Board of Directors

CARTA Board of Directors

October 2018-October 2019

Troy M. Ainsworth, Ph.D

Troy M. Ainsworth studied English, History, and Architecture at Texas Tech University, where in May 2005, he was conferred a Doctorate of Philosophy in Land-use Planning, Management, and Design with a specialization in Historic Preservation. From 2007 to 2010, he served as the Historic Preservation Officer for the City of El Paso, Texas. Between February 2012 and April 2016, he served as the Executive Director of the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Trail Association, and currently is the Museum Specialist with the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts. A native of Texarkana, Texas, he resides in Los Lunas, New Mexico, with his wife Christina and their children Troy Charles and Rebecca Sophia.

Shelley Sutherland

Shelley Sutherland retired from a thirty-seven-year career in administration of higher education at Indiana State University and the University of Oregon, and has been involved with nonprofit organizations for decades, including a professional organization that she helped to establish, the Association of Fraternity / Sorority Advisors. She served as a professional staff member for two nonprofits, and as a volunteer conference planner for the National Housing Conference. Sutherland moved to El Paso in 2009. She has had a long-distance interest in El Camino Real for many years; her father, Sheldon Hall, founded the El Paso Mission Trail Association. Sutherland is currently involved in the Mission Trail Association, the El Paso History Radio Show, and is working to establish the El Paso Heritage Alliance, whose mission is to help regional-history and heritage-focused nonprofits. She is a member of the board of the El Paso County Historical Commission. In 2013, Sutherland assisted with conference planning for CARTA’s International Symposium in El Paso. She completed her first two-year term as a Director in October 2015, and most recently served a term as Secretary.

Christina Ainsworth, AICP, CBO

Christina Ainsworth, a native of El Paso, Texas, was conferred a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Yale University. In December of 2016, earned a Master of Arts in Public Administration from Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. Aside from a brief stint in the private sector at the beginning of her career, she has been involved in local government planning for the majority of her professional career. From 2002 to 2010, she served as a planner with the City of El Paso, Texas, in various capacities including historic preservation, current planning, and long-range planning. Since 2010, she has served as the Community Development Director for the Village of Los Lunas. She was elected to her first term as a Director in October 2016.

Erin Callahan, AICP

Erin Callahan works for the Village of Los Lunas, NM as the Special Projects Planner, where she works on long range planning efforts, ordinance revisions, GIS mapping and the occasional grant application.  She also teaches classes here and there in the Community Development Department at the University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning.  When she has the opportunity, she tries to bring planning topics to even younger audiences, like boy scout troops and her kids’ elementary school classes.  Erin is an avid hiker and trail runner, and has three children, whom she is trying to introduce to the world of backcountry camping.



George Cordova

George Cordova retired from a thirty year career as an educator in the Socorro School District and the El Paso Community College.  He has been a volunteer for numerous boards and committees over the years, including; State Board Member for the Texas State Teacher’s Association, served four years as Region 2A President for the Texas State Teacher’s Association, served for four years as a NEA Resolutions Committee member and is a Commissioner for the El Paso Historic Land Commission.  Most recently, he served two terms as the President of the El Paso Mission Trail Association, where he led the organization to increase their educational outreach efforts by developing a curriculum for in-school presentations that preceded a tour of the three historic El Paso Missions and the Presidio Chapel at San Elizario.  More than three-thousand students were taught about the Camino Real, Mission Trail, and the Spanish Colonization of this area.  He has hosted tours from El Paso to the Mission of Guadalupe in Juarez and is interested in encourage tours of more of the missions along the Camino Real. George worked closely with Nick Houser to develop a permanent Exhibit about the history of the area now located in the Nester Valencia Visitors Center across the street from the Mission Ysleta. George looks forward to expanding his research of the trail and working with CARTA to develop educational programming. He was elected to his first term as a Director in October 2016.

Paul J. Deason, Ph.D.

Paul J. Deason, Ph.D. FSS is President of Science Technology Analysis Team LLC based in Las Cruces, New Mexico, engaged in analyses for emergency planning and preparedness as well as sustainable culturally-sensitive economic development in Southern New Mexico. Dr Deason holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from the University of California, and graduate degrees in Physics, Physical Education, Experimental Statistics and Anthropology from the University of California and New Mexico State University. Dr. Deason served in the US Department of Defense for over 30 years, performing experimental design and statistical analyses for field tests and computer simulations investigating plans and policy, weapons’ systems design, and training, and in analyses based on issues dealing with Homeland Security/Homeland Defense, Antiterrorism and Counterterrorism, and Future Combat Systems. He has over 150 technical publications and presentations to his credit He is Past-President of the NMSU chapter of the international research science society Sigma Xi and Past President of the Chihuahuan Desert chapter of the American Statistical Association. He also served on the boards of the US Army Conference on Applied Statistics, and the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Trail Association. From June, 2012 until June, 2015, he was appointed by NM Governor Martinez as a Director of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority. . In 2008, he was named as one of the 10 “US Heroes of Wilderness.” He is a member of Lambda Alpha – the Anthropology Honors Society, the Dona Ana Archaeology Society, the El Paso Archaeology Museum, the American Rock Art Research Association, and the Archaeological Institute of America. He was elected to his first term as a Director in October 2016.

Sim Middleton

Sim Middleton worked diligently during his tenure to build and maintain the trail association’s partnerships with the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management. After a law enforcement career in Orange County, California, he relocated to Las Cruces, New Mexico. During his term as President, he oversaw the corrective measures necessary to implement to restore CARTA’s good standing with its Federal partners. Due to his long-standing interest in the Camino Real, he has remained active with CARTA and has worked for the trail association’s improvement.

Claire Odenheim

Claire Odenheim is a resident of Las Cruces, New Mexico.. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. Currently a retired librarian, she has long had an interest in the history of the Camino Real and previously served on the CARTA Board of Directors.

Mark L. Howe

Mark L. Howe started his work on historic trails while living in Nebraska and growing up near the Oregon – California Trails (OCTA). He has undergraduate and graduate degrees in Anthropology and History with an emphasis towards disability education in Geology. He currently is the Cultural Resources Specialist at the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) in El Paso. He writes about the history of the Commission, especially during the New Deal time frames and preservation of CCC projects on national forests. He is currently working on projects with the Juan Bautista de Anza Trail in Arizona and California, and a large focus on the CARTA crossing in El Paso along the river where IBWC has land. A life member of OCTA and other historical organizations, he is interested in preservation as well as education for the future. His professional employment entails projects all along the U.S. – Mexico Border in Cultural Resources, History and Archeology and he is currently working on a project locating Spanish Missions along the Rio Grande that were abandoned due to Apache attacks. He was elected to his first term as a Director in October 2016.

Kelly L. Jenks, Ph.D.

A faculty member in the Department of Anthropology at New Mexico State University, Dr. Kelly Jenks earned her Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Arizona in 2011. Her research interests include historical archaeology and Hispanic colonization and settlement patterns. During her academic career, she has examined numerous facets of the Camino Real’s role in Spanish colonization in New Mexico in relation to the impact of European contact with native peoples and the subsequent outcomes.

William (Bill) Sapp, Ph.D.

William (Bill) Sapp holds an MBA from Pepperdine University and a Ph.D. in anthropology from UCLA, where he specialized in the archaeology of the pre-Hispanic cultures of Peru, particularly those on the north coast, the Lambayeque and Chimú. He has conducted excavations in Peru, India, and in the western and southwestern United States. For the past 14 years Sapp has worked for the US Forest Service as the Forest Archaeologist and Tribal Liaison on the San Bernardino National Forest and currently on the Lincoln National Forest. Prior to 1992, Sapp worked in finance and banking with Lehman Brothers, Sonnenblick–Goldman, Smith Barney Harris Upham, and several other companies. Sapp serves as a Smithsonian expert for Peru and previously served as a director for Conservation Volunteers International Program, a 501 (c)(3) dedicated to improving national parks in various overseas countries. In that capacity, he led groups of volunteers to work at the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary in Peru.

Jeffrey P. Shepherd, Ph.D.

Jeffrey P. Shepherd is an Associate Professor and Director of the Doctoral Program in the Department of History at the University of Texas at El Paso. He received his Ph.D. from Arizona State University in 2002, and his M.A. from the University of Oregon. His book, We Are an Indian Nation: A History of the Hualapai People (University of Arizona Press, 2010), focuses on the relationships between Native American politics, culture, economics and education, and the surrounding non-Indian population. In 2011 it was nominated for “Best Book of the Year” by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. He has received grants or fellowships from the American Philosophical Society, the American Historical Association, the Max Millett Research Fund, the Ft. McDowell Indian Nation, Texas Tech University, and the Charles Redd Center at Brigham Young University. He has been a research fellow at the Newberry Library and with the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is working on a book about the environmental history of the Guadalupe Mountains in west Texas and southern New Mexico, which is based on a contract from the National Park Service; and he completed a contract with NPS to write a brief history of the Washita Battlefield National Historic Site in Oklahoma. He is working on several projects addressing the histories of the Apache and Blackfoot peoples along the U.S. – Mexico and U.S. – Canada borders, respectively. He is co-editor with Myla Vicenti Carpio of the series, Critical Issues in Indigenous Studies, for the University of Arizona Press; and he sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of Arizona History and the West Texas Historical Review. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on Indigenous, Western, Border, and Public History. He presently lives in Las Cruces, NM and has spent the better part of fifteen years exploring the New Mexico-West Texas-Northern Chihuahua borderlands.