In fall 2016, the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Education asked OVEC to create a leadership development program for early childhood educators and providers as part of Kentucky’s Race-to-the-Top Early Learning Challenge Grant. State policy makers tapped OVEC to take the lead on this initiative based on our reputation for quality and excellence in Head Start and Early Head Start management.
Alicia Sells, OVEC Director of Innovation, spearheaded the project, eventually hiring a Leadership Development Mentor, four Regional Mentors, a Communications Consultant, and an Administrative Assistant. The seven-member staff created and implemented a program for two cohorts of preschool educators – one from January 2017 to June 2017 and one from June 2017-December 2017. In all, 228 preschool directors, assistant directors, teachers, and support staff from 64 Kentucky Counties were involved in the Kentucky Super Star Leadership Academy (KSSLA).
The ultimate goal of KSSLA was to improve Kindergarten readiness by helping leaders learn about and focus their efforts on the Kentucky All Star initiative as well as on personal, organizational, and community leadership. Each “Super Star” met multiple times with his/her mentor and worked on a Personalized Leadership Plan (PLP), focused on the Kentucky All Star Domains, and attended three forums: personal leadership, organizational leadership, and community leadership.
Of those who responded to a survey following participation in KSSLA, an average of 92% of them rated all aspects of the program as “more valuable” or “very valuable.” These included mentoring, networking, the PLP, resources provided or recommended, and specific content. Ninety-one percent of the respondents indicated the experience changed their practices and 56% indicated the experience changed their organization’s practices.
Among the many positive optional comments on the survey is this one: “I recommend KSSLA to everyone in the education field. I tell anyone who will listen to watch for the opportunity to arise again and apply ASAP."
Meet three of Kentucky's Early Childhood Super Stars
Click on the names to link to stories about early childhood leaders' experiences in KSSLA.
Southside Child Care
KSSLA Reach in Kentucky
Public Program Participants
Private Program Participants