Angie Kinder, West Plains, has been named the new director of the Head Start program for the region, announced officials with Ozark Action, Inc. (OAI), which oversees the program.
Kinder will supervise Head Start centers in Alton, Ava, Bakersfield, Cabool, Gainesville, Grovespring, Licking, Mansfield, Mtn. Grove, Mtn. View, Thayer, West Plains and Willow Springs, along with the Early Head Start Center in Mtn. Grove and a new one coming to Houston in the near future.
Ozark Action Executive Director Terry Sanders said the organization worked closely with the local Head Start Policy Council during the interview process and submitted Kinder’s new hire request to the Head Start Regional Office in Kansas City, as required by Head Start regulations.
Both the Policy Council and the regional office approved the hire on Sept. 12. The OAI Board of Directors approved the hire at its meeting on Tuesday.
“We had several high-quality candidates for the position, but Angie was hands-down the best one,” said Sanders. “Angie’s experience with Head Start – especially with being the assistant Head Start director the last three years – has prepared her for the challenges ahead. I’m confident she’ll excel in this position.”
Kinder has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Child and Family Development from Missouri State University and has been with Ozark Action for over 15 years, starting as a parent/teacher assistant in 2008. In 2009, she became a teacher at the West Plains Head Start and held that position until 2016, when she became the special services coordinator, overseeing the program’s disability, health and mental health services. She became the assistant director of the Head Start program in 2019.
“I’m excited about this new chapter and the opportunity to continue helping children and families in the region,” said Kinder.
Ozark Action is a nonprofit Community Action Agency founded in 1965 that serves the counties of Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Texas and Wright in south-central Missouri. The stated mission of OAI is to coordinate and provide services for people with needs so that they can improve their quality of life.
Several programs that help low-income residents are housed under the OAI umbrella along with Head Start and Early Head Start, including the Community Services department, which helps with homeless outreach, utility assistance for those in need and the local Salvation Army; a variety of workforce development efforts including job placement, training, workshops and other career-related opportunities; the area Weatherization program; and the area Housing Choice Voucher program (HCV), formerly known as the Section 8 program, which provides rental assistance to low-income families across the region.
Head Start was established as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “war on poverty” initiative to ensure all children have equal opportunities for success and a quality education. Head Start programs aim to provide comprehensive services centered around quality early learning opportunities, health and family well-being. Not only are children provided a strong foundation for future education opportunities, officials note, Head Start also partners with parents to help parents become advocates for their children and leaders in their communities.
While the 2023-24 school year is already underway for Head Start and Early Head Start, applications are always accepted say officials. Interested parties may apply online at www.oaiwp.org/head-start.
For more information on Ozark Action and their services visit www.oaiwp.org.