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Van Buren Head Start Names New Interim Director

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

The UCHRA’s Van Buren Head Start program has a new interim director.

Elsie Blalock will take over for Karla Hillis, who announced her retirement after 23 years as director. Executive Director Mark Farley said the results of the grant for the three proposed head start centers will determine the future of the position.

“Our thoughts are we would hire as an interim, right away,” Farley said. “After we know what happens with these early head start centers, we can step back and determine long range what we need to be.”

Farley said if the three centers are funded, the agency will reevaluate what skills are needed as director. Farley said Hillis will work with Blalock to help in the grant application process.

“She has been working us through and is going to work with us through the process of submitting our grant application,” Farley said. “And helping her replacement get up to speed.”

The federal government requires the UCHRA’s policy group to approve its director. The board unanimously agreed to appoint Blalock this week.

“This position has very specific requirements that you have to meet,” Farley said. “They have to have a teacher’s degree and some advance degrees as well. Elsie is the only one that met this qualification at this time.”

The $8.7 million grant request will fund one new facility in Morrison and Sparta and the purchase of a building in Spencer. The current Van Buren Head Start Center will serve as the headquarters.


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