Board of Regents Members

Kim Sanchez Rael

Photo of Kim Sanchez Rael

Kim Sanchez Rael is a passionate business leader, a startup veteran and investor in innovation. She has extensive experience as an operating executive and as a venture capitalist, focusing on early-stage investments in technology companies. Rael is currently the President and CEO of SRE Wellness, Inc. (dba Azuca).

Rael has an extensive background in both startup and fortune 50 Companies. Before her career in venture, she co-founded an advanced energy company and held numerous management positions at Intel, where she managed a $200 million capital budget, led planning for a $1 Billion expansion, and held roles in finance, operations and strategic planning. Prior to Intel, she served as an aide in the US Senate focusing on foreign affairs and science and technology policy. 

Rael has broad experience on both corporate and community boards. Her corporate board experience spans multiple industries, including: water technology, semiconductors, software-as-a-service, digital media and advanced materials companies. Rael’s community board service includes: New Mexico State Board of Finance; Presbyterian Hospital, the Albuquerque Public Schools Foundation and the Arts Alliance. Rael was the Founding President for a Montessori Charter School. She has been featured as New Mexico Business Weekly Power Broker and Top 10 Women of Influence. Rael is a member of the prestigious international Society of Kauffman Fellows, a Rotary Scholar and is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Women’s Forum-New Mexico.

Rael has a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Harvard and an MBA from Stanford.

Term Ending: 12/31/2024

Boards and Committees

  • Governance Committee
  • Audit and Compliance Committee
  • UNM Rainforest Innovations Board of Directors
  • UNM Foundation Board of Directors
  • Honorary Degree Committee, ex-officio

Jack L. Fortner
Vice Chair

Photo of Jack L. Fortner

Jack L. Fortner is an attorney in Farmington, New Mexico and the Senior Partner in the Firm of Fortner & Beckstead, LLC. 

Fortner grew up in Farmington, New Mexico and graduated from the University of New Mexico in 1978 and obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree.  While at UNM he was a student senator and a member of the NMPIRG Board.  He was also a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Fortner then obtained his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Michigan in 1981. 

Regent Fortner was appointed to the Board of Regents by Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham for the term of January 2021 through December 2026.   Regent Fortner was first appointed to the Board in 1998 by Governor Gary Johnson to a six-year term of 1998 to 2004.  In 2004, Governor Bill Richardson re-appointed Regent Fortner to the Board of Regents for a term from 2004 to 2010.  Governor Susanna Martinez re-appointed him from 2010 to 2016.  Regent Fortner is the only person in New Mexico to ever be appointed to four terms, on the Board of Regents for UNM.

Jack Fortner served as President of the Board in 2005 and has also served as President for the years 2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2013-2014 and 2014-2015.

Fortner also served as Vice-President of the Board from 2001 to 2004, and again from 2006 to 2010.  From 1998 to 2010, he served as Chairman of the Health Science Committee of the Board of Regents.

President Fortner also chaired the Search Committee for the UNM Presidential Search which resulted in the hiring of the former President of UNM, Dr. Bob Frank.  Fortner was also a member of the Search Committee for the UNM Athletic Director which hired Paul Krebs, and he was also a member of the Search Committee for the UNM Football Coach which resulted in the hiring of Bob Davie.

Jack Fortner served on the San Juan County Commissioner for four terms, with his most recent term ending in December of 2020. Fortner previously served on the San Juan County Commission from 1996 to 2000 and from 2000 to 2004.  He then served from 2012 to 2020. He served as Chairman of the Commission in 1997, 2000, 2003,2014, 2017,2019, and 2020.  He also served as Chairman Pro Tem in 1999 and 2002, and again in 2013,2016 and 2018.

Fortner served as Chairman of the Labor Management Relations Board for the City of Farmington from 1995 to 1998, which decided disputes between employees and management.

Fortner also served on the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board from 1994 to 1996.

Fortner is a member of the New Mexico Bar and San Juan County Bar Association and served as President of the San Juan County Bar for the term of 1994 to 1995.

Fortner has also served as the Domestic Relations Hearing Officer for the Eleventh Judicial District Court, San Juan County, New Mexico and served as the Alternate Domestic Violence Commissioner from February 2003 through 2010.  He also served as the Alternate Farmington Municipal Judge from 1994 to 2009. 

Regent Fortner was awarded the Lobo Award by the UNM Alumni Association; the Community Leadership Award by the Hispanic Round table of New Mexico; and an Honorary Letterman by the UNM Letterman’s Association.

Fortner is married to Terri Fortner, a current San Juan County Commissioner, and is a nurse practitioner in Farmington, NM, and they have 2 daughters.

Term Ending: 12/31/2026

Boards and Committees

  • Audit and Compliance Committee, Chair
  • Health Sciences Center Committee, Co-Chair
  • Lobo Energy, Inc. Board of Directors
  • Honorary Degree Committee
  • Carrie Tingley Hospital Board of Directors

Robert L. Schwartz
Secretary – Treasurer

Photo of Robert L. Schwartz

Robert L. Schwartz has more than forty years of experience in teaching law at universities across the country and the world, spending most of his professional career at the University of New Mexico School of Law, where he is the Henry Weihofen Professor of Law Emeritus. After joining the UNM law faculty in 1976, Schwartz focused his research and teaching in the emerging field of Health Law and has gone on to become a nationally recognized scholar in the area of Bioethics, bringing this expertise also into School of Medicine classrooms.

Schwartz is one of five authors of Health Law: Cases, Materials and Problems, the leading Health Law textbook in the country first published in 1987; has written Treatise on Health Law, a two-volume textbook published in 1995; and is co-editor of a volume of Health Law statutes published in 2003. Most recently, Schwartz' writing is in the areas of end-of-life care, death and dying, managed care and the application of civil liberties principles to the health care enterprise. Schwartz has served on the editorial boards of the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare EthicsJournal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy and the Medical Law Review. Through the World Health Organization, he has worked as a consultant on health legislation in Cambodia, Tonga and Vietnam.

Schwartz has previously served as General Counsel for the New Mexico Human Services Department and the Chair of the New Mexico Health Policy Commission. Schwartz holds a Bachelors in Philosophy from Stanford University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Term Ending: 12/31/2024

Boards and Committees

  • Governance Committee, Chair
  • Health Sciences Center Committee, Co-Chair
  • Student Success, Teaching and Research Committee, Vice Chair

William H. Payne

Photo of William H. Payne

Bill Payne was raised in Albuquerque, and following completion of undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of New Mexico, entered the Navy in 1975. During his first 11 years of active duty, he served in Underwater Demolition Team ELEVEN, SEAL Team ONE, the U.S. Naval Academy, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Naval Special Warfare Unit ONE.  Additionally, the Navy sent Bill to Georgetown University where he earned an MA in Government and a certificate in National Security Studies, eventually earning a Navy designation as a Middle East/Africa/South Asia Politico/Military sub-specialist. 

Returning to Albuquerque from active duty in 1986, Bill completed his JD degree at the University of New Mexico School of Law where he was Associate Editor of the Natural Resources Journal. He is currently licensed to practice law in New Mexico and the District of Columbia.

Bill was made an Honorary UNM Letterman in 2012, and was recognized by the UNM Alumni Association with the Higher Education Distinguished Legislator Award in 2013.

Bill eventually became the first career reserve Navy SEAL to be promoted to Rear Admiral. He served in the Navy for nearly 35 years of active and reserve service including multiple recalls to active duty before retiring in October of 2009. Among his senior level positions, he served as Deputy Director for Strategy, Plans and Policy at United States Central Command, Director of Operations at United States Special Operations Command, and Deputy Commander, United States Navy Special Warfare Command.

First elected to the New Mexico Senate in 1996, Bill was the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, a member of the Energy Council, a Commissioner of the Uniform Law Commission, and the recognized leader for utility, veteran/military affairs, and natural resource issues in the Senate.  He served as Minority Whip for 12 years. 

Bill is married to Deborah Payne, a retired Commander U.S. Navy, and a retired manager at Sandia National Laboratories.

Term Ending: 12/31/2026

Boards and Committees

  • Finance and Facilities Committee, Chair
  • Health Sciences Center Committee
  • Lobo Development Corporation Board of Directors, Chair

Victor Reyes
Student Regent

(Coming soon)

Term Ending: 12/31/24

Boards and Committees


Paul Blanchard

Photo of Paul Blanchard

Paul Blanchard has extensive experience in commercial construction and commercial and residential development. He has served as chairman, president, and as an executive for numerous companies in a variety of industries including racetracks, casinos, fitness centers, and ranches. He previously served on the State Board of Finance under Governor Bill Richardson and served as co-chairman of the Renewable Energy Transmission Authority. Throughout his career, Blanchard directed the design and the implementation of strategic plans to ensure company growth and took on responsibilities ranging from hands-on involvement to oversight for financial and business development and planning activities. During 1970 to 1973, Blanchard was a UNM Scholarship Athlete and Football Letterman at the University of New Mexico.

Term Ending: 12/31/28

Boards and Committees

  • Finance and Facilities Committee, Vice Chair
  • Student Success, Teaching and Research Committee
  • Lobo Development Corporation Board of Directors
  • Alumni Association Board of Directors

Paula Tackett

Photo of Paula Tackett

Paula was born and grew up in Albuquerque.  She holds both a bachelor’s and a law degree from the University of New Mexico. In 2009, Tackett was the recipient of the law school’s Distinguished Achievement Award.

Tackett worked for 28 years at the New Mexico Legislative Council Service, serving as Director for the last 22 plus years.  During her time as director, she oversaw two major renovations of the state Capitol, including the birth of the New Mexico Capitol Art Collection–that array of New Mexico art that adorns the walls of the Roundhouse.  She received  the Legislative Staff Achievement Award from the National Conference of State Legislators and in 2010 received the Public Lawyer of the Year Award.

More recently, Paula has worked with the New Mexico Historic Women Markers program to honor women in New Mexico history, serving on the New Mexico Historic Women’s Marker Committee, sharing the knowledge and impact of notable women throughout New Mexico, including representatives from every county and including representation from New Mexico’s tribes, pueblos and the Navajo nation through highway markers that you can see throughout our state.

Tackett served on the New Mexico Compilation Commission during 1988-2010 and provided on-going support and counsel for the commission as it evolved to self-publication of statutes, case law and administrative rules. Tackett currently serves as chair of the advisory committee to the commission. In 2005, the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce awarded Tackett the Steve Reynolds Public Service Award.

During 2012-2023, Tackett served on the Governing Council of the New Mexico School for the Arts, and she served on the Art Institute’s construction committee that oversaw the conversion of the Sanbusco Market into the School for the Arts.

Term Ending: 12/31/28

Boards and Committees

  • Audit and Compliance Committee, Vice Chair
  • Finance and Facilities Committee
  • Governance Committee, ex-officio
  • Honorary Degree Committee