ECECD Holds First Transition Committee Meeting in Partnership with The Hunt Institute



Lt. Governor, Cabinet Secretaries, Legislators, and Education Leaders Discuss Opportunities
to Create a More Aligned, Coherent, and Equitable Early Childhood System in New Mexico

SANTA FE — Yesterday, the Early Childhood Education and Care Department’s Transition Committee hosted the 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 1st 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. With the leadership of Governor 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,” Lt. Governor Howie Morales said.

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: 

Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales, Co-Chair 
Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, Co-Chair 
Ms. 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 
Senator Michael Padilla 
Senator Mimi Stewart 
Senator Craig Brandt 
Dr. Becky Rowley, President, Santa Fe Community College 
Dr. Sam Minner, President, New Mexico Highlands University 
Mr. Zach Taylor, Director of Santa Fe Programs, Santa Fe Center for Transformational School Leadership 
Mr. Rob Black, President and CEO, New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry 
Mr. Steven Gluckstern, Chairman, TeacherCraft and WeAre.Org 
Mr. Vince Kadlubek, CEO, Meow Wolf 
Mr. Javier Gonzales, Business Development, Government and Public Affairs, Descartes Labs 
Ms. BB Otero, President, Otero Strategy Group 
Ms. 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.


Matt Bieber
Director of Communications
Early Childhood Education and Care Department
(505) 629-9675