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

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.