Vanessa Rich Leadership Award

Vanessa Rich Leadership Travel Stipend 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.”

This individual will be awarded  a complimentary registration for and travel stipend to one of the NHSA Leadership Institutes where they will speak at the Head Start Spirit Rally or Congressional Breakfast to share how they are carrying on Vanessa’s legacy in the Head Start community.

Award-specific criteria:

  • The nominee must have be a new Director with 3 years or less experience
  • The nominee must provide a letter of reference from each of two people who know the nominee in his/her current role. (Uploaded to application).
  • The nominee must provide a personal statement addressing the following requirements, in its entirety:
    • Key details about the nominee and the nominee's family, and connection to Head Start/Early Head Start.
    • Details about they intend to "build the next brick" for Head Start.
    • Describe activities and efforts the nominee has made that demonstrate passion for serving through advocacy career growth, and being involved in Head Start, the community, or at the state/national level to benefit Head Start families.

NHSA general rules and regulations

  • Applicant must be associated with a program that is a current member of NHSA.
  • An individual may not be nominated for more than one scholarship or award per year.
  • Local member programs may not nominate more than one person for this award.
  • Applications must be submitted on-line. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • Individuals selected for an award or scholarship must be able to provide a Social Security number and other required information to redeem cash awards.
  • Applicant must be willing to allow NHSA to publicize their nomination through a variety of media channels including publications, social media, and websites.
  • Nominees will be contacted primarily by e-mail.
  • NHSA Scholarship and Award winners serve as models and ambassadors for the Head Start Community. During their year, winners will be encouraged to share successful strategies with others during NHSA conferences, institutes and gatherings.
  • NHSA board members, staff, and family members are ineligible.

Past Award Winners

  • 2019-20: Tracey Johnson, Grand Forks Head Start
  • 2020-21: Kristen Jones, LEADS, Inc.