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Notice to the Public

The ECECD Advisory Council held its final meeting on Friday, October 16.

Notice to the Public

The Early Learning Advisory Council (ELAC) held its latest meeting on Thursday, December 10.


In 2019, Gov. Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico Legislature created the Early Childhood Education and Care Department. The Department officially launched on July 1, 2020.

The Department’s aim is to create a more cohesive, equitable, and effective early childhood system in New Mexico. That means coordinating a continuum of programs from prenatal to five – and ensuring that families in every corner of the state can access the services they need. This work is informed by New Mexico’s Birth-Five Needs Assessment (Spanish version here) and the related Native American Perspectives report, which include feedback from thousands of New Mexicans.

The Department also oversees child care programs – as well as food and nutrition programs – that serve older children and families.

Cabinet Secretary

ECECD is led by Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky. Sec. Groginsky began her early childhood career in Head Start – first as a family services coordinator, then as an administrator of a Head Start program, and eventually as director of Colorado’s Head Start State Collaboration Office.

Later, she directed early childhood education for United Way Worldwide and steered the Early Childhood Data Collaborative, a national coalition designed to improve state policies and practices around early childhood data systems.

Most recently, Secretary Groginsky served as assistant superintendent of early learning in the District of Columbia, spearheading the District’s efforts toward universal pre-K and focusing on ensuring equal access for all families and young children. 

Assistant Secretary for Native American Early Childhood Education and Care

Jovanna Archuleta serves as the nation’s first Assistant Secretary for Native American Early Childhood Education and Care. She works to ensure strong partnerships with New Mexico’s tribal communities and to strengthen government-to-government relationships on early childhood issues.

Previously, Assistant Secretary Archuleta worked for the LANL Foundation and the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council. She lives in Nambe Pueblo with her family.

Advisory Council

The Advisory Council fulfills a requirement established in SB 22, the 2019 legislation that created the Early Childhood Education and Care Department. Members were chosen from a pool of over 300 applicants by an independent panel composed of participants from New Mexico’s Public Education Department (PED), Higher Education Department (HED), and ECECD. In making its selections, the panel followed a rubric of applicant requirements outlined in SB 22, prioritizing members who reflect geographic, cultural, linguistic, gender, ethnic, and racial diversity and experience in a range of early childhood and higher education settings.

Members of the Council include:

  1. Alma Martell
    Organizer, OLE
  2. Amber Cadena
    Educator, Chins
  3. Amber Wallin
    Deputy Director, NM Voices for Children
  4. Amelia Black
    ECE Faculty, Dine College
  5. Anita Rios
    Facilitator, Community Partnership for Children
    Silver City
  6. Anna Marie Garcia
    Vice President of Early Childhood Education, LANL Foundation
  7. Barbara Tedrow
    Owner, A Gold Star Academy & Child Development Center / Smiling Faces Child Care Center / F.A.C.E.S First, Ltd Home Visiting
  8. Candace Keams Benally
    Principal and PreK Administrator, Central Schools
  9. Catron Allred
    Director, Central NM Community College
  10. Coda Omness
    Department Chair CTE, ENMU-Ruidoso
  11. Crystal Tapia
    Executive Director and Owner, Noah’s Ark Children’s Academy & Early Childhood Solutions
  12. Dana Bell
    Interim Director, Cradle to Career Policy Institute UNM
  13. Diana Hammond
    Pre-K Coordinator and Special Education Teacher, Ruidoso Municipal Schools
  14. Doris Salazar
    Lead Pre-K Teacher, Desert Montessori
    Santa Fe
  15. Elsa Begueria
    Superintendent, Lake Arthur Municipal Schools
    Lake Arthur
  16. Elizabeth Beers
    Director of Community-Based Programs, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, Socorro General Hospital
  17. Elizabeth Torrison
    Early Intervention Executive Director, NAPPR Inc.
  18. Elsa Rojas
    Lead Nursery Teacher, Partnership for Community Action
  19. Francine Cachucha
    Program Director, Jicarilla Child & Family Education Center
  20. Franz Joachim
    General Manager & CEO, New Mexico PBS and KNME-TV
  21. Gil Vigil
    Executive Director, Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council
    Tesuque Pueblo
  22. Hope Morales
    Executive Director, Teach Plus
  23. Janis Gonzales
    Maternal Child Health Director, NM Department of Health
  24. Joan Baker
    Executive Director, BEFORE
  25. Julie Lucero
    Executive Director of Special Education, Santa Fe Public Schools
    Santa Fe
  26. Kelly Dineyazhe Hunter
    Assistant Professor, Navajo Technical University
  27. Lori Martinez
    Executive Director, Ngage New Mexico
    Las Cruces
  28. Maria Elena Salazar
    Lecturer III, UNM Early Childhood Education Degree Programs
  29. Mark Sparenberg
    IT and QA Coordinator, Child & Family Services Inc. of Lea County
  30. Melanie Skinner
    Principal and NMPreK Coordinator, Brown Early Childhood Center
  31. Michael Armendariz
    Director, Tresco Children Services
    Las Cruces
  32. Noemi Langley
    Center Coordinator and Family Advocate, Child & Family Services Inc. of Lea County
  33. Nora Hernandez Cordova
    Equal Justice Paralegal Fellow, New Mexico Immigrant Law Center
  34. Ruth Ann Ortiz
    Board of Directors President, New Mexico Association for Infant Mental Health
    Las Cruces
  35. Sally Green
    Preschool Supervisor, Roswell Independent School District
  36. Taylor J. Etchemendy
    UNM Taos Mentor Network Coordinator and Director of INSPIRE Bilingual Early Learning Center
  37. Terry Anderson
    Executive Director and Project Coordinator, Community Partnership for Children
    Silver City
  38. Trisha Moquino
    Founding Executive Director and Guide, Keres Children’s Learning Center
    Cochiti Pueblo
  39. Representative Rebecca Dow
    Truth or Consequences
  40. Kelly Klundt
    Legislative Finance Committee
  41. Secretary Debbie Romero
    Department of Finance and Administration (Meribeth Densmore, Representative)

The Council will also include two professional facilitators, and will meet four times in 2020 before submitting a series of recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature.

Meetings will take place as follows:

  • July 24, 2020
  • August 21, 2020
  • September 18, 2020
  • October 16, 2020

Two sessions per day:

  • 1st Session 9:30-11:00 am
  • 2nd Session 12:30-2:30 pm