Who Is Eligible?

All applicants must be current staff or parents of a Head Start program that hold an active membership with the National Head Start Association and are in good standing.

About the Process

Applications are accepted from June 1 - October 15 annually. Applications will be under review from October 15 - December 15 and all applicants will be notified of their status during the second week of January. Winners must be able to attend the National Conference in the Spring.

Important Links


Edward Zigler Innovation Award

Since Head Start's inception in 1965, Dr. Edward Zigler has played a central role in the ongoing development of our program design. This award is to celebrate those local programs who have partnered to create innovative and high impact services to children and families.

View application details.

Portrait of R. Sargent Shriver (ca. 1962), first Director of the Peace Corps. Photograph in the R. Sargent Shriver Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

Sargent Shriver Excellence in Community Service Award

This award celebrates an individual's or organization's significant achievement through innovative community service to Head Start and Early Head Start. The nominee for this award should have excelled in addressing issues of poverty, early education or community health.

View application details.

Ron Herndon

Ron Herndon Head Start Parent Scholarship

This scholarship honors Ron Herndon's tireless efforts championing Head Start parents. The Ron Herndon scholarship celebrates Head Start parents who, through their own efforts to mobilize other parents and community members, have affected real change in their Head Start programs and/or communities.

Scholarship winners will receive an award of $2,500 and a commemorative certificate.

(Nominee must be attending an institution whose accreditation is recognized by the US Department of Education.)

View application details.


Aubrey Puckett Memorial Award

This national ataff award in memory of Aubrey Puckett celebrates a Head Start alumna or alumnus now working for a Head Start or Early Head Start program who demonstrates their passion for serving through advocacy, career growth, and being involved in their program, community, or the state/national level to benefit Head Start families.

View application details.


Vanessa Rich Leadership Award

This award celebrates the memory of Vanessa Rich and is intended for a new Head Start/Early Head Start Director (3 years or less) who is carrying on Vanessa’s legacy of “Head Start doesn’t stop on the front porch, it comes all the way into the house."

View application details.


Applications are accepted from the local and state level. NHSA reserves the right to consult the state association regarding any application that is submitted.

Nominees should review all appropriate guidelines and consult NHSA staff with any questions to ensure a successful application. Self-nominations are permitted.

Applications that do not meet the basic requirements will not be accepted for review.

Members of the Resource Development and Membership Services Committee( from the NHSA Board of Directors) review all applications.

Please direct questions to: scholarship@nhsa.org