Melissa Candelaria

Melissa Candelaria is the Education Director and a member of the plaintiff’s legal team for Yazzie/Martinez v. State of New Mexico. The Center represents families and schools in this landmark lawsuit against the state for failing to provide public school students a sufficient education as guaranteed by the New Mexico State Constitution. Ms. Candelaria has many years of legal, policy, and advocacy experience on a variety of issues including education, health, child welfare, tribal courts, and governmental relations involving tribes and federal, state and local governments, and the promotion and protection of tribal sovereignty. She currently serves as an Oversight Commissioner for the 19 Pueblos District located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is a citizen of the Pueblo of San Felipe.

Ms. Candelaria has a Juris Doctor with a Certificate in Indian Law from the University of New Mexico School of Law, and a B.A. with a Minor in Education from Dartmouth College.

Alisa Diehl

Alisa Diehl joined the Center in June 2020 as a senior education attorney, and a member of the legal team for the Yazzie plaintiffs in Yazzie/Martinez vs. State of New Mexico.

Before joining NMCLP, Ms. Diehl worked as a staff attorney for Iowa Legal Aid, focusing on unemployment benefits, housing, and domestic abuse litigation. She recently served as Iowa Legal Aid’s Program Developer to coordinate the launch of multiple free legal clinics throughout the state. In 2013, Ms. Diehl received the University of Iowa College of Law’s Jurisprudence Award for Academic Excellence. Prior to law school, Ms. Diehl worked as an immigration legal assistant in Chicago, and spent time volunteering in India.

J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2013.