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Photograph of Anna Jo Garcia Haynes posing in regalia with Early Childhood Education graduates backstage at the Spring 2023 commencement ceremony.Anna Jo Garcia Haynes embodies leadership and advocacy for early childhood education (ECE) in Colorado and across the country. Anna Jo has impacted thousands of children and families over a long and storied career. The School of Education at MSU Denver is honored to preserve and build upon her legacy to continue her advocacy and impact on early childhood education in Colorado and beyond.

The Legacy Project

Photo of Anna Jo Garcia Haynes in MSU Denver regalia sitting watching the ceremony at the Spring 2023 Master of Arts in Teaching Hooding Ceremony.The Anna Jo Garcia Haynes Legacy Project was established to sustain and build upon Anna Jo’s impact and leadership in early childhood education. The project preserves the legacy of Anna Jo Garcia Haynes and her colleagues and mentors, who laid the foundation for equitable early childhood education in Colorado. This project captures their words, stories, and vision for the next generations of early childhood advocates and educators.

The Endowment

To ensure Anna Jo’s work lives on, the MSU Denver School of Education has also established the Anna Jo Garcia Haynes Endowment to sustain and build upon the legacy and impact of her leadership and advocacy in early childhood education.

Attend the World Premiere of "A Life of Advocacy"

MSU Denver’s School of Education is thrilled to host the world premiere of the documentary “A Life of Advocacy: The Legacy of Anna Jo Garcia Haynes”.

Click the image above to view the trailer.

A production of Dope Mom Life, the documentary intricately weaves together over 50 years of Anna Jo’s tireless advocacy for equitable early childhood education. Through captivating storytelling and heartfelt testimonials, the documentary not only celebrates Anna Jo’s remarkable journey but also pays homage to the countless lives she has touched. Join us for an evening of insight and inspiration as we honor Anna Jo’s enduring legacy and the profound impact she has made on our community. The documentary is part of the Anna Jo Garcia Haynes Legacy Project of MSU Denver’s School of Education.

The exclusive film screening will take place Thursday, June 6, 2024 at 6:00 PM on Auraria Campus in Denver, Colorado.

Registration for this event is free and open to the public.

Anna Jo Garcia Haynes Legacy Series

This series aims to address the past, present and future of early childhood education nation wide. Stay tuned for future events and opportunities to learn and engage!

Past events:

Anna Jo Garcia Haynes stands with Rowdy the Roadrunner at the Master of Arts in Teaching Hooding Ceremony, May 8th, 2023.

Champions of Early Childhood Education in Colorado: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

This very special panel discussion occurred Jun 16, 2023 at MSU Denver. See below for a recording of the livestream.

Anna Jo Garcia Haynes embodies leadership and advocacy for Early Childhood Education. Continuing her work, the MSU Denver School of Education has established the Anna Jo Garcia Haynes Legacy Project and Endowed Fund to sustain and maintain the legacy and impact of her leadership and advocacy in Early Childhood Education.

Panel discussion moderated by Lisa Roy, Executive Director for the
Colorado Department of Early Childhood Education. Read more about the moderator and the panelists below.

Moderator and Panelists

Panel Moderator

Portrait photo of Lisa Roy.Lisa Roy
Executive Director, Colorado Department of Early Childhood Education

Dr. Lisa Roy is the newly appointed Executive Director for the Colorado Department of Early Childhood. The Department will manage Colorado’s new universal preschool program, serving 4-year-olds statewide starting in the summer of 2023. The Department will also manage comprehensive programs and services for young children, families and early childhood professionals, utilizing a “one-stop shop” application process.

Dr. Roy previously served as the director of program development for the Buffett Early Childhood Institute and as the executive director of early childhood education for Denver Public Schools. She has volunteered and worked in non-profit and government roles supporting families with young children for over 30 years.



Portrait photo of Anna Jo Garcia Haynes.Anna Jo Garcia Haynes
President Emeritus, Mile High Early Learning

Anna Jo Garcia Haynes is the President Emeritus of Mile High Montessori Early Learning Centers, which operate eight centers in Denver’s inner city for children from families with limited resources. Anna Jo is a long time advocate for children and their families and in that capacity served as the chair for Denver Public Schools/City of Denver Early Childhood Council, appointed by the Superintendent and the Mayor. Anna Jo was also the founding chairperson of the Colorado Children’s Campaign and past president of the Woman’s Foundation of Colorado, Current Co-Chair of the Early Childhood Leadership Commission for Colorado appointed by Gov. Hickenlooper and Board Member for Mayor Hancock’s Education Compact.

Additional Board Service has included: Past Board Chair, Clayton Foundation, Denver Foundation Board of Trustees, Founding Co-Chair Qualistar Colorado, Hunt Alternatives Fund, Future Black Women Leadership Institute, Circle of Latina Leadership.

Portrait photo of Bruce Atchison.Bruce Atchison
Former Principal, Education Commission of the States

Bruce has over 40 years of experience working in education policy and early education. He was most recently a Principal at Education Commission of the States. He has served as Chief of Staff for a Lieutenant Governor; Executive Vice President of the Colorado Children’s Campaign, and he worked in Governor Romer and Governor Ritters’ policy offices on education issues. He was President and CEO of a nonprofit child-care center serving low-income single parent families, Executive Director of the City of Boulder’s Children’s Services, Executive Director of the Family Resource Schools in Denver Public Schools, and served on the faculty at both the University of Denver and CU Boulder as a child development specialist.  Bruce has 10 years of direct teaching experience. He was the “Educator of the Year,” has received an Early Childhood Lifetime Achievement Award, and was awarded a Champion for Children award. In addition, Bruce has produced multiple national publications on topics such as assessments in the early years, transitions, quality in the early years, full day kindergarten, governance systems in early childhood, etc.  Bruce has a wife, three adult children, 7 grandchildren, lives in the mountains of Colorado and loves to travel and fish.

Portrait photo of Rosemarie Allen.Rosemarie Allen
Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education, MSU Denver

Dr. Rosemarie Allen has served as a leader in early childhood education for nearly 40 years. Her life’s work is centered on ensuring children have access to high quality early childhood programs that are developmentally and culturally appropriate. She is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Education at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her classes are focused on ensuring teachers are aware of how issues of equity, privilege, and power impact teaching practices. Rosemarie has served in directorship roles with the Colorado Department of Human Services, most recently in the Division of Youth Corrections (DYC). As Director of Programs at DYC, she was responsible for the education, health, and mental health of all adjudicated youth in the State. She was also responsible for the professional development of all Division staff members in order to ensure state-wide culture change. From 2007-2012 Rosemarie served as the Director of the Division of Child Care. In that role, she oversaw the State’s child care licensing program, the federal child care assistance program, the redesign of the State’s quality rating and improvement system, the implementation of the State’s professional development plan, and assisted in the creation of Colorado’s early learning guidelines.

Rosemarie is a national expert on racial equity, implicit bias and culturally responsive practices, speaking at conferences across the country. She is the Equity Expert for 9News KUSA with a weekly segment on racial equity at all levels of society. Dr. Allen is a respected keynote speaker and has the distinct honor of being appointed as a “Global Leader” for Early Childhood and works with professionals from more than 80 countries, sharing inspiration and information on issues impacting children and families worldwide. Rosemarie earned her B. A. from California State University, Master’s of Education from Lesley University and Doctorate in Leadership for Educational Equity at the University of Colorado, Denver.

Portrait photo of Amanda Escarcida.Amanda Escarcida
MSU Denver Alum, Early Childhood Education, 2023

I’m Amanda Escarcida, a recent graduate of Metropolitan State University with a degree in Early Childhood Education. I am an early-childhood professional with over eight years of experience. I have been teaching in a preschool for the past three years. I have also worked closely with licensing specialists, legislation and most recently shadowed a director of an ELC.

Portrait photo of Karla Garcia-Vanderhorst.Karla Garcia-Vanderhorst
MSU Denver Student, Early Childhood Education

Karla Garcia is a current MSU Denver student majoring in Early Childhood Education. During her time at MSU Denver she has worked in field placements ranging from pre-kindergarten to second grade and private schools to Tier 1 schools. After graduating this coming December 2023, she hopes to begin working in public schools directly with children.


Portrait photo of Alexis Hobson.Alexis Hobson
MSU Denver Student, Early Childhood Education

Alexis Hobson is a student at MSU Denver. Alexis will student teach and graduate in the fall of 2023. Alexis has an associate degree in early childhood education. She is certified in GOLD Interrater Reliability Certification, Preschool/Pre-K and A Project Learning Tree Workshop. Work experience related to ECE consists of field experience in a third grade classroom teaching a 3 part lesson plan, and working with students K-5 for over 4 years.

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Campus Location
West Classroom Building, Suite 136

Mailing Address
Campus Box 21
P.O. Box 173362
Denver, CO 80217-3362