Thank you for joining us for the 2022-2023 early childhood speaker series featuring national and local New Mexico experts focused on equity and social justice in early childhood teacher preparation. We greatly appreciate all of our higher education partners who made this series possible.
Stay tuned for next year’s speaker series focused on infants and toddlers!
Equity in the Crib • Lisa Wilson, Zero to Three, and Rebecca Riley, Early Childhood Consultant/Facilitator
Hosted by Central New Mexico Community College (CNM)
Advancing Equity with Families • Tekla Johnson, Director First Born and IIFP and Zhandra Levesque, Senior Project Director, Education Development Center
Hosted by Santa Fe Community College (SFCC)
Special Education and Representation in Early Childhood • Dr. Monique Matute-Chavarria, NMSU; Dr. Nathaniel Bryan, Miami University, Dr. Pricella Morris, UNLV
Hosted by New Mexico State University (NMSU)
Native Language and Equity in Teacher Education • Dr. Rebecca Blum Martinez, Emerita Professor of Bilingual Education, UNM and Dr. Iheoma U. Iruka, Director Equity Research Action Coalition, UNC
Hosted by Western New Mexico University (WNMU)
Social Justice and Equity in Early Childhood Preparation/New Mexico Tribal Languages • Trisha Moquino, Director, Keres Children’s Learning Center and Dr. Chris Sims, Associate Professor, Dept. of Language, Literacy & Sociocultural Studies
Hosted by Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI)
The Archeology of Self and Systems: Critically Reflective Practice in Early Childhood Teacher Education • Dr. Meir Muller, Associate Professor, Early Childhood Education University of South Carolina
Hosted by Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU)
14 Priorities to Dismantle Systemic Racism • Dr. Shantel Meek, Professor of Practice and Founding Director, Children’s Equity Project, ASU
Hosted by University of New Mexico Taos Campus (UNM Taos)
Elevating Equity: Tools for Teachers Working with Young Children aged 0-5 • Dr. Angela Searcy, Simple Solutions Educational Services
Hosted by University of New Mexico Valencia Campus (UNM Valencia)
Lisa Wilson: As the Director of Equity & Outreach, Lisa Wilson oversees the development and implementation of equitable practices within the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning (NC ECDTL). Working closely with the Center Director and Consortium Leadership Team, she ensures DTL implements a lens of equitable practices within all aspects of its work, coordinates regularly with the Office of Head Start (OHS), and operationalizes center-wide equity, CLRP, and co-creation efforts, including consortium partners’ work, to efficiently manage the annual workplan. Lisa has a Master’s in Education with an emphasis in Multicultural Curriculum and Instruction. She is currently completing her dissertation for a Doctor of Education (EdD) in Curriculum and Instruction.
Rebecca Riley is a citizen of the Pueblo of Acoma, mother of three children and resides with her partner in Albuquerque with their blended family of seven. She currently works as a facilitator and consultant with various local and statewide early childhood education groups and organizations and draws from her direct experience as a parent recipient of early childhood services through early intervention and child care, serving as Manager and Director for Tribal Home Visiting, and her Acoma traditional upbringing. Her passion and work are aimed at improving the quality of home visiting and other supportive early childhood education services with Native American families. Ms. Riley received her degree from the University of New Mexico in Community Health Education with a minor in Native American Studies. Her professional practice continues to develop through mindful, responsive, equitable and inclusive practices that are reflective of family and community voice.
Tekla Johnson, First Born® Program Director, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Doula, Certified Professional Coach and is Infant Mental Health Endorsed. She has 23 years of home visiting experience and more than ten years of experience with the First Born® Home Visiting program. After working as a home visitor for 9 years, Ms. Johnson moved into a leadership role and served as the Program Manager for the Santa Fe First Born® Program during its startup phase, and first years of implementation. She has worked as a direct program manager as well as providing supervision and oversight to program managers as VP of Leadership and Innovation. Having worked at all levels of home visiting (as well as receiving home visiting services for her child through early intervention), Ms. Johnson enjoys supporting programs to implement high quality services for families, focused on joy, learning and strong relationships.
Monica Gaines, lives in Wayne County, MI, with her husband Nathaniel and their son Nate. She began her journey into home visiting in 2013 when she joined the Healthy Families program in Wayne County. She became a parent leader in 2015 when she joined the advisory board and the Local Leadership Group. She went on to also join the State Local Leadership Parent Leader Team. Monica joined the Healthy Families Program in 2017 as the Senior Program Assistant. She held the position of Parent Coordinator at the Early Childhood Investment Corporation from 2020- 2021. She currently serves as the Parent Leadership Faculty for the Health Equity COIIN. She is also the Supervisor of Healthy Families America in Wayne County.
Patricia Finnerty, an expert in maternal and child health and continuous quality improvement (CQI), builds capacity to use CQI to dramatically improve outcomes for children and families. She manages and provides CQI consultation on multiple national initiatives, drawing on her deep knowledge of public health practice and the social determinants of health. Finnerty guides groups in using the Model for Improvement and Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Breakthrough Series to strengthen services. She is an improvement advisor for EDC’s Home Visiting Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network and Home Visiting Performance Measurement and Continuous Quality Improvement Team. Related to the proposed presentation, she is a coach to teams participating in the Health Equity CoIIN and lead improvement advisor in the development of the Health Equity framework.
Zhandra Levesque is a national leader in maternal and child health systems and continuous quality improvement (CQI) methods. Her career demonstrates a commitment to leading large system improvements, building sustainable relationships and the promotion of evidence based strategies to optimize the health and well-being of women and children. She co-leads EDC’s Home Visiting Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network, which has achieved significant successes in strengthening home visiting processes to improve maternal and child outcomes. Nationwide, she presents on maternal and child health and CQI efforts improving the systems supporting children, women, and families. She is also a co-instructor at the Boston University School of Public Health. Levesque holds an MPH in Health Policy and Management from the Boston University School of Public Health and a BA in Political Science and Biology from Boston University. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Public Health in Leadership, Management, and Policy in Maternal and Child Health at Boston University. She is a native of Caracas, Venezuela, and is fluent in Spanish and English
Monique Matute-Chavarria is an assistant professor of Special Education at New Mexico State University (NMSU). Before obtaining her Ph.D. in Special Education, she worked with Nevada Early Intervention Services working with children from birth to three with disabilities. Dr. Matute-Chavarria identifies as Black mother scholar, and Afro-Latina; therefore, her research focuses on Black students and families. Her research centers on the intersections of race, family, and disability. She also researches the use of hip-hop pedagogy practices (i.e., DJing) as a tool for writing with Black students with and without disabilities.
Pricella Morris is a visiting assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). Prior to obtaining her Ph.D. in Special Education, she worked as an early interventionist and early childhood special education teacher. Dr. Morris identifies as a Black mother scholar that focuses on the impact of race and dis/ability specifically for young Black children and their families. Her publication and presentations have focused on racial and dis/ability identity, dismantling antiblackness in education and teacher preparation programs, and culturally responsive teaching practices. She hopes her work prepares future educators to better serve and support Black student populations and their families.
Nathaniel Bryan, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of early childhood education at Miami University. For more than a decade, Dr. Bryan’s scholarship, teaching, and service have focused on the identities and pedagogical styles of Black male teachers, and the critical literacy development and childhood play experiences of Black boys in early childhood education. Dr. Bryan is the author of Toward a BlackboyCrit Pedagogy: Black boys, male teachers, and early childhood classroom practices. He has also received prestigious awards such as the 2020 Emerging Scholar Award from the American Educational Association’s Special Interest Group––Critical Perspectives on Early Childhood Education.
Iheoma U. Iruka, Ph.D., is a Research Professor in the Department of Public Policy, a Fellow at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG), and the Founding Director of the Equity Research Action Coalition at FPG at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Iruka is leading projects and initiatives focused on ensuring that minoritized children and children from low-income households, especially Black children, are thriving through the intersection of anti-bias, anti-racist, culturally grounded research, program, and policy. Some focus areas include family engagement and support, quality rating and improvement systems, and early care and education system and programs. She has a B.A. in Psychology from Temple University, an M.A. in Psychology from Boston University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in applied developmental psychology from the University of Miami, FL. She is a wife and a mother of two young children. She ensures they love and appreciate their Nigerian, Bahamian, and Black American heritage, culture, and roots. A focus on Black joy and excellence is always present.
Rebecca Blum Martinez is Emerita Professor of Bilingual Education in the Department Language Literacy and Sociocultural Studies at the University of New Mexico, where she specialized in bilingualism, second language learning and language maintenance and revitalization in language minority communities—particularly Spanish-speaking and American Indian populations. Her research and scholarly interests have long centered on the study of language development in bilinguals and second language development across varied learning contexts. Dr. Blum Martinez also served as the director of Latin American Program in Education that serves as a liaison between the UNM College of Education and Latin American educational institutions. Her recent publications include a co-authored chapter entitled, “A watershed moment in the education of American Indian students: A judicial strategy to mandate the State of New Mexico to meet the unique cultural and linguistic needs of American Indian students in New Mexico public schools; and a co-edited volume, The Shoulders We Stand On: A History of Bilingual Education in New Mexico. She continues to advocate for bilingual and second language learners as chair of the NM Coalition for the Majority, board member of NABE, and national advisor to the non-profit EL Education organization
Christine Sims, Ph.D.: The focus of my work is in the areas of Indigenous bilingual education and language revitalization. I obtained my doctoral degree from UC-Berkeley with a specific focus on indigenous language revitalization. I am a faculty member of the Bilingual Program in the Department of Language, Literacy & Sociocultural Studies (LLSS), in the College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) and serve as a faculty member in the Educational Linguistics Program at the University of New Mexico (UNM). I direct the American Indian Language Policy Research & Teacher Training Center which I founded in 2008 in the UNM COEHS. We prepare Indigenous language speakers to teach in community and school-based language initiatives providing technical assistance to tribes in language program planning and related areas of program implementation. I am an enrolled tribal member of Acoma Pueblo.
Trisha Moquino is a member of the Cochiti, Kewa, and Ohkay Ohwingeh Tribal Nations. She is a wife, mama, auntie, niece, daughter, community member and holds a BA from Stanford University in American Studies and an MA from the University of New Mexico in Bilingual and Elementary Education. She is the Co-Founder/Education Director and Elementary Keres Speaking Guide at Keres Children’s Learning Center (KCLC), an Indigenous Language Immersion Montessori school, located in Cochiti Pueblo, NM. One of the blessings she is grateful for is being able to work with children from her tribe in their Indigenous language of Keres every day. Her Montessori Teaching credentials include: American Montessori Society-Elementary I and United Montessori Association & Association Montessori Internationale (AMI)-Early Childhood (3-6 years) and recently completed AMI’s orientation course for birth-3 years . For the last 5 years, she has been working with her KCLC colleagues and partners to develop the Indigenous Montessori Institute- an anti-racist teacher training program grounded in our Philosophy of Indigenous Education.
Rabbi Dr. Muller serves as an associate professor in the College of Education at the University of South Carolina. His research interests include anti-racist pedagogical frameworks, socio-political consciousness in children and educators, Jewish early childhood education, countering antisemitism in higher education, and constructivist pedagogy. Dr. Muller has served as lead author of South Carolina’s early childhood state standards and as part of a team of educators who developed curricula that prepares European teachers to address bias, prejudice, and anti-Semitism. Dr. Muller is the co-founder of the Cutler Jewish Day School where he spent 30 years heading the school.
Dr. Shantel Meek is a Professor of Practice and the Founding Director of the Children’s Equity Project, a multi-university initiative that aims to close opportunity gaps between children from historically marginalized communities and their peers. Dr. Meek previously served in the Obama Administration as a Senior Policy Advisor for Early Childhood Development at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and as a Senior Policy Advisor for Education in the Domestic Policy Council at the White House.
Dr. Angela Searcy holds a B.A. degree in English and secondary education with teacher certification though the state of Illinois, a M.S. degree in early childhood development from Erikson Institute, with a specialization in Infant Studies and a Doctorate in Education with a specialization in Response to Intervention and Assessment. Her research centers around brain-based learning assessed by the CLASS assessment and its’ correlation to aggressive behaviors in preschool classrooms. Angela is currently a post-doctoral candidate in Erikson Institute’s Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Certificate program. Angela is the owner and founder of Simple Solutions Educational Services, a professional development company. An educator since 1990 Angela has experience at all levels of education including infants, toddlers, preschool, 6th grade, 8th grade and 9th grades. A credentialed developmental therapist through the state of Illinois and former neuro-developmental specialist, Angela has specialized training in neuroscience. Angela is currently a mental health/ educational consultant, an adjunct faculty member and seminar leader at Erikson Institute, and the author of Push Past It! A Positive Approach to Challenging Classroom Behaviors with Gryphon House Publishing. Her Book Elevating Equity is due for release next year.
This speaker series is supported by: