Board & Staff
Barbara Taylor, Ed.D., President (2023)
Professor and Dean Emeritus, College of Education, WNMU
Barbara Taylor, Professor and Dean Emeritus of the School of Education at Western New Mexico University has supported the education of all children throughout her career. The Imagination Library that provides books to children from birth to age five is but one avenue to nurture and advance this goal. She has been an active board member working to promote literacy in the community where she began as a literacy volunteer when she first moved to New Mexico. “Books open doors to adventure, imagination and ideas. Reading is the foundation of learning and nothing is more exciting than to see the face of a child light up when they realize they can read.”
Rose Marie Placencia, Vice President (2023)
Rosie is a retired educator after teaching for 32 years at Harrison Schmitt Elementary in Silver City, NM. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree and her Master’s degree in Education from Western New Mexico University. She has three grown children and is also blessed with four grandchildren, three of which live in the same town. Needless to say, she is provided with a “grandma fix” on a daily basis! Her time is spent with those children, continuing her “teacher” modeling and expectations. She is true to the saying, “once a teacher, always a teacher!”
She is a member of several sororities, all of which promote education for children and their well-being, as well as inspire young women to follow their dreams and make a difference in their lives and the lives of others. She is a member of P.E.O., Alpha Delta Kappa, and is President of Belles for Education. Rosie is also Treasurer of Theatre
Candace Anderson-Amaro, Secretary (2024)
Dental hygienist and mother of 2
Candace Anderson-Amaro joined our board of directors in 2018. As a mom, she believes “reading is pivotal in a child’s development,” and she hopes to use her energy and enthusiasm to educate others.
Rosemary Smith, Treasurer (2023)
Correspondence for Mark Richard, Architect; formerly church treasurer
Rosemary said she was honored when asked to consider being a part of the board of Imagination Library of Grant County by founders Loren and Barbara Nelson. She has been treasurer since joining the board in 2018 and has enjoyed working with the other directors who share similar interests in and enthusiasm for this program. There is much to be said for being associated with an organization that helps impact young children’s lives for the good. The Nelsons, both educators, were obviously drawn to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library because it is a philanthropic program that engages young children and their parents, and they wanted to implement a program like this in our community and to expand the benefits for literacy through our whole state.
With a new book coming each month, parents are encouraged to make reading to their young children a regular and fun family activity. Free age-appropriate books are mailed monthly to local children enrolled in the program from birth to age 5. These young children will have accumulated a substantial library of their own by the time they arrive at kindergarten, where they are certainly at an advantage to become ready readers!
Judi Bush, Director (2023)
Judi Bush became a member of our board in May 2018. As a kindergarten teacher, Judi knows firsthand the power of reading aloud and having books in the home. Judi joined the board to promote early literacy in Grant County. “We wish for all children to know the joy of reading and have books at their fingertips.”
Amanda Moffett Lane, MBA, Director (2023)
Director, Alumni Services at Western New Mexico University
New to the board in 2021, Amanda Moffett Lane is the Director of Alumni Services at Western New Mexico University. Along with her husband Tyrell, she is grateful to the Imagination Library of Grant County for providing books monthly to their girls that are, well written, illustrated and age appropriate. As a family, they enjoy reading together, then discussing the stories. Amanda is excited to serve on the board, educate parents on the importance of reading to children, register new families up for the program and help with Dolly Parton’s mission of inspiring the love of reading from an early age!
Literacy Coach, Cobre School District
Colleen Walker is a retired educator who made literacy the focus of her career and her volunteer efforts. She taught at all levels from pre-kindergarten to the University level. She has been a board member since 2014 because the mission Imagination Library aligns with her passion to see young children have access to books and to develop a love of reading. It is very exciting for her to see her two grandchildren enjoying the IL books they receive in the mail. At ages 1 and 3, they already love books and being read to. The words “Read it again!” are music to her ears. All children should have the opportunity to connect with books!
Barbara Nelson, Director Emeritus
Retired Educator and Founder
Barbara moved to Silver City from Minnesota with her husband in 2002 having recently retired from teaching elementary music in the Minnetonka Public Schools. She volunteered for 10 years at several Grant County El Grito Head Start Schools reading to the children and saw first-hand the need to get books into children’s homes. When Barbara learned about the Imagination Library, a plan came together! She helped establish the Imagination Library of Grant County in 2010, and it has grown rapidly from 8 initial registrants to 1250 children who are currently getting a free, high-quality age-appropriate book each month in the mail. “We know that having books in the homes and having parents reading aloud to their children will foster a love of learning and family bonds will be created.”
Retired Educator and Founder
During his 34 year teaching career in Minnesota, Loren taught math to 7th through 12th graders and for 3 years was the software instructor for a staff of 400. For 10 years he was a member of the national board of Hosteling International, now known as American Youth Hostels (AYH) and coordinated the volunteer councils in the Midwest Region covering 7 states. After moving to Silver City, he was one of the founders of the Volunteer Center of Grant County and put his AYH training to work. When Loren’s term at AYH was complete, he and Barbara founded the Imagination Library of Grant County in order to provide books to the children of the area. The Dollywood Foundation viewed their success as one of the best in the state and asked them to lead the efforts to make this program available to ALL babies, infants and toddlers in the state. Their efforts continue.
Christina Riddle, LMSW, Director (2024)
WNMU Family Counseling Center
Christina is a social worker who has spent much of her career
focused on supporting, connecting, and strengthening families
with young children. It is essential for caregivers to create safe, secure, and nurturing
relationships as the foundation for lifelong learning and well-being. As a foster parent, co-
parent with birth parents for over ten years, and adoptive parent, Christina's personal life has
often mirrored her belief in the power of relationships to heal foundational cracks, build new
connections, and alter trajectories for a lifetime. Reading with young children and enjoying
books together accomplishes this in rich and meaningful ways!
Nancy Stephens, Executive Director
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Nancy has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Indiana University and a Master’s degree in Social Work from New Mexico State University. She has worked in social service settings in New Mexico and Kentucky. Nancy and her husband Brian moved to Silver City in 2007, and their children loved getting Imagination Library books as babies. Nancy has a passion for children’s books and grew up listening to Dolly Parton’s music. When she read about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, she jumped at the chance to work for the Grant County affiliate in 2015. Nancy stated in her application, “Although childhood literacy is different from social work, both place value on children’s learning, social justice and well-being, and both can facilitate positive change. Almost nothing is more powerful than a good story, especially when it’s associated with the love of a parent.” Nancy considers story time the best part of each day and plans to read aloud to her kids as long as they let her.