ECECD Holds First Of Four Transition Committee Meetings In Partnership With The Hunt Institute


SANTA FE — The Early Childhood Education and Care Department’s Transition Committee (ECECD) Thursday hosted its first of four meetings.

The three-hour gathering, coordinated by The Hunt Institute and conducted via Zoom, addressed challenges and opportunities facing ECECD as it prepares for its July 1 launch.

In particular, the Committee focused on ways to ensure better coordination across the state’s prenatal-to-five programs – and to involve local and tribal communities more fully in the development and implementation of programs and services across the state.

“I am grateful for the constructive spirit of collaboration we witnessed today to move New Mexico forward on an issue of critical importance to our future,” Lt. Gov. Howie Morales said. “With the leadership of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky, and so many within State government and in the private sector, we are demonstrating again that New Mexico may lead the way in our nation for better health and education services for our youngest children and their families. This new agency will enable us to do the very best we can for children across our state. It is gratifying for me to see an idea I first proposed in the Senate years ago become reality, and advance.”

ECECD Secretary Groginsky added, “Last year, New Mexico took an extraordinary step forward. Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Lujan Grisham, Sen. Michael Padilla, and Rep. Linda Trujillo – along with so many others inside and outside of government – our state created one of the nation’s only Cabinet-level departments dedicated to early childhood, prenatal to age five. Then, earlier this year, the legislature and the Governor created the Early Childhood Trust Fund to reinforce New Mexico’s long-term commitment to its youngest children.”

“Today’s meeting built on that work, gathering nearly three dozen people with diverse perspectives who provided key insights into the challenges and opportunities ahead. The participants, most of whom have spent years supporting our state’s youngest children and their families, offered invaluable guidance – including lessons learned from other states’ efforts to improve their early childhood systems,” Sec. Groginsky continued.

“Through the creation of the Early Childhood Education and Care Department, New Mexico has made a national statement about its commitment to the efficiency and accountability of its early childhood system,” shared Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, President & CEO of The Hunt Institute. “The Hunt Institute is honored to work alongside Secretary Groginsky and the Transition Committee in support of this important work.”

In advance of the Committee’s first meeting, The Hunt Institute issued a brief highlighting children’s early years as a crucial developmental window – and the evidence connecting investments in early childhood with “long-term savings [that] minimize the need for taxpayer funded educational, social service and criminal justice interventions.” 

Members of the Transition Committee include: 

  • Lt. Gov. Howie Morales, Co-Chair 
  • Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, Co-Chair 
  • Mariana Padilla, Director and Chair, New Mexico Children’s Cabinet 
  • Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky, New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department 
  • Assistant Secretary for Native American Early Childhood Education and Care Jovanna Archuleta
  • Secretary Ryan Stewart, New Mexico Public Education Department 
  • Secretary David R. Scrase, MD, New Mexico Human Services Department
  • Secretary Brian Blalock, New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department 
  • Secretary Lynn Trujillo, New Mexico Department of Indian Affairs 
  • Secretary Bill McCamley, New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions 
  • Secretary Kathy Kunkel, New Mexico Department of Health 
  • Deputy Secretary Carmen Lopez, New Mexico Higher Education Department 
  • President Gabe Aguilar, Mescalero Apache Tribe 
  • Jeremy Oyenque, Director of Youth and Learning for Santa Clara Pueblo 
  • Rep. Deborah Armstrong 
  • Rep. Gail Armstrong 
  • Rep. Christine Trujillo 
  • Rep. G. Andrés Romero 
  • Rep. Alonzo Baldanado 
  • Sen. Mimi Stewart 
  • Sen. Craig Brandt 
  • Dr. Becky Rowley, President, Santa Fe Community College 
  • Dr. Sam Minner, President, New Mexico Highlands University 
  • Zach Taylor, Director of Santa Fe Programs, Santa Fe Institute for Transformational School Leadership 
  • Rob Black, President and CEO, New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry 
  • Steven Gluckstern, Chairman, TeacherCraft and WeAre.Org 
  • Vince Kadlubek, CEO, Meow Wolf 
  • Javier Gonzales, Business Development, Government and Public Affairs, Descartes Labs 
  • BB Otero, President, Otero Strategy Group 
  • Harriet Dichter, Early Childhood Systems Consultant

Note: the ECECD Transition Committee is distinct from the department’s Advisory Council. The latter body, established in SB 22 last year, will be announced next month and will begin meeting this summer.

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