Thank you for making our first in-person event since 2020 one for the books!


Head Start California had the pleasure of hosting our first in-person conference since the pandemic – Managers & Directors Institute! After two long years of locking down and learning through a screen, we were delighted that nearly 200 Head Start leaders joined us face-to-face! Thank you to our attendees who took the journey with us as we navigated how to meet safely in-person.

MDI kicked off with a lively presentation by keynote speaker, Tami Hackbarth. Tami is a former teacher who has personally experienced burnout in her professional career. She brought humor and real-life solutions to the group so we could all “close our stress circles” with her 10 recommendations.


MDI was different this year. Based on survey input from over 40 agencies, the schedule balanced workshop sessions—with great content—with some facilitated conversations. These participant-led discussions gave attendees a chance to engage and connect with colleagues and talk about the challenges and solutions impacting Head Start programs.

In addition to our facilitated conversations, a dozen expert-led traditional sessions centered on the following topics: Leadership; Social-Emotional Well-Being; Data Management; and Race, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Our speakers provided timely conversations to engaged audiences. Thank you to our planning committee who helped us select this content for our membership.


Our closing session, Harnessing the Wisdom in the Room, included a panel of ECE leaders representing First 5 of California, Region IX Office of Head Start, California Department of Social Services, California Department of Education and Children Now.

What was the highlight of the event? Here’s how some attendees responded:

  • “Being able to interact with other directors and managers. To be able to exchange thoughts and see how others are trying to retain their staff and how can we engage our families and encourage fathers to be engaged into our programs.”
  • “I loved being together in person with people passionate about children and families.”
  • “The open forum and utilizing the wisdom in the room.”
  • “This was the first time I have attended. The information was excellent coming from the most knowledgeable people in the field. Looking forward to next time.”


We would like to recognize our exhibitors, proud partners, and sponsors. We value the support they offer to the Head Start community.

A final thanks to our host agency, KidZCommunity Head Start. We appreciate all their dedication and assistance throughout the week. They did a wonderful job decorating our reception and their volunteers were invaluable to the HSC staff. Thank you to everyone for helping us to fully embody our conference theme – Better Together!





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