People Like You Making a Difference

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Everyday Champions

In celebration of Head Start’s anniversary on May 18, R9HSA honors those individuals who are our Everyday Champions! This year, we have chosen to honor school leaders in local communities who work tirelessly to advance Head Start’s mission of school success. We believe every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, deserves an opportunity to succeed in school and life.

Below you can read about activities in local communities advancing Head Start. From a welcoming spirit to facility funding, principals and superintendents engage and collaborate to help guarantee optimum development of Head Start children.

This list is just few of the many ways principals and superintendents can lend a hand—as illustrated in their profiles below.

  • Foster collaborations between Head Start and elementary school teachers.
  • Encourage parent engagement, creating a welcoming learning environment that is
  • Promote transition planning that is inclusive of all families.
  • Establish regular collaboration meetings at the site level.
  • Offer professional development to all staff to create continuity in curriculum and instructional approaches.
  • Explore the unique needs of the community that impacts both programs—such as transportation, teacher recruitment and health services.
  • Identify cost-savings on program administration, facilities and supplies.
  • Visit each other’s facilities.
  • Host parent discussions for new families on topics such as school safety and attendance.
  • Celebrate together shared values and community traditions.
  • Create advisory boards and links to governing boards.
  • Advance a welcoming and loving atmosphere for ALL.

Celebrate Head Start’s Anniversary in 2018 by elevating and appreciating your Everyday Champion!

We have created a media tool kit for agencies to promote these activities: MEDIA TOOLKIT

We encourage you to take a moment to read R9HSA’s executive director Edward Condon’s article on Celebrating those who help make successful that transition to kindergarten

2018 Everyday Champions

Julia Bridi, Principal, Chollas Mead Elementary School—San Diego Unified School District

Julia Bridi is a leader who shows initiative and a great wealth of knowledge, not only in general education, but early childhood education. She has taken the time to get to know all students and families. Furthermore, she is involved in several partnerships (such as Words Alive and DEEP) that benefit preschool families. She plans with the preschool teachers and makes sure that children’s needs are being met—making her an asset to the early childhood learning community.

Nicole Enriquez, Principal, Sherman Elementary School—San Diego Unified School District

Nicole Enriquez has been part of the Sherman community for the past four years. Currently, she is the school’s principal. Under her leadership, the preschool is part of the community in all senses. Children participate in a dual magnet language program are part of school field trips and all experiences. Enriquez regularly meets with early childhood education teachers and makes sure that collaboration and planning happen. She knows the preschool children and families—and clearly cares about the success of ALL children.

Jamie Sheldahl, Superintendent—Yuma School District 1

Jamie Sheldahl sets the example of a cradle-to-career mindset for his school staff and the community. A recent collaboration with Yuma School District 1 has been to renovate an elementary school that closed several years ago. That building is now serving more than 120 Head Start children, ages 1-5, and has a Professional Development Center shared by WACOG Head Start and Yuma School Districts. WACOG Head Start has also been invited into five other elementary schools within the district. All have high levels of collaboration with the principals and teachers at those elementary schools—working together to strengthen families and build communities.

Jacquline D. Price, M.Ed., CPM, County School Superintendent—La Paz County Schools

Jacquline Price has been a champion of Head Start for many years, first as a principal, then school superintendent and now as the elected county school superintendent for La Paz County. She has partnered and collaborated with Head Start around classroom supports, joint teacher training/professional development, kindergarten transition, children with special needs, and transportation in a very rural community. She has truly been a blessing to the program and to the families served.

Superintendent Edgar Lampkin and Principal Hector Gonzales—Williams Unified School District

Edgar Lampkin recognizes the comprehensive program that Head Start offers to better prepare children for future success. In addition, he shares the philosophy of Head Start and realizes the benefits and importance of parent engagement and creating a safe and welcoming learning environment that is family-focused. Hector Gonzales is a new principal who shares the same vision. Both are positive administrative leaders and support Head Start services for young children and their families.

The district currently has Head Start classrooms located on the Williams Elementary school campus, and staff works collaboratively to ensure positive transitioning occurs. The district has a 10-year improvement plan in place to rebuild classrooms and a multi-purpose room to meet the growing needs of the community and has included Head Start in the planning process. Both Lampkin and Gonzales put children first and understand the importance of early care and education—and the positive effects of high quality programs that Head Start provides

Dana Trevethan, Superintendent—Turlock Unified School District

At Turlock Unified School District, every student counts, including early education students. Dana Trevethan is a wonderful advocate for Head Start students and their families. She ensures that the program has the support and resources available to help students achieve their school readiness goals by the time they enter kindergarten.

Last year, she supported the allocation of Local Control Accountability Plan funding toward facilities for the Head Start Program—assistance considered extremely significant. Trevethan keeps the program involved in administrative decision-making by making Head Start a part of Administrative Council and Large Cabinet meetings every month. She also ensures that Head Start is included in initiatives within the district, such as the development of LCAP, an attendance campaign and school safety planning.

In addition, Trevethan is committed to ensuring great collaboration and open communication between TUSD and the Head Start grantee, which ensures continuity of services for students and families. She also keeps the TUSD Board of Trustees well-informed regarding our program. Her understanding, inclusive approach and buy-in of the Head Start program has made an incredible difference in the growth and success of Turlock Head Start in the last few years. Her unwavering leadership and encouragement is truly inspiring, and Head Start thanks her for being a champion.

Mia Armenta, Preschool Coordinator—Somerton School District #11

For the past two years, Mia Armenta has worked diligently to build collaborations in the local community. She has coordinated efforts with Head Start, Chicanos por la Casa (Migrant Head Start) and the LEA Head Start and Somerton School District #11.  She invites the principals, kinder teachers and community members to listen and learn about school success. It is great to have the collaborative efforts of everyone as Head Start attempts to have continuity in making a smoother transition for students into kindergarten.

Beverly (Bev) Stanich, Principal—Wailuku Elementary School

Maui Economic Opportunity (MEO) Head Start recognizes Beverly (Bev) Stanich, principal of Wailuku Elementary School as a key stakeholder and champion of Head Start. The first inclusion Head Start and Department of Education partnership center on Maui was established at the Wailuku Elementary School more than 15 years ago. Stanich was open to this new approach of offering a least-restrictive environment for children certified with special needs, creating an additional placement option for families to consider. The center is located on the school campus and is provided to MEO Head Start at no rental cost, allowing more federal funding to be used for direct services for children and families.

Stanich promotes a welcome environment for families, children and Head Start staff. This includes annual events such as May Day, literacy events held on campus and staff appreciation for DOE employees, with Head Start staff included. When children transition from preschool to kindergarten, they have a strong sense of belonging within the school as an extension of the classroom they grew to love. Stanich is understanding of the program’s requirements in meeting state licensing and federal Head Start performance standards. She embraces Head Start participation within the elementary school, understanding the value of early childhood education and the impact made with vulnerable children and families. Head Start is extremely fortunate to have her as a partner and true advocate for young children and their families.

Dr. Narek Kassabian, Principal, R.D. White Elementary—Glendale Unified School District

Dr. Narek Kassabian has actively supported the local Head Start program for many years. Every year, she takes part in kindergarten transition events with families and children. She also is actively involved in the Head Start kindergarten readiness parent meetings by providing crucial information regarding district programs offered to parents and their children.

She has served as a member of Pacific Clinics Head Start School Readiness Advisory Committee for five years and offers feedback and testifies how well prepared and ready for kindergarten are Pacific Clinics’ Head Start children when they enter her school. She shares information with Head Start families and staff regarding kindergarten registration deadlines for certain programs that the district offers, for example, bilingual programs as well as magnet arts and technology programs throughout the district.

Dr. Jessica Seaman, Principal—Stevenson Elementary School 

Dr. Jessica Seaman’s strong leadership as a principal at Stevenson Elementary has provided an atmosphere where Head Start is able to feel welcomed and part of the school campus. She makes herself available when the staff need assistance and helps shape children’s young minds while training staff. Head Start staff, children and families are included in all school activities. She is willing to share her knowledge and skills with the staff, children and families. The Head Start staff at Stevenson Elementary are honored to be a part of her leadership.

Stephanie Montez, Principal—Adams Elementary School 

A few years ago, Mesa Public Schools shuffled some of the principals in the elementary schools. Stephanie Montez moved from being principal at an elementary school where there was a Head Start class to a campus where there wasn’t one. She immediately contacted Head Start, asking “Why don’t you have a classroom at Adams Elementary since there is a high need in this area.”

In her first year at Adams, a Head Start classroom was opened at Adams Elementary—and the program is very thankful for her support and making Head Start a part of the school. She has shared the school safety processes and kindergarten readiness procedures so the Head Start families have a smooth transition.

Monica Mesa, Principal—Longfellow Elementary School

Principal Monica Mesa provides an environment that makes the whole Head Start program feel welcome—always making time to answer any questions or concerns of Head Start staff members. She is always positive, organized and gracious, and she is very flexible in allowing the program to share facilities at Longfellow Elementary. She assists the transition process from pre-school to kindergarten by permitting Head Start staff to collaborate with the kindergarten teachers. For that, Head Start congratulates her on being a Head Start Champion as well as being the 2017 recipient of the outstanding education leadership award.

Stacey Ball, Principal—Webster Elementary School

Principal Stacey Ball is known for including Head Start children and families and welcoming them to Webster Elementary. She is available for staff concerns and always willing to support Head Start needs during special events and trainings by allowing staff to use the school facilities. The staff appreciates the times she visits the Head Start classrooms. She makes connections with the children and families, knowing they are her future students.

Russ Heath, Principal—Taft Elementary School

Principal Russ Heath is recognized for the amazing support he gives to Head Start, to make it part of the school. The program has benefited in many ways: The school provides Head Start with services, from meals, a large playground, cleaning, maintenance and access to copying and laminating. Most important is how connected Head Start staff feel to the school, as we work closely with their preschool and the teachers. This connection is due to his wonderful leadership. Being welcomed to the Taft family means so much to Head Start parents and children since they are included in many events at the school, and he has supported events such as the end-of-the- year celebration.

Ms. Stacey Scott-Cherry, Principal and Ms. Certa, School Counselor, Clark County School District,

We have two champions at CCSD.  Ms. Scott-Cherry and Certa have been great partners the past two years.  We touch base every year to tour the school for transitioning Kindergarten students and their families.  They are always kind and accommodating to families as well as myself when I need to reach out to them. I think having this partnership is great because it really helps the transitioning families get comfortable with an elementary school and what it will be like when their child attends.  It also helps students get really excited about what they have to look forward to!

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