Our Faculty

Presenting Faculty

Week 1:  (6/12 – 6/16)

Brad Fairbanks PixBradford Fairbanks will be presenting Center Stage and is currently the Performing Arts Chair at Santa Fe Preparatory School.  He has directed numerous plays and musicals and is also a trained actor.  Brad is currently signed with The O’Agency in Albuquerque and auditions regularly for TV and film produced in New Mexico.  Recently he landed a part in Jackie, a film starring Holly Hunter.

  Brad graduated from The Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater in NYC, the home of the Meisner Technique, and has studied with many acting teachers.  Brad is most proud of his small role on Broadway in Inherit the Wind with George C. Scott and Charles Durning.  He received a Masters in Education from The City College of New York and moved to Santa Fe from Manhattan eleven years ago to pursue his teaching career.






Melissa Carl will be bringing us The Night Shift.  Melissa is a self-MCarlstyled polymath who has taught widely across the traditional liberal
arts curriculum. A graduate of New Zealand’s University of Otago and New Mexico’s own St. John’s College, Melissa has taught physics, philosophy, chemistry, and religious history. Before joining the Santa Fe Prep faculty in 2012, Melissa was Senior Lecturer at the American University in Iraq where she taught college-level science classes and conducted research into the consequences of extractive industry activity in the region.






Robert Wilder will be presenting What’s Your Story?  Rob is the author of one novel, NICKEL, and two critically acclaimed books of essays: Tales From The Teachers’ Lounge and Daddy Needs a Drink, both optioned for television and film.  He has published essays in Newsweek, Details, Salon, Parenting, Creative Nonfiction, Working Mother and elsewhere. He has been a commentator for NPR’s Morning Edition, The Madeleine Brand show, On Point and other national and regional radio programs. Wilder’s column, also titled “Daddy Needs A Drink,” was printed monthly in the Santa Fe Reporter for close to ten years. He was awarded the inaugural Innovations in Reading Prize by the National Book Foundation. Wilder lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and has been teaching at Santa Fe Prep since 1996.






Mark Bixby holds a Bachelor of Arts bixdegree in philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin and earned a master’s degree in liberal arts from St. John’s College. Prior to becoming a teacher, Mark spent nine years working in commercial kitchens. Outside of school, Mark enjoys spending time with his wife, Keira, and daughters Ruby and Cora.









Week 2:  (6/19 – 6/23)

Alex Peña will be bringing us The Teaching Artist.  Alex received his a-pena-e1440430631222Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma and his Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He is an active artist and shows his work regularly in galleries, museums, and other venues throughout the U.S., Europe, and China.  He has taught college courses since 2009, including in the Art Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Institute of American Indian Arts, and Santa Fe Community College.






Que Viva Nuevo Mejico! will be facilitated by Sheena Chakeres. sheena-n-e1417626617254Sheena earned her BA in Spanish and Latin American Studies at the University of Florida and spent a semester abroad in Granada, Spain. Sheena’s passion for travel and culture continued after university, when she spent a year traversing ruins and volunteering in Central and South America, led two trips to Costa Rica with high school students from her previous school in Florida, and worked as an Academic Dean for Oxbridge in Barcelona, Spain. Sheena maintains an active lifestyle and enjoys hiking, yoga, and snowboarding.






Jim Heidenberger will be facilitating Geo of the Rio and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer Jim H 750science from the United States Military Academy, and a master’s degree in astronomy from the University of Western Sydney, Australia. Outside the education field, Jim has served as an army officer and production supervisor for General Motors. When not teaching, Jim enjoys being a private pilot, paragliding, paramotoring, and playing the guitar. His two sons graduated with Prep’s class of 2010 and 2013.






Liz Friary will be presenting Creating Space, Creating Place.  Liz isFriary an Upper School English teacher and Dean of Students at Santa Fe Prep. A native of Western Massachusetts, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing at Trinity College and her master’s degree in Writing and the Teaching of Writing at Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English. It was through Bread Loaf that Liz first came to New Mexico and began to explore the area’s landscape and culture, both through her own experiences and through the literature she was studying. She is thrilled to lead a class as they explore in depth, through writing, historical and cultural context, and conversation, New Mexican sense of place amidst a variety of striking and beautiful locales found in the specific pieces of literature they are studying.


Jim Leonard PixHead of School. Jim is in his 18th year as Head of School at Santa Fe Prep.  He also teaches a senior English elective and serves as assistant coach of the boys varsity soccer team. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Williams College, and a master’s in English literature from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College. Jim has taught at independent schools in Connecticut and Vermont. He and his wife Story have three daughters, two of whom graduated from Prep.  Jim will be guiding us The Leadership Narrative for the second time.




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