The New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) announced $7 million in endowment grants to seven state colleges and universities.

Young students with instructor outdoors exploring

San Juan College was awarded a $607,000 grant last year, which will be used to enroll Indigenous and bilingual students over five years of age in early childhood education.

“Due to San Juan College’s close proximity to the Navajo Nation, Jicarilla Apache Nation and Southern Ute Indian Tribe, we are uniquely positioned to serve as a critical pipeline for early educators in these communities,” according to Alexis Esslinger, director of Early Childhood Education. “The San Juan College Early Childhood Education program will recruit students who want to return to serve in their home communities and provide culturally relevant programming.”

The funding will be used to support adjunct faculty and recruit 125 Native American and bilingual students into the early childhood program. It will also be used to provide mentoring, guidance, curriculum support, academic reviews and professional steering. Funding for the grants was approved by Governor Lujan Grisham as part of ECECD’s budget during the 2021 legislative session.

For more information about the San Juan College Early Childhood Education program contact Admissions at 505-566-3320 or 


Phone: (505) 566-3320
Fax: (505) 566-3500
West Classroom Complex, Room 1911
M-F: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m