Marie Garcia Shaffner has her roots deep in New Mexico history beginning in 1598 with the arrival of her 12th great-grandfather, Juan De Onate. Many members of this family were major contributors to the economic, spiritual, and educational development of New Mexico. She is the sixth great-granddaughter of Juana Lopez de Aragon, who is considered one of the 12 founding families of Albuquerque.
Marie was raised on a family farm in Tome', New Mexico, just 30 minutes driving time south of Albuquerque. She and her brothers were responsible for the day to day activities that would normally be associated with raising livestock and forage crops. Her father Casimiro Garcia was one of the largest farmers in the valley and most progressive. He was the first in the area to use laser leveling to manage his farmland and use mechanized methods for harvesting Alfalfa. Marie is the sixth generation to live on land acquired by the family in the mid 1800's. Over the last 150 years the land has been used for grazing cattle and horses, production of potatoes, forage crops and most recently, alfalfa.
The farm referred to as the Tajo and is adjacent to the Tome' land grant which was a 400,000 acre tract of land given to 26 residents of Tome', New Mexico by the king of Spain in 1739. Marie is a descendent of one of these families. The provisions of the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo gave title to 26 signatories. One of the these was Francisco Sanchez who was the grandson of Juana Lopez de Aragon and the fifth great grand parent of Marie Garcia Shaffner. Juana Lopez de Aragon is considered as one of the twelve founding families of Albuquerque and is the seventh great grandmother of Marie.
One of the brands owned by the family farm is over 100 years old and still used today. The brand was issued prior to 1899 when New Mexico was a territory and 13 years before statehood!
Marie comes from a long line of educators starting with Anastacio Garcia her second great grandfather, who established the first school in Las Nutrias, New Mexico in 1897. Anastacio was the Valencia County Sheriff from 1854-1855
After graduating from the University of New Mexico Marie began her career as an educator with the Belen, New Mexico school district ultimately becoming Superintendent of Schools. The Belen district consisted of nine schools, 5,000 students and 500 employees with a $30,000,000.00 budget.
During her tenure as Superintendent she achieved a couple of notable milestones one of which was the successful lobbying efforts to pass a bond issue which built the La Promesa Elementary School in northern Socorro county. The other was the successful lobbying for the replacement of the Belen School District administrative offices which were housed in the former 1950's style Belen Hospital.