More than 350 Head Start and Early Head Start professionals and parents will gather at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Goat Island in Newport this week (April 12th – 14th) for The New England Head Start Association’s (NEHSA) annual conference, “Crossing the Bridge to Wellness Through Data and Practice”.

The conference is the largest gathering of Head Start staff, parents and partners in New England and features presenters who are nationally recognized experts in the field of early learning as well as regional and national policy influencers. The Association’s mission is to unite and support New England programs as leaders in early education.

Among those set to speak are Newport Mayor Jeanne Napolitano; RI Department of Education Commissioner Ken Wagner; Dr. Blanca Enriquez, Director of the Office of Head Start, Administration for Children and Families; Dr. Ailis Clyne, Medical Director, Division of Community Health and Equity, RI Department of Health and Elizabeth Burke Bryant, Executive Director, RI Kids Count – Champion of Head Start Children Award Winner.

NEHSA will also honor Elizabeth Burke Bryant, Executive Director of RI Kids Count with the Champion of Head Start Children Award, which is presented to individuals from the six New England states who make valuable contributions to the lives of children and families every day.

Meeting Street’s well-regarded program is a home-based Early Head Start program which is funded to serve 72 families in the Providence area. Program director Evangeline Brennan, is part of the planning committee for this year’s event.

For more information on the conference, visit http://www.nehsaconference.org.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).