The University of New Mexico College of Education and Human Sciences (COEHS) will continue to tackle the challenges and strengthen the early childhood workforce with the help of a nearly $1.5 million grant awarded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“The College of Education and Human Sciences at UNM is incredibly excited and humbled to have this opportunity to engage community partners in support of early childhood across the State of New Mexico,” said Kristopher Goodrich, COEHS associate dean for Research and Distance Education.

Goodrich says the grant will help develop an early childhood collaborative leadership network and workforce development program called, “Creating Responsive Educational Avenues for Training Environments in Early Childhood” (CREATE EC). The program will aim to not only further partnerships within existing UNM programs but help engage leaders, from six different communities within New Mexico. This include 19 community and tribal early childhood leaders who will complete a two-year Early Childhood Collaborative Leadership Academy. Goodrich says students as well as ongoing community participants, who take part in the professional development, will develop culturally responsive knowledge based on lessons learned from the CREATE EC initiative.

“We are committed to ensure that CREATE EC will have a positive impact that respects the diversity of people and regions throughout New Mexico while also transforming our college’s own educational approaches for early childhood preparation,” he said.

CREATE EC will aim to ensure local voices are heard and cultural knowledge is respected. The CREATE EC network of community partners, faculty and family development program staff will develop knowledge, awareness and skills needed to support the state’s Early Childhood Education and Care Department’s Strategic Plan.

Over the next two years, CREATE EC will address four foundational areas: child development, reflective practice, cultural responsiveness and collaborative leadership development. In part, Goodrich says COEHS faculty and staff will develop up to 10 culturally responsive early childhood professional development courses that will be offered through online learning opportunities. They will also co-construct community informed and culturally responsive courses that lead to an undergraduate minor and/or graduate certificate(s). Courses will lead to new academic programming that promotes community‐engaged approaches rooted in the diversity of New Mexico’s early childhood needs.

“We see this initiative as a first step in our continued movement towards ensuring there is appropriate and equitable education, in all its forms and across all developmental levels, for our children and communities throughout New Mexico” Goodrich said.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special attention is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit