Bold Leadership Series: Leadership Matters
Welcome to the Bold Leadership Series!
How Bold Leadership Leads to Bold Partnerships
Successful Head Start programs hinge on successful collaboration and partnerships in the communities they serve. Paula Margraf, retired Head Start Director from Community Services for Children in Allentown, PA, spent her career building partnerships and watching those partnerships inspire phenomenal outcomes for her program’s children and families. Come grab some perspective from the ground and leave with some new ways you can approach building long lasting, effective partnerships in your community. You too can become a bold leader!
Paula J. Margraf, Retired CEO/President Community Services for Children
Paula Margraf was first introduced to the challenges facing low-income families, as a nursing student at Georgetown University, working in a community health center serving Head Start children. She has continued her commitment, working on behalf of low-income women, children and their families for over 35 years in public health, and later as an Early Head Start, and then Head Start leader. She retired in March 2022 as the CEO/President of Community Services for Children, a $370 M dollar not for profit organization with 460 employees whose mission is to prepare young children and families for success in school and in life through comprehensive, innovative leading edge services. As a strategic leader, she initiated the only therapeutic Early Head Start program of its kind, serving drug impacted infants, and saw the agency through multiple expansions, growing CSCs’ reach and services.
CSC provides high quality Early Childhood education through Head Start, Early Head Start and Pre-K Counts, with specialization in STEM learning, 21st Century Innovative practices as well as therapeutic services to infants to over 1700 low income children in the Valley. CSC’s Head Start program was designated as a Program of Excellence and Innovation by the National Head Start Association, and works in partnership with 12 school districts. In addition, CSC operates the State of PA’s Early Learning Resource Center programming in 17 counties, connecting over 20,000 families to child care, and providing referrals to over 5000 families for early childhood, health, and social resources. At the same time CSC’s Early Learning Resource Centers support continuous quality improvements through the operation of the Keystone Stars program, a quality rating program for early learning entities – together impacting directly on the lives of families and 2000 child care providers.
In addition to serving as the CEO for the past six years, Paula is past president of the PA Head Start Association, past member of the National Head Start Association (NHSA) Board of Directors, and graduate of UCLA’s Head Start Executive Management program. She is past President of Lehigh County Office of Children and Youth Advisory Board, a member of United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley – “Lehigh Valley Reads” Steering Committee, and a collaborating partner for the 21st Century Allentown program, ensuring that Early Childhood and Family programming is integral to the revitalization of the City of Allentown. Paula has co-authored numerous articles on child development, home visitation and family services. She has served on various state and national task groups advocating on behalf of families, and most recently on the NHSA task group, worked to bring about legislation that will assist families affected by the Opioid crisis. She has been recognized by The Morning Call Top Workplaces survey with the Top Leadership Award, among 500 participating corporations and as a Woman of Influence by the Lehigh Valley Business Organization.