Meet the Team
These are some of the people who are working to promote the best interests of Early Childhood educators throughout New Mexico!
Alicia Borrego is a native New Mexican, where she grew up helping run her family’s small shoe business in the small, rural town of Espanola. In 1995 she moved to Albuquerque to attend the University of New Mexico (UNM). She graduated from UNM in 1999 earning her BA with double major in Southwest Studies and Political Science. In 2010, she graduated Delta Mu Delta, from New Mexico Highlands University Graduate School of Business earning her MBA. Alicia continued her professional development as a 2014-2015 Noyce Leadership Institute Fellow. She is the 2022 Executive of the Year by the NMSAE.
Alicia began her career at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in 1999 as the HR Manager, later becoming the Museum’s Deputy Director in 2008. After working for 15 years at the Natural History Museum, in October 2014, Alicia joined Explora Science Center & Children’s Museum as the Director of Administration & Operations, and later became the Senior Manager of Administration & Operations at the Flying Heritage Collection in Everett, WA. In December 2016, Alicia was named President & CEO of the Economic Council Helping Others Inc. (ECHO Inc.) in Farmington, NM. While at ECHO, Alicia ran several emergency assistance programs, food banks, a preschool and formed several partnerships that assisted low income communities. Alicia ultimately became the Executive Director of New Mexico AEYC in September 2019.
In her many years working in museums and non-profits, Alicia spearheaded many important community engagement initiatives, actively fundraising, working
As a dedicated and detail-oriented accounting professional, Marie Gonzales has been meeting the accounting needs of non-profits agencies. She currently works as the Finance Manager for NMAEYC. With her careful analytical mind as well as careful computational skills, she is able to perform precise auditing tasks, ensuring that financial transactions are accurately represented.
Marie received a BA in Business Management from the University of Phoenix with a 3.75 GPA. She worked as the Senior Accountant for Youth Development, Inc. for 24 years, where she checked all incoming and outgoing transactions. Additionally, she summarized and analyzed all financial documents in order to prepare financial reports. She continues to work in the non-profit community; this experience gave her a deep appreciation for how non-profits seek to improve the quality of life for our region; one program at a time.
Resource and Development Manager
Justin hails from upstate New York, and talks fast because of it. Throughout his youth Justin was fascinated by museums and paleontology in particular. It was these interests that led him to graduate as a Senior Fellow from Dartmouth College in 2005, with a paleontology-focused project. From 2005 to 2013 Justin was the Geoscience Collections Manager at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque where he managed the State of New Mexico’s fossil collection and published 200+ academic paleontology titles. In 2013, Justin transitioned from science into education and worked as the Education Coordinator at the Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum in Everett, WA and the Living Computer Museum and Labs, in Seattle, WA. Justin initiated this position and developed a diverse programmatic portfolio including summer camps, technical lectures, and artifact explorations. In 2017, Justin earned his MBA in Management from New Mexico Highlands University. In 2018, Justin joined the Submarine Force Museum in Groton, CT as the Director of Education and increased education visitation four fold within a year. Currently, Justin is the Resource Development Manager for the New Mexico Association Education of Young Children. He resides in Albuquerque, NM.
Communication and Support Coordinator
Although, not originally born in New Mexico, Michelle Garcia considers herself a native to the Land of Enchantment. Michelle has lived in Albuquerque since 1989 when she moved here with her family. As a child Michelle spent her free time working for her family’s telecom business, which helped her develop a strong work ethic. After graduating from Manzano high school in 1997 she went to work in the telecom industry while also taking college courses.
After suffering a debilitating back injury Michelle medically retired from the phone company and decided to go back to complete her degree. As a busy wife and mother of five Michelle attended the University of New Mexico (UNM) where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in History and minor from the UNM Honors College in Interdisciplinary Arts, and a Bachelor of Science in Family and Child Studies with a concentration in Family Relations and Human Development. She was awarded the Outstanding Student Award from UNM’s College of Education and Human Sciences. She is an alumni of the El Puente de Encuentros fellowship (2021-2022) and currently acts as their Mentorship Coordinator. Michelle is currently working on completing her Master of Social Work with a concentration in Clinical Practice with plans to also complete her Ph.D. in the same field. Michelle began working for NMAEYC as an intern in January 2022 and stayed on as the Communications and Program Coordinator.
Our Board of Directors
Joanha Strelow was born and raised in Lordsburg, NM, Joanha has been in the Early Childhood Community for 19 years and has worn many hats from teacher to director in different age groups from infants to 1st grade. She is currently an Education Consultant at UNM Early Childhood Services, and has been involved with NMAEYC for 10 years.
Dr. Kathy DeSoto-Strickland
VP of Public Policy, and past board president
VP of Accreditation
Co-P of Professional Development
Co-VP of Professional Development
VP of Membership
Member at Large
Member at Large
Member at Large
Member t Large
Member at Large
NMAEYC is now a virtual organization!
1933 San Mateo Blvd NE #258
Albuquerque, NM 87110
PHONE: 505 264 5464