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NHSA Event
2019 National Head Start Conference
April 29th - May 2nd, 2019

When and Where?

Sunday, April 28 – Monday, April 29 right before the National Head Start Conference in San Antonio, TX

Who Should Attend?

New Directors and Directors of new programs with 0-3 years of experience

How Do I Register?

The Bootcamp can be added to your conference registration at the link below

New Directors Bootcamp

In Partnership with Frog Street

This is a wonderful time to be a part of Head Start. Building on over 50 years of success, Head Start is moving in exciting new directions. Directors are the change agents, driving our future.

But are you a new Head Start director? Excited? Proud? Challenged every day? Overwhelmed? Wondering to whom you might reach out with your questions running a program or where to go for the latest information? Wouldn’t it be great to have colleagues who can show you the ropes and tell you about what they did and found most valuable when they first became a Head Start director?

The New Directors’ Bootcamp is a new training opportunity from NHSA to help light a path of excellence for a new Head Start director.  It is created to help inspire and empower new directors and key administrators who are still getting their bearing in Head Start. Designed in collaboration with a team of veteran directors, this bootcamp aims to flatten Head Start’s learning curve by providing valuable hands-on experience and insight. Participants in this training will leave with a clear vision of Head Start’s mission and the tools needed to become leaders in Head Start’s bright future.

The New Directors’ Bootcamp begins on Sunday, April 28, at 1:00 p.m. (Central Time) with a kickoff keynote from Abbi Kruse, a Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor and an early childhood education professional and pioneer in starting her own program. Throughout this intensive 1.5 day training, you will hear seasoned directors recall their first day and what they found most valuable as they entered Head Start.  You will become a part of a cohort of colleagues where you build new opportunities for learning and exchanging the good practices. The Bootcamp concludes with a closing keynote from Dr. Deborah Bergeron, the Director of the Office of Head Start.

The New Directors Bootcamp is part of a new vision for our community of leaders. While we don’t believe in hindering a person’s learning potential and development, the target audience for the New Directors Bootcamp is for Head Start directors in their first to three years of being a director or those who are interested in reaching this level of leadership in their own professional development.

Bootcamp Schedule

Subject to change

Sunday: 1PM - 5PM

1:00 – 1:30 PM
Documentary: The Head Start Advantage Documentary and Welcome

This 18-minute documentary film explores the lives of Head Start children, parents, teachers, and alumni working to envision and create a better world for all Americans. You will get to know Head Start families throughout the country and see first-hand how the program has given more than 33 million Americans a head start on their education.

In the film, we meet Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, Sylvia Acevedo, currently CEO of Girl Scouts of America, and Cornell William Brooks, then President of the NAACP, all Head Start alumni and lifelong advocates for the program. Collectively, they paint a moving picture of Head Start’s enormous impact as an investment in our nation’s greatest resource: our children. It takes a visual dive into the findings of five decades of early childhood education research vividly illustrating how education begins at birth. A bright reminder of why we do what we do.

1:30 – 2:15 PM
Opening Keynote: Abbi Kruse

Abbi is the founder and Executive Director of The Playing Field, an early childhood program serving children experiencing homelessness right alongside those from far more advantaged families. Prior to this role, Abbi served in a variety of early childhood education settings including the University of Wisconsin Preschool Lab, Head Start, and other community-based programs.


2:20 – 3:00 PM
Small Groups: Our Selves – Our Journeys to Director

Led by Dru O'Connor, Professional Development Consultant to NHSA

3:00 – 4:00 PM
Seize the Day - How we Navigated the Journey: Leaders share how they have managed transitions in their local programs

MaDonna Princer
Executive Director at Head Start for Kent County
Walker, Michigan

MaDonna brings 20 years of Head Start experience in helping programs evolve to embrace, conquer and succeed in the ever changing early childhood environment.  Her program serves over 1,500 children in the Greater Grand Rapids area and has implemented collaborative relationships to blend existing Head Start funds with the State-based Pre-K program in order to provide full day preschool for four-year-olds in her community.  In addition, she has cultivated relationships with the local school district to implement joint recruitment to facilitate program placement of eligible children in the community. She implemented two pilot EHS programs and has a strong background in running rural programs. MaDonna graduated from Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI with a Masters of Art in Educational Leadership and a Bachelors of Science in Social Work with a minor in Family and Child Development.  She is a 2004 graduate of the UCLA – Johnson & Johnson Head Start Management Fellows Program. Ms. Princer is very active in the Early Childhood community and represents early childhood interests within her county and participates on many State and National committees. She serves on various boards, councils and associations and is a champion of coaching and mentoring staff to design a continuous culture of improvement. Ms. Princer resides in Morley, MI along with her husband and their three children.

4:00 – 4:30 PM
Small Groups: Ten Top Things a New Director Wants to Know
Led by Dru O'Connor, Professional Development Consultant to NHSA
4:30 – 5:30 PM
Building Your Team: A Head Start leader shares what it takes to manage and lessons learned during a top leadership transition in her program
6:00 PM
Dinner hosted by Frog Street
Hard Rock Cafe at 111 West Crockett Street, San Antonio, TX

Monday: 9AM - 5PM

9:00 - 9:15 AM
Conscious Discipline Activity – Warm-Up

9:15 - 10:00 AM
Hot Topic 1 – Curriculum and Instruction: How do you know what to teach?

Debbie Beeler
Director of Children’s Services at Hoosier Uplands Head Start
Mitchell, Indiana

Debbie began her career in Head Start in 1988 as a classroom teacher. She became program director in 1994.  Debbie has complimented her work in Head Start from classroom to service on various boards including state and regional associations. Debbie a director of the NHSA Board of Directors where she is the Chair of the Research and Evaluation Committee and serves on the Executive Committee. Debbie has served as a contributor and member of the Birth to Three Leadership Committee for Indiana’s Foundations for Young Children; was appointed to Indiana’s P-16 Roundtable; and was a member of the Indiana Commission for Early Learning and School Readiness.  She has also reviewed curriculum for a private company and served as a director mentor for numerous new Head Start directors throughout Indiana Debbie holds a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University in family studies and earned a Master of Arts in Education from Ball State University. She is a 1999 graduate of the UCLA Johnson and Johnson Management Fellows program and is a trained facilitator for Ruby Payne’s Framework for Understanding Poverty.

10:00 – 11:00 AM
Hot Topic 2 – Governance and Policy Council: How do you get it right?

Denyse Cardoza
Executive Director of Placer Community Action Council
Auburn, California

Denyse Cardoza leads KidZCommunity: Placer Community Action Council, Inc. an organization that administers the Early Head Start, Head Start, State Preschool, and Child Care services through local Community Partnerships. Denyse is the Past-President of the Region IX Head Start Association, which encompasses California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, and the Outer Pacific. She is a member of the National Head Start Association Board of Directors, the NHSA Board Executive Committee, NHSA Board Chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee, and a member of the California Head Start Association Board of Directors, which all support local, regional, and national initiatives for children and families that benefit early education. She brings a wealth of experience in programmatic and organizational governance and has helped numerous policy council leaders develop their own path.  

11:00-11:45 AM
Hot Topic 3 – Parent Engagement: Getting your parents and program fired up beyond the Policy Council

Suzanne Prescott
Head Start Director of Butler County Educational Service Center
Hamilton, Ohio

Suzanne’s roles have always included program management and she has been responsible for building prenatal to three programs countywide from a staff of 1 to over 50.  She transitioned into the current position at BCESC as the Early Childhood Program Director in August of 2011, which included Head Start and Early Head Start. She is responsible for Early Head Start, Early Intervention, Help Me Grow Home Visiting, and Head Start programs in two counties, Butler and Preble, as well as Central Coordination (Ohio’s regional Intake service for all state-funded prenatal to three programs) for a nine-county region.  Suzanne’s career began in child welfare. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Political Science and a minor in Social Work. She earned a master’s degree from Xavier University in Agency and Community Counseling. Her initial professional practice with Head Start was as the Interagency Manager for the Therapeutic Preschool Program in the mid-1990s. Recognizing the impact of early childhood development and being committed to her own professional growth, she has taken additional courses in early childhood education at both Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati. Suzanne is a Licensed Social Worker in the State of Ohio. She believes that children only have one early childhood, so we have to help them and their families make it the best possible!

11:45 – 1:00 PM
Lunch (on your own)

1:00 - 1:45PM
Hot Topic 4 - Continuous Quality Improvement

Scott Siegfried
Chief Innovation Officer at Miami Valley Child Development Centers, Inc.
Dayton, Ohio

For the past twenty-eight years, Scott has served the children, families, and communities of Head Start in southwest Ohio. He began his career at MVCDC as a preschool teacher and has held several other positions in the education and data management fields.  As the Director of Quality and Program Outcomes, Scott has helped to establish an agency-wide outcomes system designed to evaluate the many different service areas. He and his colleagues have presented this model to national and regional Head Start audiences. As the Chief Innovation Officer, he is responsible for cultivating a culture of innovation at MVCDC and creating the platform to take promising ideas to scale. Over the years, Scott has served on various committees and local board positions.  He has been involved in the local Reggio Emilia study group for many years and visited Italy in 2004 with a group from the Ohio Department of Education. Shortly after, he was invited to testify before Congress on the use of outcomes in Head Start. Through these experiences, his desire to serve has been strengthened. Head Start provides the perfect platform to promote social justice and confront the inequities that still exist in our country.

2:00 – 2:45 PM
Hot Topic 5 – Your Community: Partnership and Public Affairs
3:00 – 3:45 PM
Small Groups: What Did We Learn and What Will We Do?

Led by Dru O'Connor, Professional Development Consultant to NHSA

4:00 – 4:40 PM
Closing Keynote with the Director of the Office of Head Start

Dr. Deborah Bergeron
Director of the Office of Head Start
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families

Dr. Deborah Bergeron serves as the Director of the Office of Head Start. Known as "Dr. B" to former students and teachers, she has spent three decades in pre-K–12 public education as a classroom teacher and elementary and high school administrator. In the course of her career, Dr. B also started, grew, and ultimately sold her own educational services company. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas State University. She earned a master’s in education leadership and a doctorate in education policy from George Mason University. During her tenure as a school administrator, she specialized in school improvement. Her focus was on academic achievement and school climate. Dr. B will use her experience as an elementary principal and her strong background in pre-K–12 instructional leadership to provide unique insights into how Head Start can support our most vulnerable children to become school ready. She hopes to spend a great deal of her time visiting Regional Offices and specific Head Start programs. Dr. B most looks forward to spending time with all of the children, teachers, and program directors who are her inspiration!

4:40 – 5:00 PM
Closing Remarks and Presentation of Certificates by New Directors Bootcamp Partner, FrogStreet

Sharon Burnett
Director of Conferences and Special Projects
Frog Street – Southlake, Texas


5:00 - 7:00 PM
Exhibit Hall Grand Opening