A Farewell Letter from Dr. Enriquez

Dear Head Start program staff and parents,

I am blessed beyond words to have spent the last 20 months working with such intelligent, committed, and loving colleagues as yourselves. So it is with a mixed heart that I announce that as the Obama Administration is coming to a close, so is my time at the helm of the Office of Head Start. Simultaneously, it is a pleasure to remind you of the successes that we have accomplished together as we enhanced the Head Start legacy for future generations.

We strengthened Head Start, set our sights on creating high-performing agencies, opened and enhanced communication systems, reported on lessons learned from the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS®) and the Designation Renewal System (DRS), and worked in unison to publish the new Head Start Program Performance Standards. These accomplishments were designed to position present and future generations with quality tools to help them become even more successful!

Though each of our Head Start families is unique, it is our job to help them become as strong and stable as possible, regardless of what they believe or who they are. Our Head Start community consists of traditional two-parent households and non-traditional families made of a single mother or father; children raised by grandparents, relatives, or older siblings; and families whose parents are both of the same gender. We have students who open gifts on Christmas, who are taught the Torah, and who proudly wear headscarves as part of their Muslim faith. Some of our families are indigenous Native Americans, some are descendants of the pilgrims, and yet others moved to the United States within the last year and may migrate to work and bring food to our tables.

Our Head Start family is a snapshot of this country, and we are faced with the task of creating an environment that celebrates and harnesses the strengths of all of these differences. As partners, staff, and parents, I know you strive to get better at that—and I thank you for all you do!

You serve more than one million children annually, but it is your passion to focus on the “one child in a million,” as though each were our own that makes me most proud. You are the face of Head Start, made even more beautiful by the loving attitude and hard work you bring to Head Start every day.

I have traveled our nation and met magnificent and highly competent people throughout all levels of Head Start. It is not just your minds, but your hearts and minds working in unison that must continue guiding us forward with compassion and focus. Therefore, I leave the Office of Head Start with the knowledge that it remains in capable hands—hands that are guided by passionate hearts and sharpened minds.

As always, I am deeply humbled and honored to have worked with each and every one of you. My very best wishes for you from this day forward.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Blanca E. Enriquez

Dr. Blanca Enriquez is the Director at the Office of Head Start.

Source: A Farewell Letter from Dr. Enriquez

Available at: https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/hs/news/blog/farewell-dr-enriquez.html

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