Virginia Head Start Association
Dawn Ault has been serving as the Executive Director of the Virginia Head Start Association for the past 8 years. Adopting a two-generation approach to help families break the cycle of poverty, Head Start services are aimed to empower and engage families in long term self-sustaining practices that create better homes and communities for the future. These services include health and nutrition, goal-setting, securing higher education, family asset building, early childhood education, including social-emotional development of young children. As Executive Director of VAHSA, she leads the professional development trainings and advocacy efforts to help support Head Start staff around the Commonwealth, to ensure their success with vulnerable children and families.
For twenty years prior to this role, Mrs. Ault has worked within the public school system for Henrico and Hanover Counties, as: a 4th Grade Teacher, Instructional Technology Resource Teacher, Assistant Principal, Coordinator of Federal Programs, and Head Start Director. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree, double majoring in Elementary Education and Psychology, from SUNY Oswego and a M.Ed. from VCU in Administration & Supervision PreK-12.
She lives in Ashland, VA with her husband and two teenage children. She proudly served as her daughter’s Girl Scout Leader for ten years, was an active board member for the Hanover Arts and Activities Center for several years, and is currently serving her second term on The National Head Start Association’s Board of Directors. In her free time she enjoys time with her family (and her dogs), yoga, and she often participates in a variety of community outreach activities with her son’s Boy Scout Troop, in and around Ashland.
Communication and Events Manager
Virginia Head Start Association
Melissa Palombi is a positive, creative collaborator, experienced in executing diverse events from brainstorming to day of execution. Raised in the DC area, she has returned to the east coast via Colorado and finds the Shenandoah as comforting as the Rockies. Her background is in the arts having received her BFA from Carnegie Mellon. In Colorado, she earned her MA in Art History and completed coursework in K-12 art education before returning to Virginia. Melissa most recently worked for 7 years at UVA in the Athletics Marketing and Communications Department coordinating large events and school programs.
In her spare time, she produced a cookbook called, Hoos in the Kitchen, which features University of Virginia staff, alumni, and Charlottesville residents, telling their stories through a shared love of food. She is thrilled to apply her skills in marketing/communications, education, and event production, to support the VAHSA.
The Virginia Head Start Association recently hosted our Health Conference in Charlottesville, Virginia, welcoming health specialists, family service Head Start specialists, and other health professionals. The conference was pleased to […]Read More
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While you can see all of our Board and meeting minutes on our Leadership page here: https://headstartva.org/about-us/our-leadership/ We want to share a little bit more about a few of our […]Read More
We have many new program Directors for 2022 and we would like to welcome and support them here on our VAHSA website. If you know of anyone who should be […]Read More
We are pleased to announce the 2022 winners of our Annual Nancy Elmore Scholarship recipients. The Nancy Elmore Scholarship is a wonderful opportunity for two people to receive some financial […]Read More
Reconceptualizing Social Determinants of Health and Working Towards Systemic Change . . . is one of the many engaging offerings we have lined up for our Virtual Health […]Read More
The 2020 VAHSA Parent Ambassadors visited Richmond on January 22 to share their compelling stories with State Delegates and Senators about how Head Start has impacted their lives. They valued […]Read More
Our group with First Lady Pam Northam Virginia Head Start Parent Ambassadors joined other ECE stakeholders in advocating for early childhood education at the State Capitol. They brought their children […]Read More
By Jennifer Lazzo Head Start. It’s an easily recognizable name, but do you know what the program is designed to do? Head Start provides young children from low-income families and children […]Read More
The Governor and First Lady announced an Executive Directive to establish an Executive Leadership Team on School Readiness, which will be co-chaired by Commissioner Duke Soren and Chief School Readiness […]Read More
Virginia First Lady Pamela Northam, and Chief School Readiness Officer Jenna Conway, visit Head Start classrooms and other early childhood facilities in a Back to School Tour. In June 2018, […]Read More
Dr. Deborah Bergeron, Director of the Office of Head Start, visited Prince William County Head Start program on June 5, 2018. Dr. Bergeron visited three Head Start classrooms to learn […]Read More