The Taos News - Taos Woman

TAYLOR ETCHEMENDY

How many years involved in your various endeavors? Of what are you most proud?

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I’ve been back in Taos for 14 years working in education. I love a challenge and to think outside the box. The evolution of INSPIRE! represents that thinking. We are committed to evolving our program to meet the needs of our community and piloting new programs to support children and families in comprehens­ive ways. My work and commitment to children and families extends beyond the walls of the INSPIRE! program. I am deeply committed to community collaborat­ion. I am an active participan­t in the Paso a Paso Network and a founding member of the Taos Early Childhood Alliance. It is through that work the UNM Taos Residency Program was born. I am proud to have been a part of envisionin­g how to transform higher education to meet the realities and needs of potential teacher candidates. More than half of the educators at INSPIRE! were parents first who enrolled in the program and are now working toward their degrees in Early Childhood Education. In the same vein of innovative thinking, I am committed to the relationsh­ip between behavioral health and education. We have been able to pilot a family navigation program that supports families in a comprehens­ive way and onsite behavioral health support for both children and their families. Social Emotional Learning and comprehens­ive family support are the bridge between education and healthy families.

Most recently, INSPIRE! has extended our programmin­g to include school age children from across our county in remote learning pods that also focus on social emotional learning and integrativ­e projectbas­ed education supporting their online schooling platforms. We have also expanded our meal program in support of children and families during the COVID pandemic. We are so grateful for the opportunit­y to support our community during this extremely difficult time.

Play. Connect. Listen deeply. Think creatively. Be reflective. Anything is possible if you work collaborat­ively and lead with empathy and compassion.

How do you create a sane work-life balance?

I am always dreaming up new ideas and projects, but in many ways that is what fuels my soul. We live in an incredible place surrounded by incredible people who motivate me daily. Taking time to breathe in the fresh mountain air and spend time with friends and family helps to ground me and inspire me to keep dreaming.

Who are your real-life heroes?

• My mama, Tracy Jaramillo, and my grandma, Mark Adair, are my truest inspiratio­ns, advocates and my very best friends. They breathe life into my mind, body and soul. • My brothers, Ryan and Grady, teach me humility,

patience and what it means to love deeply. • My dad, Greg Jaramillo, is the source of laughter

and play. • My husband, Cory Etchemendy, is truly the most patient and supportive man in the world. He humors my big ideas and supports me every step of the way. • Great friends provide perspectiv­e and support. • My colleagues who fight for a better life for children

and families are a true inspiratio­n. • Caregivers, parents and teachers are fierce leaders. Children are our most important citizens. They are resilient, joyful and see the potential in the world around them.

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