SANTA FE – Today, the Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) welcomed the Early Childhood Education and Care Advisory Council, which will further the governor’s priority to create a more cohesive, equitable, and family-centered early childhood education and care system in New Mexico.  

“This Council will engage with a wide range of stakeholders to build upon our ongoing work to create the most accessible, supportive, and successful early childhood system in the country,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “We are thrilled to launch this new advisory council and look forward to many years of productive partnership with its members.” 

This Council replaces the Early Learning Advisory Council. New Mexico is required by federal law to have a state advisory early childhood council – this Early Childhood Education and Care Advisory Council fulfills this requirement and aligns with the Department’s Five-Year Strategic Plan.  

“I am excited to learn from this knowledgeable, diverse, and committed group of individuals,” said Elizabeth Groginsky, Secretary of ECECD. “I look forward to partnering with them to improve outcomes for families and young children.”  

The Council’s ex officio members: 

  • Patrick Allen, Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Designate 
  • Alanna Dancis, Medical Director, Human Services Department, Medicaid Division  
  • Elizabeth Groginsky, Cabinet Secretary of ECECD 
  • Mariana Padilla, Director of Governor Lujan Grisham’s Children’s Cabinet 
  • Stephanie Rodriguez, Cabinet Secretary of Higher Education Department 
  • Shana Runck, Acting Director, Head Start State Collaboration Office 
  • Dr. Kurt Steinhaus, Cabinet Secretary of Public Education Department  
  • Barbara Vigil, Cabinet Secretary of Children, Youth, & Families Department  

Additional Council Members:  

  • Zach Ben, Parent Representative  
  • Rob Black, President, New Mexico Chamber of Commerce 
  • Lula Mae Brown, Director of Early Childhood Services for ENMRSH, Inc 
  • Robert Chavez, CEO of Youth Development Incorporated 
  • Daisey Lira, City Council Woman, District 2 of Sunland Park 
  • Brian Luck, Superintendent, Roswell Independent School District  
  • Dr. Cynthia Martinez, Assistant Dean of Early Childhood for Western New Mexico University 
  • Lakersha Martinez, Bridges to Opportunity Director, Growing Up New Mexico 
  • Dr. Corrine Sanchez, Executive Director for Tewa Women United 
  • Crystal Tapia-Romero, Owner/Operator of New Mexico Early Learning Academy 
  • Amber Wallin, Executive Director for New Mexico Voices for Children 
  • Teresa Quintana, Vice President of HELP New Mexico, Incorporated 

The executive order establishing the council is available here:  

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