What is the Nebraska Early Childhood Policy Leadership Academy?

Now entering its fourth year, the Policy Leadership Academy is the state’s premier, non-partisan leadership development program focused on empowering citizen-advocates to contribute information and insight so the policymaking process at all levels of government will benefit young children and create social, educational and economic opportunity for all Nebraskans.

Participants in the 2022-2023 Academy will:

  • Learn how to analyze local early childhood infrastructure and how it connects to their community’s broader social, educational and economic profile
  • Acquire in ‘insider’ understanding of the policymaking process in state and local government from current and former elected officials, and other specialists in government affairs
  • Identify and mobilize local resources and contacts to build political momentum for early childhood issues at the grassroots and grasstops levels
  • Position themselves as  credible sources of information and insight to elected officials who develop and/or implement public policy
  • Become regularly and actively involved in a statewide network of current PLA members and alumni
Executive Director, Megan Kvols graduated from the 2022-2023 PLA Academy
Executive Director, Megan Kvols graduated from the 2022-2023 PLA Academy
Hill Visit

NeHSA presence in Nebraska leads to an increased understanding of the long-term positive impact of Head Start programs and services on children, families, and communities.

The Nebraska Head Start team visits the hill to help educate our congress members during the Fall Leadership conference held September 24, through the 27th. Our team consisted of 10 Head Start Staff from 5 dif­ferent programs across our state. We had the opportunity to make visits to all 5 represen­tatives either in person or via zoom. Each program shared their stories that addressed workforce concerns, COLA and the need to match the inflation rates, the FY 2023 Appro­priations bills and ask for their continued support moving forward. Each representa­tive received the handout on the Nebraska 2022 Head Start Early Head Start Profile, An Overview of Head Start & Early Head Start, FY23 Recommendation Document, Head Start Workforce Report and NHSA FY23 Conference Letter

The total impact of NHSA Head Start & Early Head Start on the hills is as follows: We worked with 52 State Captains/State Leads in 38 States. We had over 136 Hill meetings with at least 20 meet­ings directly with the Congressmembers that all seemed to go very well! We had 17 members of Congress attend and give remarks at the Head Start Hill Rally. 12 Representatives and 5 Senators.


Niki Gemar (Head Start C&FDP, Inc.), Christie Ference (Central Nebraska Community Action Partnership) and Alison Klein (Saunders County Head Start) are participants and Tiffany Shonerd was a previous participant and now is a facilitator.

Nebraska’s NAESP PreK-3 Leadership Academy is an opportunity for Nebraska elementary principals, instructional leaders, Head Start and community child care providers to take part in a year-long professional learning and resource program to better develop their knowledge and skills for leading and directing programs for children age three to eight.

Participants will engage in a blended professional learning environment that includes 3 in-person and/or virtual meetings, online coursework, and collaboration with peers through online discussions and Zoom meetings while working through Leading Learning Communities: A Principal’s Guide to Early Learning and the Early Grades (Pre-K-3rd Grade).