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 Members!
The Virginia Head Start Association Board of Directors is comprised of representatives of four regions – Southeast, Southwest, Northeast, and Northwest – and individuals seated on the board as friends. The board meets regularly, often attached to conferences and events.
Director of Smart Beginnings Southeast—statewide early childhood advocate for early childhood systems including Head Start. Alison has been on the Head start Association board for about 3-4 years before becoming the Board President. She believes we have a lot of momentum this year with additional funds to expand pre-K. Since childcare rules and regulations have moved from dept. of social services over to VDOE as of July 1, 2021—there will be a lot more of mixed delivery (including grants) and opportunity for people to be more creative with classrooms and services.
Alison was the coordinator for Smart Beginnings Crater for four years and has been the Director of Smart Beginnings Southeast for four years. She serves the communities of Sussex, Surry, Dinwiddie, Emporia, Greensville, Hopewell, Petersburg, and Prince George. With undergrad degree in political science at Virginia Tech, she is strong in advocacy. In addition, she has a Master’s Degree in Systems Level Social Work with a certificate in non-profit management from VCU meaning she loves to coordinate different services, programs and activities for families and children. Alison also sits on the Parents as Teachers home visiting advisory board, The Southside Trauma Informed Care Network Planning Committee, The Improvement Association Head Start Education Committee, and the Hopewell Redevelopment and Housing Programing Board.
Smart Beginnings Southeast has been busy working with Thrive Birth to Five (formerly Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond) with the transition to the Ready Regions Central hub. In the coming year, Smart Beginnings Southeast will undergo a name change and rebranding as our parent organization, The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation, retires the Smart Beginnings brand.
In the meantime they have been busy with our Early Childhood Food Security program. In the past year they have distributed over 8,500 fresh food vouchers to Head Start, VPI, and child care center locations. The vouchers can be redeemed at the local grocery store and the farmers market.
Jennifer’s love of pre-school developed from her Bachelor of Social Work at George Mason University when she did an internship in the Higher Horizons Head Start program in Falls Church. Kathy Channel, who is also a long-standing member of our board, was the supervisor of the Higher Horizons program, found a job for her in Prince William County Head Start since 2000. With a master’s in human services, she supervises all Prince William family service workers and is Admin Coordinator over comprehensive services which includes family services, health, mental health, and transportation. She does this work for the change and growth that families make together. Jennifer is very family oriented and lives close to her extended family in Virginia and visits often. She enjoys being on the board to know what is going on with Head Start throughout the state, and from National level to Virginia. As a board, we have an opportunity to make sure we are “invited to the table” in the larger conversation about Head Start.
Assistant director for Minus 9 to 5. She previously was study abroad coordinator for Old Dominion University, director of operations for Smart Beginnings South Hampton Roads, a clinician with Child and Family Services of Eastern Virginia and a Norfolk Public Schools guidance counselor. She earned an undergraduate degree in English and psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Master’s in Education with a concentration in counseling from Old Dominion University. She also studied at Universidad de Valencia in Spain and Oxford University in England. After veering off of her education and behavioral health career path to work with college students in the study abroad arena, she is delighted to be back focusing on families with young children in the Hampton Roads region. “The work of systems-building is very different from direct services and programming, but I love the challenge and the opportunity to work collaboratively with so many amazing partners in our community who care so passionately about supporting children and their families.”
Over the past year, EVMS Minus 9 to 5 has been coordinating the Unified Virginia Quality Birth to Five System (VQB5) for the South Hampton Roads cities (Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach).
Starting with the 2022-23 academic year, Minus 9 to 5 will be administering the VQB5 grant for Ready Region Southeastern (counties of Accomack, Isle of Wight, Northampton, and Southampton and city of Franklin; along with the Southside cities already mention. This diverse and dynamic region is home to nearly 100,000 young children and represents a diverse demographic, geographic, and socioeconomic population.
Our PURPOSE is to strengthen Southeastern Virginia by fostering equity and opportunity for young children, their families, and all who are dedicated to helping them thrive.
This region is home to countless organizations, coalitions, caregivers, and advocates who bring excellence and innovation to our early childhood system. As we gear up for the 2022-23 academic year, there are even more resources and supports available for VQB5 participants, including an increase in the Teacher / Assistant Teacher Recognition Award, more targeted professional development to support improvement of CLASS scores, an improved LinkB5 user experience, as well as new roles such as a Family Engagement Specialist, a Coordinated Enrollment Specialist, and a regional Family Council.
Contact Beth at ParkerEK@evms.edu.
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