellesley College.
Tamisha Williams is the Dean of Adult Equity & Inclusion at Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco, California. Tamisha earned her B.A. in Studio Arts and Comprehensive Education from the University of Richmond and her M.Ed. in Family and Marriage Counseling from The College of William & Mary in Virginia, her home state. Prior to relocating to California, Tamisha began her career as an Assistant Director of Admission at the University of Richmond where she coordinated multicultural recruitment programs, recruited and trained student volunteers, and planned open house and other admission events. Leaving her home state, she relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico and served as the Director of Diversity Initiatives/Asst. Dir. of College Counseling at Bosque School for three years. During her time at Bosque School she chaired the Diversity Task Force, facilitated professional development workshops for faculty and staff, and co-developed a day-long conference for 7th grade students, entitled “ME WE Conference: Exploring Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice.” In her current position, Tamisha works with staff, faculty, administration, parents, and trustees in creating an integrated program to further the school’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and in naming and confronting structural and systemic inequalities that exist for members of the school community.
Andy Wright is the Head of the Middle School at Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad, California. After graduating with a B.A. in geology from Earlham College, he earned a teaching credential in secondary mathematics from California State University, Fresno. Since then he has been part of both boarding and day schools as a teacher and administrator in New Mexico, Utah, Pennsylvania, California and Kenya. Prior to his current position at Pacific Ridge, Andy served as associate middle school head and faculty member at Bosque School for 14 years. Andy is an avid hiker and cyclist. Prior to moving back to California, he and his wife Laura spent countless days exploring the remote canyons of southeastern Utah. Now they are looking forward to rediscovering the deserts and mountains of California.
The Sofia Center designs and leads professional development programs
for Bosque faculty and staff, and offers an ongoing series of professional
retreats, seminars, and workshops open to all educators.