Meet a Member | January 2022

Carin Michelle Leiva

You may have met this young energetic professional if you attended the NJAEYC ‘Comeback Conference’ in October. Although she’s only been a member of NJAEYC for two years, Carin quickly became actively involved in the organization, and serves as NJAEYC’s Student/University Outreach Liaison. Her ability to create relationships and inspire early childhood professionals to action led to her success in recruiting a record 15 volunteers for this year’s conference!

When asked to share her favorite NJAEYC/NAEYC member benefit, Carin has a difficult time choosing. This enthusiastic lifelong learner highly values the professional development and networking opportunities at the state conference. But her passion lies in advocacy. Participating in virtual monthly evening ‘Your Voice Matters’ meetings gave Carin an understanding of the issues and the confidence she needed to take action and make her voice heard.

When you meet Carin, you can’t miss the energy she brings to the space, whether it’s a Zoom room or a physical room in real life. It’s no surprise that her first full time position out of college was as a toddler teacher. Although she’s worked with children and youth of all ages in a variety of settings, Carin is especially drawn to serving families and early childhood professionals who work with the youngest children. She recognizes that this is where she can make the most difference.

2021 has been a busy year for Carin. During the summer, she was recognized as an Exchange Leader through the prestigious Exchange Leadership Initiative. In September, Carin completed the third year of an intensive fellowship experience in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health offered through the Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health at Montclair State University. And just this month, seeking to spread her professional wings, Carin made the difficult decision to leave Passaic County 4Cs, the workplace she’s called home for the past 4 ½ years. While she greatly enjoyed her time there and grew from many opportunities to guide and support early childhood professionals and connect families to resources, she felt the pull to work in a new environment across the river. Although she is now serving children and families in New York City, we’re fortunate that this Jersey Girl will continue to be part of NJAEYC for years to come!


If you know someone who excels in the field of early childhood education and deserves recognition, please contact us at