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Board Members

Anita Bringas, President


Anita N. Bringas is the Strategic Support Manager at UNM-Taos, a role that includes community engagement, government affairs, marketing and communications, and strategic initiatives.  She oversees the departments of Human Resources, Business, Institutional Research, Campus Events, and Student/Cultural Programming.

She earned her AA in Pre-Business Administration, a multidisciplinary Bachelor’s of Liberal Arts Degree in Communication & Journalism, Management, and Organizational Learning & Instruction Science, before completing her master’s degree in Public Administration with a focus in Non-Profit Management.

Bringas is committed to serving the greatest good of the community is involved with several community organizations.  In addition to Taos MainStreet, she serves on the boards of the Taos Entrepreneurial Network (TEN), Taos Feeds Taos, the Taos Community Foundations Women Give collaborative, and the Enchanted Circle Community Organizations Active in Disaster (EC COAD).  Previously, Anita served on the Taos Fiesta Council, the national Alliance of HSI Educators (AHSIE) Council, and was deployed with the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief Team to Hattiesburg, MS in 2005.

She feels fortunate to live in Taos, New Mexico for the last fifteen years, where she stays with mother in the house that her grandparents built in the 1930’s.

Aurora Valdez, Vice President


Aurora (Trujillo) Valdez is the Community Wellness Manager for the Taos Pueblo Division of Health & Community Services. Aurora serves as the Board Secretary of the Taos Pueblo Foundation Board of Directors, the treasurer of the Taos Pueblo Sports Alliance, and is also on the board of Emerge NM. Although she was raised in Ranchos De Taos, her father is from Arroyo Hondo, and her mother is from Taos & Tesuque Pueblos. After living away for many years in her high school, college, and early career years, she is happy to be home and serving her community. Aurora earned a Master’s in Public Health with a Public Health Policy & Management concentration from the University of Arizona in 2015. Aurora received her Bachelors in Sociology in 2012 from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she was an NCAA Division 1 scholarship athlete competing on the school’s cross country & track teams. She has previously worked in Mission & Community Health at CHRISTUS St. Vincent Medical Center and Anchorum St. Vincent, in Student Wellness for the Santa Fe Public Schools, and as a research assistant for the Native Nations Institute at the University of Arizona. Aurora is passionate about health equity and creating an environment where all community members can lead healthy, fulfilling lives.

Juniper Leherissey, Treasurer


Juniper Leherissey is a non-profit management professional with 26 years of experience in arts and environmental organizations. Focusing on fundraising and executive management, she has helped organizations raise millions of dollars and implemented large-scale, mission driven programs that take these institutions to a new level.

Juniper has dedicated her professional life to the non-profit world and has worked in almost all aspects of non-profit operations. She has held professional positions in fundraising and management since 2004, with experience at Carnegie Museum, Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, the first Development Director for the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, helping to complete the Harwood Museum’s $6.3M capital campaign, leading the community-driven master planning for the Taos Land Trusts’ Rio Fernando Park, and most recently as the Executive Director of the Harwood Museum of Art.

Juniper holds a Masters in Arts Management from the Carnegie Mellon Heinz School of Public Policy and Management, and a BA in Anthropology from Reed College. She serves on the Board of the New Mexico Humanities Council, STEMarts Lab, and the MAE Private Foundation.

“Growing up in Peñasco and Taos has given me a unique perspective on the challenges of our multi-cultural and rural communities. I returned to my home town two decades ago interested in learning how to build a better future for the people in this amazing place.”

Doug Patterson, Member


Douglas Patterson has been rooted in the Taos community for over 25 years raising a family, running an architecture firm, And running a biodynamic farm.
Under his leadership Living Designs Group Architects has grown into a multi faceted firm offering design, construction, and planning assistance for towns, counties, and municipalities as well as higher education, K-12 schools, resort, commercial and residential development.
Tackling regional issues such as land-use, sustainability, building technology, and housing, Living Designs Group Architects has been provider of solutions for regions across the south west.
Douglas has been  a leader in community and civic leader ship with 12 years as both Town of Taos planning and zoning chairman and commissioner, six years of service with the Taos Youth Soccer League as Board President, coach, and mentor.
Douglas and his wife Page Patterson have run Rio Lucero Farms, a small organic farm in the rio lucero valley where they also raised two kids that have gone on to become the world class athletes in their own right. Both have made significant contributions to there respective sports of big mountain skiing and distance running.
“I am proud to serve on the board of Taos Main Street. Taos is a prime example of most distinct facet of New Mexico towns, a dense urban fabric that exists within a larger agricultural mountain landscape. In order to maintain its timeless existence, that fabric requires investment, care, and planning. Taos Main street is uniquely situated to make significant contributions to life and vibrance our downtown core.“

Kristeena Smith, Member


My name is Kristeena Smith. I was born and raised in sunny Southern California but now call Taos home for the last 2 years. I am a single mom, downtown business owner (Hitching Post Shave Co), and a Taos Fire Department Volunteer. I am dedicated to preserving, beautifying, and growing business here in the historic district of Taos.  I’m excited to bring new and fresh ideas to this organization and hope to get our community involved in the process.

Karina Armijo, Ex Officio


Karina Armijo is the Marketing Director for the Town of Taos. She serves as the liaison between Taos MainStreet and our government partner, the Town of Taos.


Charles Whitson, Executive Director


Born and raised in Taos, he brings a strong understanding of the community to this position. After graduating from Taos High School he moved to Albuquerque to attend the University of New Mexico where he studied business, astronomy, and sociology. After his studies at UNM he started a business and family before deciding to return to Taos in 2018. He took the position as Taos MainStreet’s first Executive Director on January 1, 2020. He is responsible for the daily operations of the organization, planning, fundraising, project implementation, as well as the management of staff, volunteers, programming, and communications. He is focused on developing and implementing projects in three main areas: physical improvements and infrastructure in the district, economic revitalization work, and capacity building. It is critically important to him to create opportunities for younger generations who grow up in this community and those who might relocate to Taos. He strives to build partnerships across the public and private sector to help achieve MainStreet’s core objectives of engaging people, building places, and revitalizing economies.

Claire Jordy, Administrative Coordinator


Claire was raised in Taos and has always been interested in creating a strong sense of community. She received a BA in Environmental Studies from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. Following graduation, she moved to Knoxville, TN for a year of Americorps service at Knox County’s Stormwater Department. The next two years, Claire was a Water Resource Planner for a ten-county planning commission in Pittsburgh, PA where she helped municipalities and counties with stormwater, floodplain management, and more. Claire moved back to Taos in 2020 because she missed the sunshine and community. As the administrative coordinator for Taos Mainstreet, Claire helps support daily operations, administration, and various project teams.