What is Chattanooga Head Start and Early Head Start?

The Chattanooga Head Start and Early Head Start program has been promoting the school readiness of Hamilton County’s children ages birth to five years since 1965. We believe the best way to prepare our children is to support the development of the whole child and give parents the resources they need to achieve their goals. Our classrooms provide a positive learning environment and our credentialed teachers use research based curricula to create developmental goals that are specifically tailored to each child.

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Leadership

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Ariel Ford

Deputy Administrator, Department of Youth and Family Development

Ariel has served Chattanooga’s children and families since 2017; in this role she is charged with developing an early learning system that works for kids and families. 

Previously Ariel worked at Delaware’s Department of Education overseeing the state quality rating and improvement system and Early Head Start Child Care Partnership. She was director of a countywide Child Care Resource & Referral, and started her career as a two year old teacher. 

Ariel holds a BA in Theater and Literature from UNC Asheville, and an MA in Early Childhood Education from East Tennessee State University. 

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Sherry Hutsell

Director, Chattanooga Head Start/Early Head Start

Having worked in early care and education for 40 years, Sherry leads the Chattanooga Head Start/Early Head Start program with the skills garnered over her career. Spending the past 21 years in the Chattanooga Head Start/Early Head Start program, Sherry has been instrumental in bringing both Early Head Start and the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership to our community.

 

Sherry is a passionate advocate for quality education; this is evident across her career, from a kindergarten teacher in a Title I school, to leading our program, Sherry’s career has served children and families.

 

Sherry holds a BS in Child Development from UT Knoxville, and a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education from UT Chattanooga.

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Geneva Maffett

Multidisciplinary Team Manager, Child Services

In her current role, Geneva supports the education of 998 children by supporting teachers in their own professional development and as they implement curriculum and assessment. With 37 years of experience, Geneva has served the children and families of Head Start and Early Head Start since 1982, and has built her reputation as a forceful advocate for children and families. 

Beginning her career as a Title I teacher, Geneva has committed herself to the education of children, the empowerment of families, and the professionalization of early childhood teachers.  

Geneva holds a BS in Early Childhood from the University of Tennessee. 

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Erica Jones

Multi-Disciplinary Team Manager of Parent, Family, Community and Engagement

As the Multi-Disciplinary Team Manager of Parent, Family, Community and Engagement, Erica oversees the programs supporting whole-child and whole-family supports. This includes Family Services, Parent Engagement, Health, Nutrition, Transportation, Special Projects, Dietary Staff, and Dual Language Learners.

Erica comes to Chattanooga Head Start/Early Head Start with experience both in the classroom and in disability services, and is dedicated to making sure each family has the supports they need to meet their family goals and to support the healthy growth and development of their children.

Erica has a BS in Child Development and Family Relations from Tennessee State University, and a MA in both Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Grand Canyon University.

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Traci Forrest

Multidisciplinary Team Manager, ERSEA

With a background in both early care and education and business management, Traci supports Chattanooga Head Start/Early Head Start enrollment and compliance; maintaining accurate data collection, supporting grants management, and ensuring health and safety requirements are met. Traci is passionate about trainings that make a difference in staff performance, and in building the capacity of our program in order to ensure excellence.

Traci’s career has focused on building the capacity of people and organizations. This has been the thread through her business and early care and education careers.

Traci holds a AAS in Early Childhood Education from Cleveland Technical Community College, and a BS in Business Management from Tennessee Wesleyan College.

 

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Michelle Anderson

Fiscal Manager

As the Fiscal Manager, Michelle is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Fianace Division, and the planning grants budgets. She develops our federal financial reports, and provides Board of Directors fiscal trainings and reporting. 

In previous roles Michelle has worked at high level accounting positions, and has worked with federal grants for almost twenty years. 

Michelle holds a BBA in Accounting from Shorter University. 

Contact

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We welcome all children including those with disabilities. We participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) so that we are able to provide nutritious meals daily.