Noreen Simplicio learned to make pottery from Jennie Laate at Zuni High School. She knew the first time she touched the clay in 1977 that making pottery was what she wanted to do with her life. After graduating from high school, she spent some time working with Zuni/Acoma potter/sculptor Angelina Medina. She still says her greatest inspiration came from Jennie Laate and Angelina Medina.
In 1988 Noreen entered her first juried competition and started to earn a long string of major ribbons for her work. Her first entry earned an Award of Excellence. The following August she was a Featured New Artist at Santa Fe Indian Market. In 1989 she entered 6 pieces in one competition and earned 4 1st Place ribbons, a 2nd Place ribbon and a 3rd Place ribbon.
In 1990, Jennie Laate retired and Noreen took over teaching the pottery classes at Zuni High. The position was meant to be temporary and she taught for 2 years. She had more than 100 students in that time. She turned the classes over to Gabriel Paloma in 1992 and he taught Zuni pottery making there for years.