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October 2022 | The Monthly Newsletter of the Florida Head Start Association 

Letter from the Executive Director 

Our thoughts are prayers are with our programs and all the children and families that were impacted by Hurricane Ian, which left Floridians with devastation and destruction. Due to the hurricane, FHSA is rescheduling its Fall Leadership and Annual Awards Luncheon. We have several award recipients in the highly impacted areas, and we want to ensure they are recognized appropriately for their hard work and achievements. You can view the list of award recipients below. As soon as we have new dates, we will send them out.   

October kicks off Head Start Awareness Month.  OHS has created a digital toolkit to help promote your program and the services you provide to children and families in your local community.  This is also a great time to educate the early care, education, and family services providers on how Head Start engages parents by helping them achieve family goals, such as housing stability, continued education, and financial security. I would love to see photos of how your program celebrates Head Start. Make sure to use #HeadStartAwarenessMonth and tag us in your posts too.  

FHSA experienced the resignation of Heidi Rand from the FHSA board of directors and as one of our state representatives on the Region IV Head Start Association Board. With this opening, FHSA now has an open Director seat in the Northeast Region, and we are currently underway to fill the RIVHSA board seat. If you are a Head Start/Early Head Start director in the Northeast Region and your program does not have representation on the board, please consider completing this self-nomination form to serve.  

I also want to take a moment to publicly thank Terri Durdaller, LSF, Associate Vice President of Communications, for serving as Florida's State Captain with me for NHSA Fall Leadership and Hill Day meetings. Terri and I secured Legislative meetings for our members who traveled to D.C. to elevate the Head Start voice to congress. 

Our message was quite simple. Funding, Funding, and Funding.

  1. We need Congress to Hold the Line and maintain a minimum $1 billion increase over FY22 funding, in line with what’s currently in the House and Senate appropriations bills. 
  2. We voiced our appreciation to the 5.4% COLA currently in both bills ($596 million) but urged Congress to provide a COLA in line with inflation to demonstrate its commitment to the Head Start
    workforce and the vulnerable children and families you serve. 

  3. Last but certainly not least, we let Congress know how programs are struggling to serve all of the children and families in your community due to the inability of recruiting or retaining the highly qualified staff Head Start employs. We know additional resources will not solve all of our staffing problems but there is no way we can adequately address the workforce crisis without it.
Click here to download the leave behinds used for these critical meetings. 

Congressional leaders will be in their districts in October.

Consider inviting your leaders for a visit to your program during Head Start Awareness month.  NHSA has a toolkit that can assist with securing a visit. These visits allow you to educate your members about Head Start’s comprehensive, community-based model and wraparound services. Download the toolkit to get started. If you need assistance, don't hesitate to contact me directly; I would be happy to help. 

Stay well, 

Wanda Minick
Executive Director


Office of Head Start Updates 

Litigation Update: COVID-19 Vaccine and Mask Requirements

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has received notice that as of Sept. 21, 2022, following a decision by the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, implementation and enforcement of Vaccine and Mask Requirements to Mitigate the Spread of COVID-19 in Head Start Programs, 86 Fed. Reg. 68052 (Nov. 30, 2021) (the “Interim Final Rule” or “IFC”), is permanently enjoined in the following 24 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Head Start, Early Head Start, and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership grant recipients in those 24 states are not required to comply with the IFC. Click here to read the full statement.

Head Start Awareness Month Digital Toolkit

Please take this month as an opportunity to spread awareness about Head Start in your local community by using these social media images. This is an excellent opportunity to draw attention to Head Start's work by focusing on the high-quality services that make Head Start and Early Head Start a leader in early childhood education.

Celebrating Head Start Rock Start

Our annual awards luncheon celebrates achievements made by parents, teachers, staff, administrators, and community partners that elevate the Head Start voice. These individuals were nominated by their program and selected by the FHSA awards committee to represent Florida at the Regional and National levels.  

Here is a complete list of this year's award recipients.  

Administrator of the Year, Autumn Tomas, Episcopal Children's Services

Teacher of the Year, Azza Tawadors, Hillsborough County Public Schools Head Start Program 

Support Staff of the Year, Kenneth Davis, Episcopal Children's Services

Beating the Odds, Erica Fernandez & Dillion Nations Family, Episcopal Children's Services

Parent of the Year, Maria Somera, Children's First, Inc. 

Staff of the Year, Maria O'Donnell, Episcopal Children's Services

Corporate Award, Family Health Source, Mid Florida Community Services Inc. Head Start & Early Head Start

Father of the Year, Anthony Ray, Episcopal Children's Services

Edward Zigler Innovation Award, Miami Dade County HS/EHS & Reach Out and Read Florida  

Sargent Shirver Excellence in Community Service Award, Phillip Tavill, Children's First, Inc.

Aubrey Puckett Memorial Award, Shamella Harmon, Orange County Head Start 

Updates from NHSA

NHSA Response to FY22 Continuing Resolution

September 30, 2022 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to the continuing resolution (CR), that Congress passed today to prevent a government shutdown and provide funding through December 16, NHSA released the following statement:

“While we are glad that Congress has averted a government shutdown, we urge passage of a new bill for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) and not let the continuing resolution stretch past December for a second year in a row. Programs are struggling and it is critical to put the FY23 Cost-of-Living funds as well as the additional Quality Improvement Funds into the hands of Head Start programs as soon as possible,” said NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci. “An extended or full-year CR would trap programs in outdated spending priorities and deprive the Head Start workforce of a COLA that is aligned with the actual rate of inflation.” 

NHSA Parent Advocacy Engagement Call 

Join the National Head Start Association on Wednesday, October 12, for their Head Start Parent Advocacy Engagement Call.  This call is designed to engage Head Start parents from around the country, discuss their top concerns, learn from one another, and celebrate Head Start. The call begins at 7:00 p.m. ET / 4:00 p.m. PT. Click here to register. 


Three Things Heightening Head Start Awareness

Upcoming Events


5,Building a Pipeline of Qualified Early Childhood Educators Through Innovative Career Pathway Efforts

6, Understanding and Measuring Latino Racial and Ethnic Identity 

6, What does it take to learn to talk? Supporting Your Baby’s Learning in Everyday Activities 

11- 13, Beyond the Classroom: Creating a Program- Wide Culture of Wellbeing 

11, Webinar: Autism Navigator How-To Guide for Families 

12, NHSA Families Unite for Head Start: Parent Advocacy Engagement Call 

13- Addressing Child Incidents Through a Culture of Safety 

14, FAIMH Black Community of Professional Helpers 

19, Florida State Board of Education 

20, What does it take to learn to talk? Supporting Your Baby’s Learning in Everyday Activities

25, Webinar: Autism Navigator How-To Guide for Families

26, FHSA Head Start Music Classes

26, Building a Pipeline of Qualified Early Childhood Educators Through Innovative Career Pathway Efforts


CDC recommends everyone ages 5 and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19.

FHSA Newest Member Benefit
Teachstone CDA Class On Demand
Teachstone CDA Class Facilitated

FHSA has partnered with Teachstone to deliver FHSA members access to their on-demand and/or facilitated CDA with CLASS® program with discounted membership pricing now through September 30, 2023.


Zoom Music Classes for FHSA Members

Join our friends at Play Motion Music for 4 Free Music Classes for FHSA Members.  

The first class will begin on October 26, 2022, @ 10:00 a.m. ET


Member Information

Change of address, email or any information? You will need to login to your profile in our organization. Your username is  

Important Links

FHSA extends a huge shout-out to everyone who renewed their 22-23 membership and appreciates the continued support. If for some reason, you forget, it's never too late. 

Please contact FHSA at (850) 694-6477 or [email protected] if you have questions about your membership. 


If your program is interested in using this flyer to increase awareness in your community, don't hesitate to contact the FHSA office. We will be happy to customize it for you. 


Join your State Association: FHSA provides members with access to tools, resources, and collaborative relationships empowering your agency's management team, staff, and parents. FHSA offers Individual and Corporate memberships too!

Support your State Association: Help FHSA ensure Florida programs are supported through professional opportunities, research efforts, and legislation so they can continue to provide high-quality services to Florida's most at-risk children and families. 

 Florida Head Start Association
111 N. Gadsden Street, Suite 200
Tallahassee, FL 32301
(850) 694-6477
[email protected]