2018 Conference Speakers

Opening Plenary Speaker

Captain Robert Bialis, Regional Program Manager, Region IV, Office of Head Start

Keynote Speaker

Ronald D. Herndon, Director of Albina Head Start in Portland, Oregon

Lunch Speaker
Tommy Sheridan Senior Director of Government Affairs, National Head Start Association
Damon Carson, Neighborhood House Association General Manager of Education, Instruction and Operation and NHSA Board Chair 

Policy & Advocacy Town Hall Panel 

Vance Aloupis, CEO, The Children's Movement
William Daiuto, Regional Managing Director, Department of Children and Families
Dr. Saralyn Grass, Executive Director, Association for Early Learning Coalitions, Inc.
Dr. Phyllis Kalifeh, President & CEO, Children's Forum
Rodney J. MacKinnon, Executive Director, Office of Early Learning
Wanda Minick, Executive Director, Florida Head Start Association
Jennifer L. Ohlsen, Executive Director, Florida Healthy Families
Maite Riesra-Quintero, Ed.D., Chief of School Readiness and Early Childhood Programs, Community Action Human Services Department

Closing Keynote Session

LaVonna Roth, Lead Illuminator, Creator and Founder of Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.®

Plenary Session, Captain Robert Bialis
Monday, April 16
1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Join Captain Robert Bialis, Regional Program Manager, Region IV, Office of Head Start for our pleany session on with updates on the following topics

  • Supplemental Funding
  • Underenrollment
  • 5 year Application
  • Monitoring
  • Opioid Crisis
  • Domestic Violence
  • (Designation Renewal System) DRS
  • Active Supervision           



Keynote Speaker, Ron D. Herndon
Tuesday, April 17 
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Join us for what promises to me an insightful keynote session on the importance of grassroots advocacy and the benefits of letting your voices be heard. Utilizing his four decades of advocacy efforts, Mr. Herndon will focus on tactics, tools and strategies and how to effectively tell your story.He will share his thoughts on the importance of the advocacy and how"Creating Connections | Enhancing Lives" can impact change. He will leave attendees motivated and inspired to become an active powerful advocacy champion for Florida's most vulnerable children and families. 

About Ron:

A long-time community leader and Head Start Activist, Ron Herndon served as President and Board Chair of the National Head Start Association (NHSA) from 1991 to 2013. As Chair he provided leadership and support to Head Start programs across the nation including advocating for over 900,000 low-income children and families. He has been the Director of Albina Head Start in Portland, Oregon since 1975.  He is a former teacher, counselor, college instructor and VISTA volunteer. Click to read his bio in length.

National Updates 
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

This lunch will sure to be informative with Tommy Sheridan and Damon Carson providing federal policy and advocacy updates from the National Head Start Association. 

Policy & Advocacy Town Hall Panel
Wednesday, April 18
3:15 PM - 5:00 PM

In true fashion of this years conference theme "Creating Connections | Enhancing Lives" we have assembled a panel of child and family advocacy leaders in Florida to have an open dialogue regarding family needs issues and implementation on public policy in our State.  This session will be moderated by our States Head Start Collaboration Director, Nacole Guyton.


Closing Keynote Speaker, LaVonna Roth
Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.® - The Heart of Achievement! Through Creating Connections, Enhancing Lives
Thursday, April 19
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Our closing keynote will addresses the social-emotional needs of children and how it impacts their education long-term. Throughout our time together, we will tap into mindsets, the Whole Child, strengths-based teaching, passions and goal-setting (for all ages). Each letter of S.H.I.N.E. (Self, Heart, Inspire, Navigate and Exceptional) will be highlighted and experienced at a level that will touch their hearts and push your thinking. All of these components benefit every single attendee, despite their role. 
The beauty of this talk is that the participants will not only have many takeaways professionally, but their own stars will shine more brightly! I’m often told by participants afterwards, “You have no idea how much I needed that for me.”  I believe when we inspire the educator, we inspire everyone else they encounter- children, families and community. 

About LaVonna:

LaVonna has a deep passion in using brain research as a fundamental foundation to help students, educators, parents, and the community to honor and value each other so we unite and become unstoppable in what can be achieved. By using these fundamentals, she identifies how to reframe adversities and use those moments to become the exceptional person you really are. This enlightenment will occur throughout but be brought to light as she shares parts of her own personal story. Click to read her bio in full length.