Vanessa Rich Leadership Award

This award celebrates the memory of Vanessa Rich, a former Head Start director, parent, and leader from Chicago who served as the chairwoman of the NHSA Board of Directors from 2013-2016.

The award is intended for a new Head Start or Early Head Start Director with three years or less of service who is carrying on Vanessa’s legacy of “Head Start doesn’t stop on the front porch, it comes all the way into the house.” The nominee will be awarded a complimentary registration and travel stipend to one of the NHSA Leadership Institutes to join us NHSA as a speaker.

The nominee must:

  • Be a new director with three years or less experience
  • Provide a letter of recommendation from two people who know the nominee in their current role
  • Provide a cover letter that describes the following:
    • How they intend to build the future for Head Start
    • Activities and efforts made by the nominee that demonstrate passion for service, advocacy, career growth, and involvement with Head Start.
  • Comply with all NHSA general rules and regulations as listed on the Scholarships & Awards homepage.

Application

Award Nominator






Regional Contact







Aubrey Pucket Award












Ron Herdon Award














Vanessa Rich Award












Ed Zigler Award


Program Details










Community Partner Details









Sargent Shriver Award


Program Details










Community Partner Details









Aubrey Pucket Supporting Documents
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Vanessa Rich Supporting Documents
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Ron Herndon Supporting Documents
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Zigler Supporting Documents
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Sargent Shriver Supporting Documents
**Click here for more details about the scholarship requirement







Past Vanessa Rich Leadership Award Recipients

2021-22: Karen Pigues, Institute of Community Services

2020-21: Kristen Jones, LEADS, Inc.

2019-20: Tracey Johnson, Grand Forks Head Start