The Collaborative Teachers Institute is a group of early childhood teachers in Santa Fe interested in pursuing advanced, collaborative professional development. Participating programs and teachers study children's interests through a reflective practice approach.
The Collaborative Teachers Institute helps teachers achieve their potential so that the youngest children in Santa Fe can achieve theirs.
The CTI is a project of the Santa Fe Baby Fund developed by Santa Fe Community Foundation and is run by Santa Fe Community College, Early Childhood Center of Excellence..
Who We Are:
Helen is the Pedagogical Director of the Collaborative Teachers Institute, and has been involved with the CTI since it's inception in 2015. Helen has been working in the field of Early Childhood for over 15 years, and as an Early Childhood Center Director for 10 years in an arts-focused, Reggio-Inspired Preschool Program. She holds a BA in Studio Art and Art Therapy from the College of Santa Fe, as well as a MA from St. John's College. She has also served on the board of the New Mexico Association for the Education of Young Children since 2016, and served on the task force for the Early Childhood Initiative through the Santa Fe Opera. Helen's work focuses on fostering collaboration and creativity in partnership with children, parents and fellow educators.
Gigi is the founder and former Pedagogical Director of the CTI and still works as a consultation to support professional development. Gigi has been working in the field of education as a teacher, researcher, professional development provider, and higher education instructor for over 20 years. Her work focuses on developing the teacher as researcher through the study of children’s interests. She works with organizations to create reflective, collaborative, and job-embedded professional development practices. She holds a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from the Curriculum, Aesthetics, and Teacher Education program at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. From 2012-2014 she served as New Mexico’s Program Manager for the Wonder of Learning project, a traveling exhibit from the early learning programs in Reggio Emilia, Italy.
Catherine is the former Director of the Santa Fe Baby Fund at the Santa Fe Community Foundation. Katie helped develop and grow CTI to the program it is today. Katie now works for the New Mexico Early Childhood Development Partnership supporting policy and research. The Baby Fund seeks to raise awareness about the critical importance of the prenatal through age-four period of life through advocacy, public awareness campaigns, public forums, investment in the nonprofit sector and promotion of philanthropy. The Baby Fund is incubating the CTI as a way to increase access to high quality early care and education in Santa Fe. Catherine was a Commissioner on the Children and Youth Commission for the City of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Aurora Hvidsten - Santa Fe School for Arts and Sciences
Kim Shakespeare-Jones- Santa Fe Opera Early Childhood Initiative
Suzanne Maheshi Shakespeare Jones- Santa Fe School for Arts and Sciences
Patricia Azuara - Santa Fe Public Schools
Helen McDonald - La Casita Preschool
Jennifer Salinas - United Way Early Learning Center at Aspen
Melissa Scott - Pando Little School
Juliet Staveley - Santa Fe Public Schools, PreK Programs
American Indian Language Policy Research and Teacher Training Program, University of New Mexico
Garcia Street Club
La Casita Preschool
Kids Campus, Santa Fe Community College
First Presbyterian Child Development Center
Pando Little School
Rio Grande School
Santa Fe Community College, Kids Campus
Santa Fe Pre-K at the Santa Fe Public Schools
Santa Fe School for Arts and Sciences
Santa Fe Opera Early Childhood Initiative
Santa Fe Public Schools - PreK programs
Temple Beth Shalom Preschool
United Way of Santa Fe County
In 2014, the Santa Fe Baby Fund at the Santa Fe Community Foundation convened early childhood programs in Santa Fe to learn more about the shared services approach to running Centers and programs. As we discussed the challenges of running successful programs, two interests emerged for this group of teachers:
In 2019 The Collaborative Teachers Institute moved under the umbrella of Santa Fe Community College Early Childhood Center of Excellence. The CTI currently focuses on offering monthly opportunities for teachers to come together to engage in reflective practice together, discussing their roles in deepening and expanding young children's learning.
The Collaborative Teachers Institute is a project of the Santa Fe Baby Fund, an initiative of the Santa Fe Community Foundation. It is now housed at the Early Childhood Center for Excellence at the Santa Fe Community College, through a generous grant from the Santa Fe Baby Fund.