New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department Advisory Council

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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.

To launch this effort, ECECD announced an open application for volunteers to serve as members of the Council. After a thorough inter-agency review and selection process, 41 individuals were selected to serve on the Advisory Council. Individuals were chosen based on their experience and expertise in a variety of early childhood education and care settings. The Advisory Council held four sessions, each lasting four hours, beginning in summer and ending in autumn 2020.

The Council discussed many important challenges and opportunities facing ECECD and New Mexico’s early childhood community. Following the conclusion of the four sessions, the professional facilitation team drafted a report outlining the Advisory Council’s establishment, purpose, work, and recommendations. The recommendations developed by the Advisory Council will impact the development of ECECD’s policies and practices and will be implemented wherever possible. The recommendations of the Advisory Council will also guide ECECD’s budget and legislative priorities and strategies.

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)