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Head Start Alumni Spotlight: Dr. David Schauer

How the Summer of '65 Head Start Program Prepared Me for Success

"I was born in Elmer, New Jersey in 1961. Shortly after the birth of my youngest brother in 1963 my father left my mother, Florence, and me and my four siblings. Times were tough, but my mother worked a variety of low-paying jobs to keep the family together.  She is a woman of great faith in God with a strong belief that as the Bible teaches, '...all things work together for good...'," shared Dr. David Schauer with a packed audience at the NHSA Fall Leadership Institute's reception celebrating the 50th anniversary of Head Start.

"When she learned about the newly created Head Start program she enrolled me and I was off and running.  I excelled at academics and athletics. I was a member of the National Honor Society, lettered in basketball and baseball and was named Williamstown High School's scholar-athlete in 1979.

“I later realized Head Start had helped me in a variety of ways: It gave me an early appreciation for being in a classroom and the importance of learning, I saw the value of hard work, and I gained an appreciation for community and people of different races and backgrounds.

“I went on to earn a scholarship to play baseball at Liberty University and graduated in 1983. Later that year, I was commissioned as an officer in the Navy where I served for 20 years before retiring as a Commander. During my time in the Navy, I earned graduate degrees from Georgetown (MS) and Johns Hopkins (ScD)."

“Since retiring from the Navy, Dr. Schauer serves as a subject matter expert (nuclear) at Leidos, Inc., is Executive Director Emeritus at the congressionally chartered National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, is Executive Secretary at the International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements and an Adjunct Associate Professor at Georgetown University. He and his wife Krista, who is an architect, live in Washington, DC with their three sons.

"I am of course proudest of my three sons who are students at St. Albans School in Washington, DC. I have passed onto them the lessons I learned from Head Start almost 50 years ago.”



In honor of Head Start’s 50th Anniversary and Head Start Awareness Month, the National Head Start Association will be highlighting Head Start alumni each weekday in October. We will begin the month with Head Start’s youngest learners and conclude the celebration with the Head Start Class of 1965. As the month progresses, these alumni stories will exemplify the short-term and long-term benefits Head Start has provided for our nation’s most vulnerable children and families for the past 50 years.  

Are you or anyone you know a Head Start alum? Share this story and sign up at!