Office of Head Start has a New Director

Virginia Head Start Association is excited to share the appointment of the new director for the Office of Head Start. We welcome Dr. Futrell and celebrate her being the first Head Start alumnae child to serve in this important role . We look forward to working with her as we continue to support Head Start's mission.

 Announcement From the Office of Head Start, February 22, 2021 

Bernadine Futrell, Ph.D., is the director of the Office of Head Start (OHS) at HHS’ Administration for Children and Families. Dr. Futrell, a Head Start child, began her career as an assistant Head Start teacher in Richmond, Virginia. She came to OHS in the Biden Administration from the National Head Start Association (NHSA), where she was most recently the senior director for effective practice. Prior to NHSA, Dr. Futrell led superintendent certification programs at the American Association of School Administrators.

She is co-author of the book ConnectED Leaders: Network and Amplify your Superintendency, and a regular contributor in research studies. Committed to service, she is a member of the advisory committees at George Mason University and Howard University.

Dr. Futrell holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University, a master’s degree in educational psychology from George Mason University, a Ph.D. in education policy from George Mason University and post-graduate certificates from Complutense University of Madrid and Harvard University.

Dr. Futrell and her husband are the proud parents of two elementary-aged children. 


Playdate at the Capitol – February 17, 2020

Our group with First Lady Pam Northam Virginia Head Start Parent Ambassadors joined other ECE stakeholders in advocating for early childhood education at the State Capitol. They brought their children on a "playdate" with delegates, senators, and the First Lady of Virginia to thank them for their investments. Head Start Director Yesenia De La Cruz (TAP) also attended with families. This year the Governor and Virginia General Assembly have supported an additional $100 million to improve access to home visiting and expand public preschool to serve more 3 & 4 year-olds.


The 2020 VAHSA Parent Ambassadors visited Richmond on January 22 to share their compelling stories with State Delegates and Senators about how Head Start has impacted their lives. They valued the opportunity to meet with State Legislators and shared powerful and inspirational examples of how families partner with Head Start to help prepare their children to be successful both in school, and in life.

Pictured left to right: Julie Chang, First Lady Pamela Northam, Tabatha Fulton, Jennifer Branham, Heather Thomas, Tasha Wagner and Dawn Ault 


Establishment of The Governor's Executive Leadership Team on School Readiness 

The Governor and First Lady announced an Executive Directive to establish an Executive Leadership Team on School Readiness, which will be co-chaired by Commissioner Duke Soren and Chief School Readiness Officer Jenna Conway. 

 The team is being tasked with two core objectives:

  1. Ensure that all at-risk three-year-olds and four-year-olds in Virginia have access to a publicly-subsidized option; and 
  2. Ensure that all publicly-funded programs that serve children birth to five are measured as quality as part of a uniform quality rating system by 2025.

Hopewell Celebrates Head Start’s 54th birthday 

Hopewell Head Start Birthday Celebration Dress Down Red, White, and Blue Day.

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