VAN BUREN COUNTY – During its bi-monthly Board of Directors meeting Wednesday, the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) announced the new director of the agency’s Van Buren County Head Start facility. Elsie Blaylock, the longtime lead teacher of the facility, was announced as the new director by UCHRA Executive Director Mark Farley.
“Elsie has been with Van Buren County Head Start for going on 18 years and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with her into this role,” Farley said. “She’s also a familiar face to the staff, parents, and children there and that will definitely help ease the transition.”
In 2001, Blaylock’s employer was pulling up stakes and relocating to another country. At the time, her children were enrolled at VBCHS and she found herself volunteering for the program regularly.
“I loved spending time with the children during those volunteer activities,” Blaylock recalled.
Following the loss of her job and discovering her love for the classroom, Blaylock decided to go to school and pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education. She has an AAS in Early Childhood Education, a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education, and double master’s degrees in Early Childhood Education with a specialization in Special Education.
“At this moment, I’m feeling very humbled and excited at the same time,” Blaylock said of her new role. “I know this is a huge responsibility and I intend to work very hard at fulfilling my duties as Van Buren County Head Start Director.
“My favorite things about working for Head Start are working with the children, meeting new people, and working with the staff who are very dedicated and willing to help our children and families at a moment’s notice.”
Blaylock says her first order of business in her new role is to continue to promote a positive work environment and ensure all VBCHS staff have a voice.
Head Start is the country’s largest federally-funded early childhood program; helping high-risk children from low-income families by providing comprehensive services — early childhood education, parent education, and community service. Tennessee’s head start programs have served more than 20,000 children annually.
Head Start programs promote and encourage self-sufficiency and independence in head start parents by helping them achieve and maintain responsible jobs. According to an article shared by members of the Tennessee Head Start Association and the Tennessee Head Start Collaboration Office, more than 25 percent of Head Start employees come from the ranks of Head Start or Early Head Start Programs.
“During my time as director, I will continue to encourage the staff and children to be the best they can be and ensure that the children we serve obtain a strong educational base that will make them successful throughout their school years and life,” Blaylock added.
VBCHS is located at 24038 TN-30 in Spencer, Tenn. To learn more, visit ucvbheadstart.com or call (423) 881-5182.