By Wassy Tesfa, Chair, Region 9 Head Start Association Board of Directors
February 10, 2021
Over the past 40 years of Head Start, few individuals have brought as much passion for our movement as Mr. Ronnie Herndon. Truly an evangelist for the movement.
In addition, Ronnie has worked in and around, above and beyond Head Start in his local community of Portland, Oregon civil rights activists, in the Halls of Congress, and in corporate board rooms. Ron’s ongoing loyalty to his community was recently on display as he stepped up for his COVID-19 vaccine and featured on Oregon Coronavirus Update. “The infection rate for our community is far higher than it is for the white community, so it’s very personal for me,” he said. “And I think that anything I can do to try to protect myself and others who are around me, I should do that. And getting the vaccine is the first step.”
“Ron Herndon was hard-hitting and passionate about our work. Always a teacher, always a truth-teller, always a promoter of justice, says Edward Condon, R9HSA executive director and NHSA Board Member (2005-2009).
Since 1975, Ron has served as the Director of Albina Head Start in Portland Oregon. He served as the NHSA Chairman, 1993-2013. From Early Childhood to University Professor, Ron Hendon has committed his life to the ideal that education is the key to racial and economic justice. However, Ron has frequently pivoted his work as an activist in Portland as well. In 1984, Nike proposed to open stores in the urban core and criticism started to bubble up regarding Nike’s relations to the Black Community. Herndon reached out to Nike and through a series of event and created an enduring relationship. Ron Herndon has served as a mentor to many over the live of his career. Damon Carson, NHSA current Chairman and Head Start Director from San Diego’s Neighborhood House Association says, “Ron is a friend that shares his knowledge and wisdom with those who have the courage to listen.”
In 2016, UCLA’s Anderson School of Management featured Ron Herndon. Complementing Herndon’s appreciation for Head Start’s community impact they quote him to say, “I know it has a tremendous economic impact on these families,” says Herndon. “Also, these are women and men who have children. When they come on board with us, they have excellent health care (benefits). Also, our teaching assistants are among the highest paid, other than a union shop like a school district or community college. So, (these positions) have an immediate impact on the economy of the households.”
This month – let us celebrate Mr. Ronnie Herndon.
I have been to management workshops, not leadership training. This has totally changed my perspective and encouraged me to propel forward in developing my skills.
I am honored and humbled to be a recipient of the Region 9 Head Start Association’s Legacy Scholarship. The scholarship helped me get one step closer to achieving my goal of becoming a Head Start Director.
I took part in The disproportionate impact of COVID 19, and how to provide “real” support for black/brown children and families and I just want to say this was an amazing webinar. I hope we can look forward to further conversation on this topic.
Thank you so much for making events like this! I really enjoyed and learned so much teaching strategies to implement STEM in the classroom.
The HR Network was an excellent opportunity to network and learn the best practices from other HR professionals within Head Start programs. You will be amazed by the level of talent and experience of the participants.
The Summer Camp training was powerful and inspiring! Each presenter was very engaging, it’s hard to even pick a favorite session!
The Leadership Challenge training was very relevant to my work as a Head Start leader! Great facilitation; stayed with the program yet allowed time for individual and small group reflections.
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