Karen Barron


Karen was born and raised in El Paso. She has 20 years of teaching experience in elementary and middle school. She has a Bachelor’s in Education from  Utep and Master’s in Reading from Sul Ross State University. Building relationships with students has always been her priority in helping them reach their fullest potential.

Raul Chavez

Teaching Assistant/Afternoon Enrichment Lead

Raul has a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Theater Performance from UTEP. He has taught Theater summer camps at UTEP for over six years and is a Theater Instructor and Director at Kids N’ Co. Raul is excited to continue sharing his love and talent for theater with the students of First Presbyterian Elementary.

Heather Dalby Karns

Director of Elementary

Heather is an El Paso native born and raised. She has a B.A.S. with specialization in Early Childhood from UT Austin and a M.Ed in School Leadership from Sul Ross State University. Heather has enjoyed a career in education spanning two decades engaging in a variety of roles to include elementary teacher, instructional coach, assistant principal and principal. This past year Heather started her own business to coach and support school leaders with the knowledge and tools around developing and maintaining a healthy state of mind. She believes that by prioritizing and cultivating well-being we will create more sustainability in leadership. Heather is grateful for the opportunity to now learn and grow alongside the children and staff at First Presbyterian Elementary School.

Neal Locke

Band Director

In addition to being the pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Neal is a certified teacher in the State of Texas, has two decades of experience teaching in both public and private schools, and holds a Masters degree in Education from
Princeton Seminary. He is currently working on his PhD dissertation through the University of Aberdeen. 
He has been an avid, enthusiastic musician for over 37 years, beginning with piano in the third grade, marching band and choir during high school, French horn and handbells in college, and more recently guitar, ukulele, viola, bagpipes, accordion, harp, and several very obscure instruments (for fun, google: carnyx, theremin, pibgorn, hurdy-gurdy, jouhikko). For almost a decade,  he has served as the Director of Music for Faithbridge Presbyterian Church in North Dallas. He has taught many children (including my own) to play guitar, drums, piano, and other instruments. He believes EVERY person has innate musical ability and a “soul instrument” just waiting to be learned and enjoyed. He can’t wait to get our “FPE Band” underway!



Alejandra Ortiz


Alejandra is a proud mother of two and El Paso native. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Texas State University and has continued her studies to include holistic approaches to nutrition and mindfulness. For many years her profession was in wellness, teaching dance and yoga in Santa Monica, CA. Once she had her son, her interest in child development and education grew as he grew. She moved back to El Paso when he was two and searched for a preschool that focused on learning through play, included plenty of time outdoors, and felt like a home away from home. Instantly she fell in love with First Presbyterian Preschool and the Reggio Emilia approach. Seeing her child gain confidence and thrive motivated her to become more involved with the school. This will be Alejandra’s fifth year in the First Presbyterian school community and second year as a teacher. Her intention is to create a safe environment where each child can be their unique self, explore and learn at their own pace. An artist at heart, she never misses an opportunity to let the children get creative in the classroom. She is excited to nurture their interests and foster a love of learning while growing alongside them.

Kristin Pacheco

Business Administrator

Kristin loves new adventures and brings over 25 years of administrative leadership experience to include volunteering, PTA president and treasurer, running a personal business, campus attendance coordinator, district grant coordinator and most recently 4 years as an elementary campus secretary. She loves working with a team and believes that together is always better. You can count on Kristin to provide Service Excellence by fostering trust and cultivating partnerships.Our students, staff and parents are in great hands.

Laura Price


Laura first began her work with First Presbyterian teaching Music and Movement at the Preschool & Elementary. She has studied five languages and taught online ESL classes. Laura is an active member of First Presbyterian Church and serves as the Childrens’ Ministry Director. Laura is a professionally trained opera singer who participated in Opera in a Can, a touring opera company that visits school districts throughout Washington D.C., Virginia, and Maryland. In addition, she is the creator and teacher of Do-Re-Me&Baby Music Classes.  Laura is currently a student at UTEP where she is working toward her M.ED. in Curriculum and Instruction with a Dual-Credit in Teaching and Learning with concentration in English Education. Laura has three small children who are all enrolled at First Presbyterian Preschool. 

Diana Stone


Diana has a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Education and is currently pursuing a MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She worked as a nanny, PreK teacher, and Kindergarten teacher. She lived in India with a local family to teach at an orphanage, then traveled with World Vision to Zimbabwe and Ecuador to learn about their child-focused programs. She is a member of NAEYC, Texas Association for the Education of Young Children, and the Far West Chapter of the Texas Association for Play Therapy. Both her girls attend the First Presbyterian Preschool and Elementary. She believes every child deserves an education that encourages a lifelong love of learning, care for others, and an understanding of God’s love.

Mariana Villalobos


Mariana has been a homemaker for the past ten years, lovingly caring for her two children and creating an environment her family could thrive in.  Formerly an elementary school teacher, her love for education led her to forge a new path as a volunteer.  Mariana began her work as a volunteer at the El Paso Baby Café, which involved peer counseling and  serving new mothers and their babies for six and a half years.  More recently, Mariana became a Certified Texas Master Naturalist.  Being a Texas Master Naturalist has helped her develop her passion for the outdoors, deepen her understanding of our local ecology, and to continue service within the community.  As a Texas Master Naturalist volunteer, Mariana has been able to work with the public and organizations dedicated to conservation, outdoor education, and outreach efforts.  Her hobbies include gardening, cooking, buying and selling vintage wares, cycling, mountain biking, and hiking.

Gracie Acosta

Spanish Teacher

Our school and our students can only thrive and grow with the love and support of our community. Please check out the opportunities to donate here.


1340 Murchison Drive

El Paso, TX, United States