NMAEYC History

NM Early Childhood Education Pioneers

This section will be heavily updated this year as we reflect on NMAEYC's 50th Anniversary! Stay tuned for anniversary highlights from the 2016 NMAEYC Early Childhood Conference and for archived materials remembering New Mexico's early childhood champions.

  • A Clear Vision for Early Childhood
  • Marie Hughes
  • Halene Weaver
  • Catherine Loughlin
  • Lenore Wolfe
  • Polly Turner

Early Childhood Education in New Mexico

In 1965, Dr. Catherine Loughlin came to New Mexico to train Head Start teachers. She quickly realized that there was no appropriate early childhood education in the public schools. Catherine became friends with Doris Johnson and the two of them decided that the New Mexico early childhood community needed to come together.

They attended early childhood conferences together and in April of 1966, they went to Washington, D.C. and knocked on NAEYC’s door.

Catherine and Doris began to have small conferences around the state that were designed to introduce teachers to early childhood practice and encourage membership in NAEYC. At this time, there was no affiliate organized in New Mexico. Conference sites included Albuquerque, Portales, Las Vegas, Silver City, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.

NMAEYC Is Born

The organization was affiliated with NAEYC on October 1, 1968. NMAEYC applied for non-profit incorporation on the 29th of January 1975. Doris Johnson was the organization’s first president.

NMAEYC then began to recruit members. In 1986, the first state board structure was created. The 1990’s brought significant growth in membership and in conference attendance. Conferences were now held at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

NMAEYC Begins T.E.A.C.H.

In 2003 the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) collaborated with Child Care Services Association in North Carolina to bring the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Project to New Mexico.

In 2004, the first Executive Director, Baji Rankin, was hired and shortly thereafter, Dan Ritchey was hired as T.E.A.C.H. Project Director. The first physical office was established in Albuquerque at 2201 Buena Vista SE – Suite 424.

The T.E.A.C.H. Project is designed to provide scholarships to adults that are studying Early Childhood as they work with children in a childcare center or school. The program now awards monies to over 500 scholars throughout the state.

Past Presidents

  • Founder - Catherine Loughlin
  • First president Doris Johnson
  • 1972-73 - Gloria Carnel Howes
  • 1973-75 - Wayne Winterton
  • 1975-77 - Sandra Gordon
  • 1977-78 - Antonio Gonzales
  • 1978-79 - Penny Curfman
  • 1979-80 - Dorothy Wilson
  • 1980-81 - Patricia Salisbury
  • 1981-82 - Halene Weaver 
  • 1982-83 - Mary Ann Anderson
  • 1983-84 - Lenore Wolfe
  • 1984-86 - Karen Knight
  • 1986-87 - Marcella Jones 
  • 1987-88 - Carol Brackeen
  • 1988-89 - Jorja Brasher
  • 1989-90 - Jane Adolf
  • 1990-91 - Nancy Cole
  • 1991-92 - Amy Lauer
  • 1992-93 - Flora Latham
  • 1993-94 - Judi Finkenberg
  • 1994-95 - Melissa Williams
  • 1995-96 - Barbara DeDera
  • 1996-97 - Dan Haggard
  • 1997-98 - Margaret Mactavish
  • 1998-99 - Rosemary Dale
  • 1999-2000 - Emily Darnell
  • 2000 – 2001 - Terry Anderson
  • 2001-2002 - Vickie Bruno
  • 2002 – 2003 - Heather Vaughn
  • 2003 – 2004 - Suzanne Berry
  • 2004 – 2005 - Pam Kerkmans
  • 2005 – 2006 - Lynn Kelly
  • 2006 – 2007 - Anita Rios
  • 2007 – 2009 - Mike Ashcraft
  • 2009 – 2011 - Karen Smith
  • 2011 – 2013 - Andrea Olguin
  • 2013 - 2015 - Alberto Mares
  • 2015 - 2016 - Cindy Cicero

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