Office of Head Start Director Addresses NeighborImpact

Central Oregon- On Thursday night, NeighborImpact’s board of directors had the honor of being addressed by Dr. Bernadette Futrell, head of the national Office of Head Start.

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. 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. 

Thursday’s meeting was one that takes place once each year–a joint meeting between NeighborImpact’s Board of Directors and Head Start Policy Council. As the guest speaker, Dr. Futrell expressed the importance of working directly with communities like ours when planning the future of the federal program.

“One of the most powerful things–one of the things about Head Start that has been so unique and so needed–is this notion of leaning into the federal to local, where we are really looking to local communities to help give us input to help drive what it looks like for change and moving forward,” Dr. Futrell said.

NeighborImpact’s Early Head Start and Head Start Policy Council is primarily composed of Head Start parent representatives. The role of the Head Start Policy Council is defined by the program’s performance standards as “guiding decisions about program goals and plans, annual budgets and personnel functions.” 

“I really just want to lift up the significant role that policy councils play in moving Head Start forward,” Dr Futrell said. “You have deep knowledge and history–not just knowledge of head start, performance standards, you know, the history of head start, but you have deep knowledge of the history and the context of Head Start and how it has impacted your community, your family, your friends. And it is that passion that really drives, I believe, innovation and excellence.”

About NeighborImpact: NeighborImpact is a private non-profit governed by a board of directors drawn from across the community.  Since 1985, NeighborImpact has led the region in developing solutions and bringing resources to Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. We help meet the basic needs of Central Oregonians, build economic security and create a community where everyone thrives. NeighborImpact receives federal, state and local grants, foundation grants and donations from individuals and businesses in our community. To learn more about NeighborImpact please visit 


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