Fall Leadership Institute

September 23 - 26, 2024 | Washington, D.C.

Early childhood education—including Head Start and Early Head Start—needs to be a part of the national conversation leading up to the election in November, and you can help facilitate that conversation by attending NHSA’s Fall Leadership Institute. This is your opportunity to hear from national political figures, thought leaders, and early childhood experts on critical issues impacting Head Start and what potential changes in the election mean for you and the children and families in your program. And, with a final Head Start rule expected this summer, we will hear from Office of Head Start leaders and have additional sessions related to upcoming changes from the new rule.

Right now, Congress and the Biden Administration are engaged in the difficult process of determining the budget for Fiscal Year 2025—made even more difficult by the spending caps put in place by the Fiscal Responsibility Act signed into law in June 2023. As a result, Head Start is one of the many federal programs with competing priorities facing a limited pool of money. That’s why it’s critical for members of Congress and their staff to hear firsthand—from you!—how important Head Start is to the communities they serve.

Highlights of this year’s Institute include:

  • Meetings with members of Congress
    Advocacy training
  • Engaging discussions on how Head Start programs are leading in their communities
  • Professional development opportunities include media training, leadership development, and family advocacy efforts
  • Rally for Head Start on Capitol Hill

Particpate in the Event

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Registration Rates

Super Early Bird Member Rate:*


Available until June 14

Early Bird Member Rate:*


Available June 15 - August 2

NHSA Member:*


Available August 3 - September 22

On-Site Member Rate:*


Available after September 23

Regular Rate:


*All discounts are available to those who are a staff or parent in a Head Start/Early Head Start program which has an active NHSA program membership. Sign up to save.

An Unforgettable Experience

Network and Share

By convening leaders from across the country, our Leadership Institutes drive the Head Start community forward. Meet with your colleagues from across the country, share in conversations about niche Head Start happenings, and make connections that last.

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Advocate and Educate

NHSA's government affairs team will make sure that you have all the resources you need to schedule meetings with your members of Congress. These meetings connect your work to Congress' agenda, so you can have a hand in shaping a strong future for Head Start. Together, we can make sure that this dialogue leads to results.

Learn and Grow

Leadership Institutes offer deep-dive insights into the policies that affect Head Start nationally and explore how these can be implemented locally. What's the latest, and what can we expect in the months ahead?

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Schedule at a Glance

Monday and Tuesday

  • Dive deep into the policy and advocacy issues that will affect Head Start for years to come
  • Engage in practical trainings on some of the hardest challenges facing our workforce
  • Prepare for meaningful conversations with lawmakers


  • Take your passion to Capitol Hill! We will start the day with a star-studded Head Start rally
  • Then, meet with members of Congress to share firsthand about Head Start’s impact and the support we need to fully serve our nation's most vulnerable children and their families


  • Join us to hear updates from the Administration and the Office of Head Start

Explore the Nation's Capital

The Institute will be held in downtown Washington, D.C.—near Capitol Hill, close to the White House, and walking distance to the National Mall, Washington Monument, and other nearby D.C. attractions. 

Attendees will have the opportunity to join colleagues for a Moonlight Monuments Tour on Wednesday evening in a comfortable state-of-the-art, all-weather, stadium trolley. Fully-trained, certified tour guides provide expert narration and, frankly, really know their stuff! It is a fun, interactive, and informative experience that is anything but boring.

Tommy Speaking

A Word from NHSA

"The Leadership Institutes are essential, not only because they offer informative sessions and invaluable networking events, but because they provide the opportunity to meet with members of Congress and their staff to build strong, impactful relationships."

- Tommy Sheridan, Deputy Director

You won't want to miss this! 

But don't just take our word for it. Read the words from the Head Start community:

"Out of all the conferences we attend, the NHSA Fall Leadership Conference is my favorite. Where else can you get high-quality professional development, have time to interact with your peers, and have dedicated time to advocate for Head Start with the support of the NHSA team. I have made so many meaningful connections at the NHSA Fall Leadership events. If you are a Head Start leader that has never attended the event you are truly missing out!"

- 2020 Fall Leadership Institute (virtual) attendee

"My favorite part was being able to rally at the Capitol and hearing the senators advocate for Head Start. I will cherish that moment.”

- 2022 Fall Leadership Institute attendee

"Everything was perfect... As a parent, I never thought I’d ever be here speaking for my kids." 

- 2019 Fall Leadership Institute attendee

“Good info, great speakers, new innovative information!”

- 2022 Fall Leadership Institute attendee

"My favorite part was hearing the OHS updates and information from Yasmina and Tommy. I loved hearing the stories of impact, too. They were so powerful and helped me remember why we do what we do." 

- 2021 Fall Leadership Institute (virtual) attendee

“It's always good to hear from the NHSA leadership team. I trust that they have the best interest of Head Start and Early Head Start on their agenda. It's also energizing to be in a room full of like-minded friends. Head Start is Heart Work.❤️” 

- 2022 Fall Leadership Institute attendee

"Great conference!!! All speakers I heard were on point and high energy! Great job, NHSA. Can’t wait to be in person again and bring parents to the conference."

- 2021 Fall Leadership Institute (virtual) attendee

Frequently Asked Questions

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