Early Head Start Program: Our People

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Arra Carbajal

Director, Early Head Start Program

Arra began working with NAPPR in 2009, serving eight years as the Early Head Start director. She has more than 22 years in early childhood care and education as a classroom teacher, administrator, technical assistance provider, home visitor, child care provider and grant reviewer throughout New Mexico.

Cecilia “Ceci”

Education, Mental Health and Disabilities Coordinator

After being a classroom teacher for more than 20 years, Ceci believes in successful outcomes are the result of how well you connect with the parents of the children you are serving. She received a Bachelor’s in Family Studies from the University of New Mexico and a Master’s in Clinical Psychology from Capella University. She is a current member of the National Head Start Association, the New Mexico Head Start Association, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Institute of Divine Metaphysical Research and the New Mexico Association for Infant Mental Health.


Inkind / ERSEA Coordinator

Over the past year, Nykki held the reigns as the Little Scholar’s Academy’s Center Manager. In ’97 she attended the Art Institute of Colorado with a focus in Graphic & Web Design; after a year or so she returned to NM. Soon after her return, she enlisted in the USAF as a communication specialist. She maintained her military career for 2 short years. After separation, she began working on her Early Childhood Multicultural Education degree at the University of New Mexico. She earned her degree in 2007. From 2000 to the present year, she has worked at various child care facilities; both Army and Air Force CDCs, YDI. 

Nykki built a passion for working with children, after having a child of her own. She loved seeing them grow and being able to assist them in reaching their milestone goals. Her biggest award in all this is now being able to understand why kids do what they do. When Nykki isn’t glued to her favorite TV show or her phone, she spends a lot of her free time with her son, her baby niece and her bulldog. One life quote that seems to hit the nail on the head for Nykki is “Kill them with success and bury them with a smile”.. this basically explains itself.


Family and Community Partnership Coordinator/Home Visiting Supervisor

Jennifer has worked with families and children for the last 10 years in many capacities including crisis intervention, advocacy, after school programming, Head Start, and Home Visiting. Jennifer is a Licensed Master Social Worker and also holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Jennifer is passionate about continuing to empower and educate families in the state of New Mexico.  Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, caring for her puppy, inspiring and helping others in their health and fitness journeys as an online fitness coach, and party motivating with a DJ company at various events.


Early Headstart Home Visitor

Madalene obtained an Associates Degree in Social Services at New Mexico State University. Her enthusiasm to work closely with family inspired her to apply for her current position as a Home Visitor. Madalene believes in NAPPR’s mission to empower and educate families. She enjoys watching the development of families from prenatal to infants and toddlers and likes to help parents become confident in their parenting journey. Madalene enjoys reading books on leadership and self-development as well as hiking and traveling with her friends and family.


Early Head Start Home Visitor

Jessica has been with NAPPR for 7 years but worked with Head Start for the last 15 years. She received her Associate’s degree in 2008 from Central Arizona College in Early Childhood Education. She believes the impact of working with families in their home has a lasting effect for generations to come. Jessica and her husband have two boys. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys photography, spending time with her family, and enjoying the outdoor recreation.


Early Head Start Home Visitor

Gail has worked in the field of early childhood for over 15 years in different capacities including prevention programs that sustain family well-being, advocacy, including Head Start and Home Visiting. She attained her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of New Mexico in Family Studies. Gail is passionate in working with Native American families to empower families in self-efficacy to celebrate family strengths. She enjoys spending time with her two children and spending time outdoors.


Early Head Start Center Manager

Jodie, who accepted this position with NAPPR in 2016, has more than 10 years of experience working in Early Childhood. She started her career working with Native American families for the Women, Infant and Children’s (WIC) program at the Pueblo of Laguna then transitioned into her current profession. She looks forward to continuing aiding children and families.

Dominica “Mica”

Early Head Start Teacher

Mica joined NAPPR in 2016 as a teacher’s assistant and is now a lead teacher. She has an Associates in Early Childhood Education from Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute. Mica is a tribal citizen of the Pueblo of Santo Domingo and resides in Albuquerque.


Early Head Start Substitute Teacher

Joining NAPPR in 2017, Vanessa looks forward to working with the children daily at the Early Head Start Center. She loves that she can work with all age groups and gain more knowledge and experience.


Early Head Start Cook

Lawrence has been in the cooking and food service industry for 17 years. From bussing tables to line cook to cold room prep to chef, he has stepped down from big restaurants and casinos to aid young children with health and meal education. Introducing new foods to young children and making good, wholesome meals makes him happy as he’s able to teach children about foods, knowing they will always leave school full and healthy.


Early Head Start Program Assistant 

Damon joined NAPPR in 2016 and has been a NAPPR volunteer since 2010. He has a B.A. in Secondary Education and a minor in theatre. He is currently a member of the M.A. Chicanx Studies cohort at the University of New Mexico. Damon sits on the NM Educational Theatre Association and GLSEN Albuquerque Boards where he works advocating for theatre arts education and creating equity for LGBTQ+ students.