Terry Anderson

Executive Director

Terry has been in the early childhood education field for most of her life, building community child care programs in Grant County.  She retired from a 25-year career at WNMU, where she built the Early Childhood Education Program on campus and served as adjunct faculty. Those years led to state work with NMAEYC and NM Early Childhood Higher Education.  During that time, she was instrumental in the creation of Community Partnership for Children (a not-for-profit 501c3), where she is currently serving as Executive Director and Project Coordinator. 

The years of building quality early childhood education for children and families continues to be a passion.  Terry’s advocacy is strong in an effort to educate communities of the importance on quality programs for young children to set the foundation for their education and for families to be employed, which is all tied to strong community economic development.

Karen Canaday Whitlock

Karen works for the National Association of Social Workers – New Mexico Chapter as their Government Relations/Advocate/Lobbyist and is an adjunct faculty professor at WNMU and worked for 16+ years in the Environmental Field. Karen is a graduate of Western New Mexico University’s Social Work Program with a master’s in social work. Her undergraduate degree is in Political Science from American University in Washington, DC

Laura Howell

Vicki Barnitt

Vicki’s 36-year career focused on improving the education and quality of life for children with disabilities and their families. With a bachelor’s degree in Special Education and a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, Vicki worked as a teacher and transition specialist in Florida schools. During 1994 she co-founded an organization, the Florida Inclusion Network (FIN), where she worked with the Florida Department of Education to ensure quality, inclusive educational practices across Florida’s 67 school districts. Vicki has authored over 20 publications on inclusion-related topics and is an internationally published author on the topic of systems change for children with severe disabilities.

After retiring to beautiful Silver City, N.M., Vicki joined the Board of Directors for Life Quest, Inc., a non-profit serving children and adults with disabilities in the Grant County community. She currently serves as a Board member for the Community Partnership for Children, supporting their significant contributions to New Mexico’s young children and families.

MariaElena Jauregui-Cross

Priscilla C. Lucero

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SWNM Council of Governments P.O. Box 2157 Silver City, NM 88062

I have been employed by the Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments since 1987 (33 years). In 2003, I was promoted to Executive Director. I provide technical assistance to local governments in the Counties of Catron, Grant, Hidalgo and Luna in the areas of economic development, transportation, housing, water and wastewater infrastructure, legislative and community development etc. I am currently involved in the following organizations: Grant County Community Foundation, Community Partnership for Children, the Grant County Community Health Council, NM Colonias Infrastructure Board and the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority Weatherization Board. I was just recently appointed by Governor Lujan-Grisham to the NM Mortgage Finance Authority Housing Trust Fund Committee.


My passion is to improve the quality of life for the residents of southwest New Mexico. Some of my awards include: Grant County Citizen of the Year, Girls Scouts of the Desert Southwest Woman of Distinction, Rotary Service Above- Self Award and the Joe Guillen Award.

Charlene Gomez

Administrative Coordinator of Early Childhood Programs at Western New Mexico University

Grant County has been home since 1980.  I am currently employed with WNMU, since 1998.  I work in the Early Childhood Programs.  In this Program, I have been a student, Early Childhood Teacher (17 years), and a 45-hour course co-facilitator.  I am currently an Administrative Coordinator, adjunct, and mentor.  I am committed to serving the community on behalf of children and their families.

Mary E. Hotvedt

LMFT, PhD is an anthropologist and marriage and family therapist.

A full-time resident of Pinos Altos since 2006, Mary works as part-time for WNMU and also as a board member dedicated to the health of Grant County families.

Misty Pugmire

Executive Director/CEO El Grito Early Learning

30 years of teaching in Grant County Public School

Treasure of New Mexico Head Start Association

Member of the Region VI Head Start Board

Member of CPC Board

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