1550 The Alameda, Suite 201
San Jose, California
Director, E3 Institute
A member of the WestEd Center for Child & Family Studies, Garcia directs the advocacy and communication function of the E3 Institute, which supports and strengthens early childhood educator professional development.
Serving California's Santa Clara County, the Institute reaches new recruits, family-based early educators, center-based programs, programs for children with special needs, employers, faith-based providers, and the corporate community.
Garcia and her E3 Institute colleagues leverage local resources for early educators, especially through the Institute's Comprehensive Approaches to Raising Educational Standards (CARES) program. CARES promotes, rewards, and encourages educational attainment among early educators in Santa Clara County through a system of financial incentives and rewards. Garcia coauthored the WestEd-published 5 Years of Learning: A Report on the First Five Years of Santa Clara CARES 2002–2006.
As part of her E3 work, Garcia coauthored the WestEd-published Great Expectations: The E3 Institute-San Jose State University Bachelor's Degree Cohort Program for CARES Participants in Santa Clara County. The E3 Institute supports the research showing that children are better prepared for school when taught by educators who are equipped with the necessary theoretical knowledge and education to improve the quality of preschool services for the county's youngest children. Evidence of the bachelor's degree program's benefits is presented in this report, specifically in the voices of the bachelor's degree cohort members, whose lives have been irrevocably changed by their participation and successes.
Garcia is also responsible for the implementation of a state demonstration called the Power of Preschool that enhances the quality of services to children served by three school districts, the county office of education, and community-based programs. High-quality preschool services were provided to 2,733 children during 2006-10. Garcia coauthored the WestEd-published Power of Preschool in Santa Clara County: Making the First Five Years Count.
Garcia led development of the California Department of Education’s Early Childhood Educator Competencies, July 2011, a statewide evidence-based set of competencies that addresses the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that early childhood professionals need to support the development and learning of young children.
In July 2010, Garcia was a discussion leader at the conference, Social Justice: An Interdisciplinary Perspective, held at Oxford University, England.
In recognition of her E3 Institute leadership, Garcia received the 2007 Paul D. Hood Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Field.
For 20 years, Garcia directed the Children's Services Department for the Santa Clara County Office of Education. While in that role, she served on the national Head Start Quality Committee that recommended the development of Early Head Start.
Her previous experience also includes analyzing public policy as a Fellow with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and developing a grant-making strategy for early education and family support at the Charles Mott Foundation, as a Senior Program Officer.
Garcia is on the board of the Child Development Policy Institute (CDPI) and previously served as Public Policy Chair for four years.
She was elected to the Governing Board for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in a national election. NAEYC is the world's largest organization working on behalf of young children with nearly 100,000 members, a national network of over 300 local, state, and regional affiliates, and a global alliance of like-minded organizations.
Garcia served on the 2010-11 Committee on Early Childhood Care and Education Workforce Board on Children, Youth, and Families, The National Academies Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. She also served on the Early Childhood Mathematics Committee with the National Academy of Sciences, which published the report, Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood: Paths Toward Excellence and Equity.
She also served on the NAEYC Quality and Compensation Committee and on the American Academy of Sciences' Committee on the Integration of Sciences in Early Childhood Education, contributing to the academy's seminal report, From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development.
Garcia received an EdD in organization and leadership from the School of Education at University of San Francisco; a BA in political science, history, and sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara; an MS in social services administration with an emphasis on public policy and child welfare from the University of Chicago; and an MA in education administration from San Jose State University.