On July 16, 2014, just days after completing the UCLA/Johnson & Johnson Head Start Management Fellows Program at UCLA Anderson, Jennifer Amaya-Thompson put her new skills to use during a special visit to the White House. Amaya-Thompson was among roughly 170 policymakers, faith leaders, elected officials, researchers and business representatives from across the country invited to share best practices at the first-ever White House National Convening on Immigrant and Refugee Integration.
During her trip to the White House, she helped brainstorm new strategies to enhance local, regional and national programs that ensure immigrants are fully participating in and contributing to American society. In her role as Head Start State Collaboration Office Director for the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, Amaya-Thompson works to improve quality early education for the state’s young immigrant and refugee children and to enhance support services for their families.
The UCLA/Johnson & Johnson Head Start Management Fellows Program not only helped prepare Amaya-Thompson for her meeting at the White House, it also better equipped her for her other role, overseeing Massachusetts’s Dual Language Learners School Readiness initiative. As part of the Fellows program, students had to develop a Management Improvement Plan. Amaya-Thompson’s MIP focused on implementing a systemic, statewide approach in Massachusetts that provides professional development to educators to better meet the needs of dual-language learners ages 2.5 to 5.5 and support their families.
“With the support of this fellowship, its coursework and network, I feel confident in my ability to grow the initiative into a sustainable and replicable one that can serve as a national model for years to come,” Amaya-Thompson says, adding that the program provided her additional skills in strategic planning, financial management, management effectiveness and understanding data for school readiness. “I look forward to using what I learned to continue being an architect of change.”
To learn more about the UCLA/Johnson & Johnson Head Start Management Fellows Program, visit the program website.