Advisory Minutes

NeHSA meeting minutes

August 10, 2022


Attending: Deb Ross, Erika Fink, Steph Knust, Kathleen Riley, Carie Jo Ahlgrim, Kristie Fagan, Mustafaa El-Scari , Angie Antholz, Jill Bomberger, Niki Gemar, Donna Veatch, Cheryl Denner  Lisa Giboney,  Shelby Sattman, Paula Thompson, Mary Lariviere, Bethanie Grass, Clarence Small, Juliana Beck, Megan Kvols,  Justine Bochart and Christie Ferrence


Introduction and Welcome of the new Executive Director-Megan Kvols

Regional Office Reports/Updates-Clarence Small

  • Welcome to Megan.
  • Good meeting in Washington DC. We have a good understanding of direction and where we are heading. We are gearing up for the full enrollment initiative. OHS is aware of the challenges but congress will continue to ask questions and want answers. Ultimately, OHS is still accountable for the funds going out. In Region VII, please do not panic, just do the best you can to keep classrooms full, staff well, adhere to health guidelines and most importantly keep communicating with your specialist.
  • There will be a webinar in the next couple of weeks about the survey that will be coming out. The survey will go to select program participants.
  • They are working to get COLA out to programs as quickly as possible.
  • There will be changes to the monitoring system. A webinar will be coming out for the FY 2022-23 process. Please be patient as we go through this new process. Once you receive your letter with dates, we will not change anything unless there is a related death.
  • Reductions and conversions to your program will be handled with your program specialist.
  • Clarence encouraged everyone to talk to legislators, make sure they know what you do. Head Start still has an image issue, make sure they understand all of the comprehensive services that you provide.


Region VII T/TA Report/Updates – Bethanie Grass  (see report)

  • Introduced Region VII Health Specialist, Shelby Sattman, (


Region VII Association & NHSA Report/Updates-Donna Veatch (see report)

  • Recognized the Nebraska Board members: Christie Ference, Deb Ross, Arizona Brooks and Steph Knust. Donna also thanked Niki for her work keeping everyone informed and updated.
  • Regional winners have been announced and will be recognized. Three Scholarship winners from Nebraska. Teacher of the Year-Cindy Nathlich-Gerdes-Sarpy County/ESU #3 (corrected); Head Start Parent Post-Secondary Education-Michelle Callahan, Head Start Child and Development Program; Head Start Staff-Higher Education Award-Aime Gonzalez, Head Start Child and Development Program.
  • Head Start Sandbox magazine is one way to get our information out there. Share with legislators and other key stakeholders. Shout out to Jody Kinneman from Hastings who submitted an article for the Sandbox magazine. They are looking for state ambassadors to promote the magazine.
  • Region VII Conference will be in person on October 21-27. Go on website to register. Proposals have closed but if you still have an idea let Donna know and she can get you a form. “The Path Forward” is the theme for the conference. Sheraton Hotel, Overland Park, Kansas.
  • Intensive training session coming up- Systematic Approach in regards to ERSEA. Flyer is attached to the reports for more information.
  • NHSA-Kimberley Zill from Kansas was elected to the National Board. Tiffaney Shoner from Nebraska agreed to submit her program for a conversation at the National level.
  • Donna was in Washington DC and went to a renewal summit. Head Start is definitely under the magnifying glass and there were some reflective conversations focusing on solutions.
  • Academy information- see report

HSSCO Report/Update-Steph Knust (see report)

  • Office of Early Childhood- RESPECT grant and Pre-K-2 grants were on the board agenda and were both approved.
  • Collab office grant is due October 31st. Steph may be asking for help gathering information to be included in the new grant.
  • Make sure you are a subscriber for the Preschool Post;
  • The “Results Matter” document has been updated and is now available.
  • Alyssa Anson is moving to a different position. There will be a transition to new GOLD contact and Education Specialist responsibilities.
  • Definition of Quality-survey has been put out to providers and families.
  • Child Care Referral Network: Head Start data/Child Care licensed programs have been integrated onto website. There is still work to be done on making the HS information more valuable/relevant.


Introductions from and for the NDE-Office of Early Childhood (OEC): Kristine Luebbe, Director of Programs and Partnerships. Kim Texel, Education Specialist. Tracy Went, Coach Collaboration Specialist. Melody Hobsen, Early Childhood Administrator; Not in attendance: Carol Burke, Education Specialist. New “District Support Plans” are going out by August 15th, they will offer a more systemized way of supporting school districts. Prek-2nd PD Specialist, two year grants for five ESU’s were awarded to six ESU’s. Focusing on the Prek-2 educators. NDE will be implementing a new email system for GOLD  questions/concerns ( PDG group has a family engagement group with an opportunity for families to join. Melody invited people to attend the State Board meetings on the first Friday of each month. There is still a lot of pandemic money available, they are having conversations about how/where the money will be distributed. The links to the state reports are in Steph’s reports.

NeHSA new Directors introduced themselves to NDE staff: Niki Gemar, Megan Kvols, Kristen Fagan, Justine Bochart

Buffet Workforce Data: Alexandra Daro  ( ), research specialist for Buffet Institute shared information related to the ACF letter that came out regarding Workforce issues. In the past, they have used information from childcare providers and have missed the Head Start workforce. The institute is interested in hearing from Head Start. Buffet is willing to share data while still insuring confidential information is not shared.

  • Collection of information from the Head Start community
  • Focus groups planned for providers, may include some folks from Head Start;
  • Surveys may also be utilized
  • Some ideas that were shared with Alexandra as Head Start workforce issues: required training opportunities; Insurance/benefits; pay parody; qualifications; pathways; requirements before hiring; use of substitutes;

NeHSA Chair Report/Update– Niki Gemar (see report)

  • Fall Conference in DC
  • Thriving Children Conference
  • UNK Annual EC Conference
  • Region VII Conference
  • Urgency to spend COVID funds-possibly giving temporary funds to staff. Lisa shared that they will be giving “retention” bonuses to staff.
  • NeHSA signed letter regarding COVID.
  • Suicide Prevention number has changed, make sure to inform your staff. There is a recorded webinar that is available, see Steph’s report for the link.
  • CFS (formerly CPS) eliminated priority 3, leaving priority #1. Within 24 hours and #2. Within five days.
  • Five companies bidding for Medicaid. Still waiting to hear. They are increasing compensation to 10% but dental providers are reporting that the paperwork is challenging.

NeHSA Executive Director Report-Megan

  • Megan shared the priorities that she took away from the Summit. She was able to see that every association is different and has unique needs.
  • On-line event registration platform. Megan has been exploring some different options and she shared that Eventbrite seem to be the best fit for what the Association needs.
  • Megan is working on setting up a Facebook page for the Association.

Committee Break-outs-/Lunch

Committee Reports/Updates


Advocacy Report-No report


Training PD Report

  • HOVERS: The trainer can have up to 40 people in a session. The cost for trainer is $2,800 plus travel/lodging etc.. She has these dates open: November 3, 9, 10, 11, 17 or December 2, 9. Sixpence is already interested (16 people) in this training. We might need to offer two events. If this is the case, the best dates would be November 9/10. HSCCO could provide $3,000. Hastings  is able to host the events on the November dates. We discussed using the new EventBrite registration system to manage registration for these events.
  • The PD committee will meet on August 18, 3:00 to discuss this further after more information is gathered.
  • Early Childhood Mental Health Endorsement: HSSCO could possibly support this with grant funds for next year.
  • Annual Report: Scholarship Winners, Networking Sessions, Emotional Poverty/CLASS Summit
  • Training Ideas-no other ideas were discussed at this time but the following list was created for possible subjects to offer during the year:

Bridges out of Poverty,  Emotional

Poverty, Emotional Poverty 2

CLASS Summit

Conscious Discipline

Dan St. Romain

CLASS-2nd edition changes

Jim. Cain-Team Building

Membership Report-no report

Next meeting: October 12th, 9-12 in person in Hastings


ADJOURNED  at 12:42