Icon_ Director Credential

Director Credential

Online • Live • 40 PD Hrs

Take a four-month learning journey with other new Head Start and Early Head Start Directors. Here you will dig into a wide range of program leadership topics, including effective leadership development, communication and advocacy, operations, and more.


Let's face it, being a Head Start director is tough work. But with the right support, you can thrive and make a significant, positive impact in the lives of children and families. The Director Credential provides four months of professional development and practical support to help you overcome barriers and lead your program with excellence.

Designed especially for new directors (0-5 years on the job), this credential allows you to identify specific challenges, analyze those challenges, and develop solutions. You'll work through new modules every month and engage in conversations with peers all over the country. The cohort model provides peer-to-peer support, mentorship, and coaching on your journey.

In addition to the monthly meetings and online coursework, all participants receive free registration to one of two NHSA conferences. The fall cohort will attend NHSA’s Parent and Family Engagement Conference in December and the spring cohort will attend NHSA’s National Conference in May. Some learners may have the opportunity to present at one of the conferences, taking your leadership skills to the national level.

Start Date: New cohorts biannually in Fall and Spring

Cohorts Available: Head Start or Early Head Start

Course Level: Advanced

Requirements/Prerequisites: Directors with under 5 years experience in role

Target Audience: Leadership and Management

Course Meeting Times: Thursdays from 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. ET

Completion Timeline/Duration: Four months

Head Start Alignment: This course supports programs in meeting Part 1302: Program Operations, Subpart I-Human Resources & J-Program Management and Quality Improvement requirements of the Head Start Program Performance Standards to ensure staff are qualified and supported to effectively provide services.

Course Outline

Course Facilitators

Head Start Cohort

Dr. Deborah Bergeron

Dr. B served as director of the Office of Head Start from 2018-21. From 2019-21 she broadened her leadership as director of the Office of Early Childhood Development in the Administration for Children and Families. Known as "Dr. B" to former students and teachers, she spent three decades in pre-K–12 public education as a classroom teacher and school administrator. She currently serves as deputy director for Community Engagement and Innovation at the National Head Start Association.

Early Head Start Cohort

Zuly Vazquez

Zuly Vazquez

Zuly is the Manager of Early Head Start Professional Learning Programs at NHSA. She has worked with Head Start, and Early Head Start programs for over a decade, specializing in training, mentoring, coaching, facilitation, curriculum implementation, and management. She worked for several years in the classroom, providing high-quality education to children from different cultures, traditions, and ethnicities. She is a former EHS/HS parent. She has vast experience supporting and providing technical assistance to teachers, family child care providers, education specialists, and families in large EHS/HS programs in Florida and Georgia. Over her career, she designed a supplemental Christian early childhood curriculum, bilingual online lessons, and classroom observation tools and has facilitated early childhood education courses in English and Spanish at the college level. As an active early childhood advocate, she is a board member of her local NAEYC affiliate and Family Child Care Home Alliance of Georgia. She is a senior advisor of Latinas United for the Children of America.

What learners are saying...

"This was one of the best decisions I've made as a new director! This is a MUST for all new directors!"

- Kalota Stewart-Gurley, Head Start & Early Head Start Manager, Richmond Public Schools

"A wonderful experience of collaboration and intentionality to carry on the mission, purpose, and innovation of Head Start. Great content and wonderful speakers! Dr. Bergeron was always very attentive to our needs and was a great facilitator."

- Leslie Mitchell, Assistant Director, Community Action Partnership of Kern

"I really enjoyed this experience and feel like I am ready to tackle this new adventure into being a director."

- Andrea Velasquez, Head Start Director, Marathon County Child Development Agency, Inc

"It was so worth it. It was a great learning experience!"

- Monica Coates, Director of Early Childhood, Caldwell Parish Head Start

"It was so worth it. It was a great learning experience!"

- Monica Coates, Director of Early Childhood, Caldwell Parish Head Start

"The Director Credentials builds relationships with other Head Start Directors. It is beneficial because you know other Head Start are experiencing the same things as your own agency. In addition, other directors share what has worked for them at their agency. I loved the class Dr. B! Thank you so much for bringing us all together to share and build relationships with great content."

- Julene Figueroa, Family Partnership Coordinator, Central Texas 4C, Inc.

Registration Rates

Regular Rate: $5,495

NHSA Member Rate: $4,225

Not a member? Join to save!


Related Content

Site Leader Credential

This credential explores topics surrounding day-to-day leadership in Head Start and Early Head Start sites. Participants will...

Leadership Education and Development Summit

Leadership Education and Development Summit (LEADS) prepares Head Start and Early Head Start programs to be innovative....

Get exclusive discounts, news, and more by subscribing to The Academy newsletter.