National Head Start Association


Your Voice Matters.


39th Annual Head Start Conference

April 16, 2012 - April 20, 2012

Gaylord Opryland--Nashville, TN

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Register online here

See the Schedule at a Glance (updated April 9)

Conference Guide Available 

Join your colleagues in Nashville! Here are some of the exciting highlights from the 39th Annual Head Start Conference:

  • One and two full-day pre-conference special tracks
  • Free half- and full-day pre-conference sessions
  • Round tables, panel presentations, lectures and hands-on learning experiences

We will feature a number of special sessions for extended learning, dialogue and professional growth:

  • Ready for Success: A School Readiness Goals Summit
  • Nature Based Learning & Development series
  • Research to Practice Symposium
  • Family & Health Service Institutes
  • National Home Visiting Forum
  • Family Child Care Collaboration 

We will celebrate the wonderful window of opportunity that is Head Start:

  • National Day of Opportunity Celebration
  • National Awards Celebration
  • Research Luncheon and Public Policy Breakfast 

Experience the Technology and Resource Pavillion while you visit hundreds of exhibitors!

Download registration form

Visit the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center

Single/Double  $219

Hotel cut-off: March 23, 2012

Please use the code: A-NHS11
Gaylord Check/Debit Card Policy

Interested in being a vendor at our conference, click here

Presenter AV Form

If you have questions about the 39th Annual Head Start Conference, please contact Sharon Walcott at

Program Guide: View online or Download a pdf

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Speakers and Presenters

Stedman Graham

Stedman Graham is chairman and CEO of a management and marketing consulting company that specializes in the corporate and educational markets. He has authored ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers, You Can Make It Happen: A Nine-Step Plan for Success and Teens Can Make It Happen: Nine Steps to Success. Actively involved in education, Mr. Graham has taught at the University of Illinois-Chicago, the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, and founded and directed George Washington University's Forum for Sport and Event Management and Marketing – the first of its kind in the country. Stedman Graham delivers a powerful message, insight and inspiration to organizations throughout the country and abroad about improving their performance and sustaining achievement. Mr Graham will offer the keynote address at the Opening General Session,  Tuesday, April 17.

Mark K. Shriver leads Save The Children's U.S. Programs, which work to ensure a fair start for all children in the United States, including the nearly one in four living in poverty. Shriver’s career fighting for social justice in advocacy and service organizations, as well as elected office, has focused on advancing the right of every child in America to have a safe and vibrant childhood. He has written a memoir called A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver which will be published in June 2012 by Henry Holt. Mr. Shriver will speak at the 5:00 p.m. event during the Day of Opportunity, Thursday, April 19.

Mark Shriver

 Yvette Sanchez Fuentes

Yvette Sanchez Fuentes is the Director for the Office of Head Start, at the Administration for Children and Families under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Ms. Sanchez Fuentes brings extensive experience in providing services to young children from low income families at the local, regional, and national level to her appointment as the Director of the Office of Head Start. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Sanchez Fuentes served as the Executive Director of the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association (NMSHSA). Ms. Sanchez Fuentes has served as a National Head Start Fellow where she provided consultation in literacy, parent education, child care collaborations, and program improvement to Migrant and Seasonal Head Start and other early childhood education programs nationwide. Early in her career, Ms. Sanchez Fuentes managed services for a large migrant and seasonal program for staff development and family child care initiatives. Mrs. Sanchez Fuentes will participate in the School Readiness Goals Summit Monday, April 16, speak during the opening general session Tuesday, April 17, and provide an OHS update at the Head Start Networking Reception and Briefing for Directors, Wednesday, April 18.

 Rob Peck “The zestiest man you're likely to meet” is the founder and Creative Education Advocate of Zestworks- a speaking, training and consulting firm which believes that "the best test is zest!" His highly original approach to keynote speaking is largely the result of a rather unique educational background. After graduating from the University Of Pennsylvania and doing post-graduate studies at Harvard and The Sorbonne University in Paris, France, Rob went on to do advanced training at the Antic Arts Academy in Canton, Maine. Mr. Peck will speakduring the Scholarships and Awards dinner, Thursday, April 19.

Rob Peck

T. Marni Vos

 T. Marni Vos is a clean and refreshing humorist. She is as funny as she is inspiring and motivates and her audience to be top performers at their work and as individuals. In today`s streeful work environment, where every skill counts, humor, laughter, and creativity can provide a winning edge. Marni leaves her audience not only with an additional communication tool, but she leaves them laughing, free of stress, and ready for change. A former high school teacher, Ms. Vos used humor and creativity to inspire and motivate students to go beyond their potential. Through laughter and communication she continues to educate people in all walks of life to meet their challenges with a light heart and the echo of laughter.  Ms. Vos will speak at the Closing General Session, Friday, April 20.

George Sheldon is the Acting Assistant Secretary for the Administration for Children and Families under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to joining ACF, Sheldon served as the Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, where he oversaw the state’s child welfare programs, fostering a 36-percent reduction in children in out-of-home care, and integrating mental health, substance abuse, and domestic violence services throughout the Department. During Sheldon’s tenure, Florida achieved the nation’s highest rate of adoptions among foster children for two years, and moved the state from one of the worst food stamp error rates in the country to number 1 in the country for three consecutive years. Previously, he also served as Associate Dean for Student and Alumni Services at St. Thomas University School of Law and Deputy Attorney General for central Florida, and worked for more than 12 years as a practicing attorney. In 1975, Sheldon was elected to the Florida House of Representatives, where he built an eight-year record focusing on the environment and children.

George Sheldon 


Conference Sponsors

Acelero Learning Childplus



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Schedule at a Glance
Registration & Rates
Pre-conference Special Tracks
Pre-conference Training Sessions
Conference Education Sessions
Special Events
Presenter Handouts
Volunteer Opportunities
Exhibitors & Vendors
Hotel & Travel
Cancellation, Substitution and Refund Policy

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Speakers and presenters you won't want to miss! 

Linda Carson
Janet Coscarelli
Libby Doggett
Yvette Sanchez Fuentes
Sheryl Gee
Brad Gray
Stedman Graham
Sandra Gutierrez 
Michael Hall 
JoAn Herren 
Joy Humbarger
David Kisor 
Linda Likins 
Joan Lombardi
Jose-Luis Orozco 
Rob Peck
Erica Perl 
Steve Saffron
Mark Shriver
Dawn Terrill 
Brandi Black Thacker 
Keith Turner
Valora Washington
T. Marni Vos