Two women smile and stand side by side holding framed certificates. They are both wearing black clothing and stand against a night time outdoor background with two lanterns behind them.

Two UCS directors graduate from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Head Start Management Fellows Program

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United Counseling Service (UCS) Operations Director, Amy Fela, and Associate Director of Early Childhood Services at UCS, Rebecca Bishop Ware, graduated from the Head Start Management Fellows Program at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in July. The fellowship is a two-week intensive training tailored to managers and directors of federally funded Head Start and Early Head Start programs across the country. The curriculum focused on strategic planning, finance, marketing, communication, data analysis, and effective and inclusive leadership. Fellowships are highly competitive and granted for one year to professionals working in Head Start, early childhood, or children and family services.

“The UCLA Head Start Management Fellows Program provided us with a wonderful opportunity to further develop our entrepreneurial competencies, through a curriculum that was taught by UCLA Anderson faculty and other universities,” says Fela. “The competencies of focus including strategy development and implementation, organizational design, and management effectiveness are crucial in the ever-changing, fast-paced landscape of our work.”

Fela and Bishop Ware represented the only Region 1 (New England) Head Start team chosen to take part in the Management Fellows program this year. Around 1700 people have graduated from the program in total over the last 20 years.

“We were able to network with other Head Start leaders from around the United States and its territories about the topics of focus, as well as share and learn from each other,” says Bishop Ware. “As a result of attending the program, we developed Management Improvement Plans of focus to improve specific systems and services provided by the agency, as well as to share the management tools that we learned with other agency leaders and supervisors to increase the quality and efficiency of all our work.”

Head Start programs serve almost one million children and families every day. Early Childhood Services (ECS) at UCS administers Head Start/Early Head Start of Bennington County to children from the age of six weeks to five years and provides support to their families. Children in Head Start gain school-readiness skills to prepare them for kindergarten, attend field trips, engage in outdoor play, and explore creativity through art, dance, and music. Family support workers help connect parents of children in the program with childcare financial assistance, community activities, and provide regular home visits. Head Start parents can attend parenting classes and workshops such as child safety, healthy cooking, budgeting, stress management, and more.

Head Start/Early Head Start of Bennington County is licensed by the State of Vermont, administered by United Children’s Services division of United Counseling Service of Bennington County, and supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The program is free for eligible families.

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