May 1-2, 2015 | Albuquerque, NM


From early childcare education to post-secondary attainment, it is imperative that every child and student in New Mexico is provided with high quality educational services to meet the short and long-term economic and civic needs of the state.  Early investments in education demonstrate large returns for families and communities, and society as a whole as well.  Across each phase of the educational pipeline there are improvements that can be made to increase the opportunities for strong academic achievement, parent engagement, and a prepared workforce.

To develop effective policies on early education, it is critical for policymakers to understand the current systems, standards, and accountability metrics currently in place.  It is also important to highlight the partnership opportunities that policymakers and key stakeholders can capitalize upon when they work together to develop service provider and workforce partnerships to respond to and meet the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse families across the state.  This Institute will provide an opportunity to identify the opportunities to strengthen the direct alignment between early childcare education, pre-K, and K-12 systems needed to continue the gains of quality early learning exposure.

This convening is part of the NALEO Education Leadership Initiative (NELI) which aims to provide Latino public servants with the enhanced capacity and governance skills they need to become effective advocates for their students, families, and communities.  Participants attending this two-day convening will hear from leading experts from the public, private, and non-profit sectors who will tackle pressing early learning and K-12 policy topics.


The Institute will include a curriculum that covers:


  • The State of Education in New Mexico
  • An Overview of New Mexico’s Early Childcare Education Structure and Landscape
  • Strengthening Early Education through Community & Parent Engagement
  • Innovative Practices for Infrastructure and Funding Models
  • Accountability & Alignment:  Preparing For and Looking Towards the K-12 System
  • An Overview of the Status of Educational Access and Achievement in New Mexico’s K-12 System
  • Engaging Parents, Teachers, and Students
  • Preparing the Educator Workforce to Meet the Needs of Rural and Urban Communities
  • Preparing the Next Generation for Post-Secondary Education and the Workforce


Institute Title Sponsors



  • Friday, May 1
  • Saturday, May 2

8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.

Institute Registration & Breakfast

8:45 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Welcome & Introductory Remarks

• Ms. Erica Bernal-Martinez, Deputy Executive Director, NALEO Educational Fund

• Hon. John Sapien, New Mexico State Senator; Chair, Education Committee; NALEO Board Member

9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.

Session I:


Session 1: The State of Education in
New Mexico

New Mexico has a diverse population, with nearly 255,000 children between the ages of birth to 18. Latinos alone represent 60% of that population. However, an estimated 62% of the children in the state do not participate in Pre-K services.  Research demonstrates that early investments in quality childcare services and interactions bring long-term emotional, social, and economic benefits for children and their families.  The educational success of all students is critical to the state’s future workforce and economy.  This session will provide a demographic snapshot of birth to eight child population in the state.  In addition, this session will also identify the current gaps in access and enrollment across the state along with an early childcare education legislative update.

• Hon. John Sapien, New Mexico State Senator; Chair, Education Committee; NALEO Board Member

• Dr. Veronica Garcia, Executive Director, New Mexico Voices for Children
PRESENTATION | Resources: 1 | 2

Additional Resource:
New Mexico Child Care and Early Education Task Force – Report

9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

Session II:


An Overview of New Mexico’s Early Childcare Education Structure and Landscape

In order to have an effective and sustainable system of early childcare, education policymakers must understand the landscape of early childcare education services available.  It is important that policymakers become familiar with the format and regulations in which the various types of service providers and educators operate under to provide quality services.  This session will provide participants with information on the different types of early childcare providers, as well as the policies around access, ratings, and accountability systems.

• Katrina Montaño-White, Early Education Quality Development Administrator, New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department, Office of Child Development
PRESENTATION | Resource: 1

• Dr. Michael Weinberg, Early Childhood Education Policy Officer, Thornburg Foundation
PRESENTATION | Resource: 1

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 a.m.

Session III:


Strengthening Early Education through Community & Parent Engagement

The potential cognitive, social, and emotional growth outcomes for children are largely dependent on the quality of the interactions they have in the early years.  Across New Mexico, there are several organizations and centers that include a child’s culture, such as language and family structure, directly into their programmatic and educator services.  Successful programs have worked closely with families and even expanded opportunities for parents to become a part of the early childhood educator workforce.  Through this two-generation model, parent and children’s lives and conditions are simultaneously improved.  This session will highlight how two-generation models for early education that incorporate a child’s culture create greater economic and educational opportunities and benefits for community and families.

• Dr. Baji Rankin, Executive Director, New Mexico Association for the Education of Young Children (NMAEYC)
PRESENTATION | Resource: 1 | 2

• Ms. Katherine Freeman, CEO & President, United Way of Santa Fe County, New Mexico; New Mexico Early Childhood Development Partnership
PRESENTATION | Resource: 1 | 2 | 3

12:15 – 1:15 p.m.

Networking Lunch

1:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

Session IV:


Innovative Practices for Infrastructure and Funding Models

One of the central components of a successful early childcare education system is the funding structure.  There are challenges to maintaining a strong and well-funded system.  As policymakers, it is important to be strategic and creative in developing the adequate policies to meet family needs and address issues around access to such services throughout the state.  This session will highlight creative funding policies and practices to demonstrate how policymakers can develop innovative strategies to support an effective early childcare education system.

• Mr. Charles Sallee, Deputy Director, New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee
PRESENTATION | Resource: 1

• Hon. Fernando Shipley, Board Member,
First Things First, Arizona; NALEO Board Member

• Ms. Kathy Bruck, CEO, City of San Antonio Pre-K 4 SA, San Antonio, Texas

2:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Session V:


Accountability & Alignment: Preparing For and Looking Towards the K-12 System

Reframing early childcare education to encompass a framework from birth to eight requires concerted efforts from policymakers, higher education institutions, administrators, and teachers.  When effectively aligned, transitional programs enhance students’ likelihood of building strong and consistent social, emotional and academic foundations for the future. This session will provide an overview of strategic approaches where early childcare services are aligned with Pre-K systems, by which educator standards, training programs, and curricula encourage a broader education continuum for children and schools.

• Mr. Raul Sanchez, Principal, Blanco Elementary School – Blanco, New Mexico; Director-at-Large, National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)
PRESENTATION | Resource: 1

• Dr. Gabriella Durán Blakey, Assistant Superintendent, Curriculum and Professional Development, Santa Fe Public Schools