Head Start Director

Last Updated:
September 19, 2023

Job Description Overview

As a Head Start Director, you are responsible for overseeing and managing the daily operations of a Head Start program. This includes supervising staff, developing policies and procedures, and ensuring compliance with all federal and state regulations. You will work closely with parents and community stakeholders to ensure that the program's goals and objectives are met.

As part of your job, you will be responsible for developing and implementing a curriculum that supports children's growth and development. You will coordinate with teachers, social workers, and other professionals to provide a comprehensive educational experience for young children.

To be successful in this role, you should have a deep understanding of early childhood education and be able to work well in a team environment. You should also have excellent communication and leadership skills, as well as a passion for helping children and families.

If you're interested in a Head Start Director job description, then you should have a bachelor's degree in early childhood education or a related field, as well as several years of experience working with young children in a leadership role. You should also be familiar with federal and state regulations related to Head Start programs.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Oversee and manage all aspects of the Head Start program, including financial management, personnel, program operations, and parent engagement.
  • Develop and implement policies, procedures, and regulations in compliance with federal and state regulations.
  • Lead and supervise a team of teachers and staff to ensure quality education and services are provided to all children and their families.
  • Build relationships with community partners to support program goals and objectives.
  • Monitor and evaluate program effectiveness and make adjustments as necessary to improve outcomes for children and families.
  • Maintain communication with parents and families, serving as a resource for their needs and concerns.
  • Ensure all program reporting requirements are met in a timely and accurate manner.
  • Develop and manage program budgets, ensuring program sustainability and financial stability.
  • Attend and participate in training, conferences, and other professional development opportunities to stay current on Head Start policies, procedures, and best practices.

Experience and Education Requirements

To become a Head Start Director in the Education industry, you would usually need to have some experience working with children and a degree in a related field. Most employers require a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education or a related field, along with experience working in a preschool or daycare setting. Experience in management or administration is also usually required, and some positions may require a Master's degree. In addition to education and experience, a Head Start Director must be knowledgeable about child development, curriculum development, budgeting, staff management, and community outreach. Strong communication skills and a passion for working with children are also essential.

Salary Range

A Head Start Director in the Education Industry can expect to make a salary range of $50,000 to $100,000 in the United States. The average salary for this position is around $70,000 annually. However, experience and location can impact the salary range. For example, in New York City, the salary range can go up to $120,000 annually. 

Internationally, a Head Start Director in Canada can expect to earn an average salary of CAD 75,000 while in the United Kingdom, the average salary is around £38,000. 

It's important to note that salaries may also vary according to the size of the Head Start program and funding available. However, this position is highly sought after in the Education industry.


  • indeed.com/salaries/Head-Start-Director-Salaries
  • salary.com/research/salary/benchmark/head-start-director-salary 
  • glassdoor.com/Salaries/head-start-director-salary-SRCH_KO0,19.htm

Career Outlook

The career outlook for a Head Start Director in the education industry over the next 5 years looks promising. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of preschool and childcare center directors is projected to grow 11 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. This is due to the increasing demand for early childhood education programs, including Head Start programs. 

Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of quality early childhood education, which has led to increased government funding for these programs. This, in turn, increases the demand for qualified Head Start Directors. 

In conclusion, the career outlook for a Head Start Director in the education industry is growing and offers a potential for career growth and stability. As our society continues to prioritize early childhood education, the need for Head Start programs will only continue to increase. 

Source: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/preschool-and-childcare-center-directors.htm

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What exactly does a Head Start Director do?

A: A Head Start Director is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of a Head Start program, ensuring it complies with federal regulations, and managing the program's budget.

Q: What qualifications are required to become a Head Start Director?

A: Generally, a Bachelor's or Master's degree in early childhood education or a related field is required, along with several years of experience working in early childhood education.

Q: What skills are necessary to be an effective Head Start Director?

A: A Head Start Director should possess strong communication and leadership skills, as well as the ability to manage budgets and implement policies and procedures.

Q: What are some of the challenges faced by a Head Start Director?

A: One of the biggest challenges is ensuring compliance with federal regulations and maintaining program funding. Additionally, managing staff and providing quality services to families can be difficult.

Q: What is the job outlook for Head Start Directors?

A: The demand for Head Start Directors is expected to continue to grow, as the importance of early childhood education has become more widely recognized.

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