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LEADERSHIP TEAM

ANDREA HAYES

Chief Executive Officer

Andrea is a Harlem, New York, native who has dedicated over 35 years of service to Head Start as a Group Teacher, Education Director, and current position of Chief Executive Officer for West Harlem Community Organization, Inc. Head Start program, a privately operated recipient under the Office of Head Start.

 

She received her BS in Early Childhood & Elementary Education from St. John’s University and obtained her MA in Curriculum and Teaching with a minor in Early Childhood Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Ms. Hayes possesses NYS Certification in Early Childhood Education through sixth grade with an extension for ninth grade Social Studies.

 

Becoming Education Director of West Harlem Head Start in 1993 expanded her sphere of influence out of the classroom and allowed her to shape the educational experiences for hundreds of children. In 1995, Ms. Hayes envisioned and created the Class Partner Internship Program (CPIP) unique to West Harlem Head Start. This intensive16-20-week training program is geared towards parents or

family members who are interested in exploring a career in the field of Early Childhood Education as Teacher Assistants or Aides. Several of the graduates of this program have gone on to further their education and earned a Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) or entered an institution of higher education to obtain an Associate or Bachelor degree.

 

Ms. Hayes also speared headed a sixteen year (1998-2014) collaborative relationship with the Cooke Center for Learning and Development (now known as the Cooke Institute) to provide services to children with special needs. The partnership with the Cooke Center enabled West Harlem to provide services to children in their own neighborhoods that were timely and consistent, with no delay between identification of needs and implementation of services. The Cooke Center’s team of therapists worked closely with West Harlem teachers

 

and family services staff to ensure that the services provided meet the goals set forth by the mandated IEPs. This partnership allowed for the sharing of an inclusive classroom setting where children with and without special needs were taught by early childhood general and special education teachers; and services provided to all children in need through Special Education Itinerant Teachers, speech, occupational and physical therapists. The partnership also allowed for the provision of services to children who were at risk of delays in their education, thus possibly preventing entrance into special education.

 

In September 2012, Ms. Hayes became the Executive Director of West Harlem Head Start. In this role, she oversees a center-based Head Start & Early Head Start program and a Family Child Care Network. Hayes oversees programming that is in compliance with the standards set forth by grants with the federal Office of Head Start and NYC Department of Education and the licensing regulations of the NYC Department of Health Child Care Bureau and Child and Adult Food Care Program while ensuring children and families receive services individualized to their needs. Ms. Hayes has developed programs, policies, and procedures that have helped to shape West Harlem Head Start making it one of the longest (59yrs) operating childcare programs in NYC.

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MILDRED RIVERA

Deputy Director

Ms. Mildred Rivera began her employment with WHCO in December 2012. As Deputy Director, her focus is to provide leadership, program development, administration and coordination of staff operations and services. As a young adult, Ms. Rivera’s first experience with early childhood education was in a day care where she worked in the classroom as a Teacher’s Aide. She attended Hostos Community College to study Early Childhood Education and continued working at United Bronx Parents Day Care Center for approximately 6 years. Ms. Rivera received her Bachelor's of Professional Development in Human Resources from Metropolitan College of New York (formerly Audrey Cohen College) in 1997 and completed her Master of Science in Administration at the same institution in 2002. 

Before joining WHCO, Ms. Rivera worked for East Tremont Head Start (also known as Paul T. Matson Head Start) for approximately 22 years. She began her work there as a Family Worker with responsibilities focused on tracking children’s health records, reaching out to parents for expiring children’s physical and developing health activities for the parents, and conducting outreach and recruitment. During her time there, Ms. Rivera continued her education and finished her term at East Tremont Head Start as Assistant Director. 

Prior to becoming Deputy Director, Ms. Rivera served as Assistant Director. She first began her employment with WHCO as a Family Advocate for the Family and Community Partnership component of the program with the focus to assist parents in areas of childcare, adult education, and health. She planned workshops and trainings for  parents, (Arts & Craft, CPR/First Aid), worked in partnership with outside agencies, (Union Settlement Asthma  Initiative, Northern Manhattan Perinatal Care, Optical Academy, Heathy Smiles), for the delivery of services to  children and their families, review all children’s records to make certain all physical and immunizations were up-to date, monitored the enrollment of children into the program and completed the enrollment package for Head Start  families as well as the Child Care package for those families who did not qualify for Head Start but required child  care services. 

MICHAEL A. BRYANT

Director of Finance and Facilities

Michael is a finance executive with 25 years of combined experience in for profit (18) and not-for-profit (7) organizations. In addition, he has an extensive background in financial planning, budgeting, accounting, and corporate finance. He also has a track record of budget optimization, while consistently achieving financial performance goals. He has been recognized as a hands-on, expert problem solver who can rapidly resolve business process problems, formulate strategic plans, and implement change management.

Michael’s educational background includes a B.A., Accounting, Cum Laude, from Morehouse College, and an MBA, Finance and Multinational Business Management, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

 

Michael has served on the Board of Directors for several not for profit, community-based organizations: Harlem-Dowling Westside Center, Abyssinian Development Corporation and the 163rd Street Improvement Council.

 

Michael is an active member of the Alpha Gamma Lambda Chapter, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated and the Morehouse College National Alumni Association.

GINGER WILLIAMS COLLINS

Family Child Care Network Director

Ginger Williams-Collins serves oversees the Family Child Care program, assisting families in applying for the NYS Child Care Subsidy, supporting staff with coaching Child Care Providers so they can provide developmentally sound activities, encourage nurturing interactions and to adhere to the Department of Health safety guidelines.

Mrs. Williams-Collins was born and raised in Harlem and has roots in the Head Start Community. She is a Head Start graduate, Head Start parent, and attended NYC Public schools. She started her teaching career in 1995 as a Lead Teacher with the West Harlem Head Start Preschool Program. She operated as Lead Teach for 7 years guiding and supervising classroom teachers, supporting young children’s development, providing training and workshops for families, and supporting the early intervention process. Mrs. Williams-Collins passion for working with children and families individually pushed her in the direction to become an Education Director. She worked as an Education Director for over 10 years, assisting and guiding teachers with lesson planning, curriculum instruction and developmentally appropriate practices.

Mrs. Williams-Collins graduated from the University of Idaho with a Bachelor of Science in Family Child and Consumer Studies. After completing her undergraduate degree, she took classes at City College of New York majoring in Teaching Students with Disabilities. The degree and classes helped kickstart her career as a classroom teacher. She later went on to obtain her MS. Ed in Early Childhood Education from Concordia University.

ELIANA MIMS

Director of Education and Disabilities

Eliana began her career in Education as early as High School. She knew that education was her passion. Eliana obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at The College of New Rochelle. She completed her Masters's Degree in Early Childhood and Special Education as well as her certification from New York State from Birth to Second Grade as well as her Special Education certificate.

Eliana gained leadership, organizational and budgeting skills through her years as an Education Director. She then became the Director of Educational Services in a Head Start program, where she wore many hats. She oversaw the educational component and family engagement.

Currently, Eliana is the Director of Education and Disabilities at West Harlem Head Start. She is able to work in collaboration with team members through clear communication around all program aspects.

 

Eliana is in charge of the day-to-day educational aspect of the classrooms. She ensures that education activities are being completed as well as the children are meeting those important milestones in early childhood education.

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TIFFANI CRUM

Education Director

Tiffani is a native New Yorker whose passion lies in cultivating inclusive and enriching learning environments. Armed with a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from the esteemed Bank Street Graduate School of Education, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her role. Tiffani holds a New York State Teaching Certification in Birth To Second Grade, reflecting her commitment to high standards of education.

Tiffani's career journey is a testament to her belief in the power of education to transform lives. Starting as a dedicated infant, toddler, and preschool teacher, she honed her skills in creating personalized learning environments tailored to the unique needs of each child. This hands-on experience not only deepened her understanding of early childhood development but also instilled in her a profound appreciation for the importance of strong family partnerships.

Transitioning into leadership roles such as Site and Education Director, Tiffani has excelled in fostering innovation and excellence in early childhood education. Her leadership style is characterized by a blend of visionary thinking, empathy, and a commitment to collaboration.  Tiffani has left an indelible mark, inspiring both educators and families alike through her mentorship and guidance.

In her role as Education Director at West Harlem Head Start and Childcare Network, Tiffani continues to champion the values of inclusivity, quality, and lifelong learning, shaping the future of education one child at a time.

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