Awards And Scholarships

Awards And Scholarships

The Minnesota Head Start Association (MHSA) recognizes deserving individuals for exceptional growth and service to Head Start in Minnesota.

MHSA promotes all opportunities to nominate these deserving individuals for recognition whenever possible. 

Mhsa Head Start Heroes

MHSA sponsors a recognition program each year that honors members of the Minnesota Head Start community who overcame tremendous challenges and achieved personal and family success. These children, families, alumni and staff members have been selected by the MHSA  Scholarships and Awards Committee based on compelling, personal testimonies about their Head Start experience and how they were able to transform their lives. The Head Start Heroes epitomize how determination, fortitude and access to early learning and whole-family approaches can pave the way to lifelong success. 

Head Start Hero’s categories are:
1. Staff Member

That is a Head Start alumni (parent/guardian or child) who has become involved in their local program as a staff member of some type, and demonstrates a passion for serving through advocacy, career growth, or being involved in Head Start, the community, or the state/national level that benefits Head Start families.

3. Child Success

A currently enrolled Head Start or Early Head Start child who has made tremendous developmental progress while enrolled in a Head Start / Early Head Start program.

5. Parent Scholarship

Person that is a Head Start child alumni or current/past parent that is going on to achieve their educational goals by attending an institution of higher education.  This award has a $750 monetary scholarship to be paid to the recipient’s educational institution.

2. Family Success


A Head Start family who has made significant life changes within the past 12 months and is currently enrolled in a Head Start or Early Head Start program or is serving on a Policy Council.

4. Local Advocate

A Head Start alumni (parent/guardian or child) who has demonstrated advocacy by becoming involved in their local program or community, such as Policy Council, their agency’s governing body (Board of Directors), a parent committee/board at their public / private school, leadership in a local organization, etc.

6. High School Senior Scholarship

A Head Start child alumni that is a high school senior and is going on to achieve their educational goals by attending an institution of higher education.  This award has a $750 monetary scholarship to be paid to the recipient’s educational institution.

The Aubrey D Puckett Memorial Award

In memory of our colleague, leader and Head Start champion, Aubrey Della Puckett (1951-2014). Aubrey Puckett’s passion was connecting with and advocating for disadvantaged families and their young children. In that spirit, MHSA raised over $10,000 to support the National Head Start Association’s National Aubrey D. Puckett Memorial Award.

This award will recognize an outstanding Head Start Alumni (parent or child) currently employed by a Head Start or Early Head Start program who has demonstrated their passion for serving through advocacy, career growth or community involvement at the local, state and/or national level to the benefit of Head Start families.

Read Full Bio

Aubrey Della Puckett began her journey with Head Start as a parent, volunteering in the classroom and on the Head Start bus. Aubrey’s enthusiasm and her love for children were soon recognized by her colleagues, and she joined the staff of Parents In Community Action, Inc. (PICA) as a Teacher Aide in 1988. Aubrey began working on her Child Development Associate Credential and rose quickly through the ranks at PICA, advancing through a variety of positions, including Head Teacher, various administrative positions, and Director of Parent and Community Relations, in which capacity she served as a liaison between PICA and the local community and also supervised PICA’s Cross Cultural Team charged with ensuring that PICA Head Start’s programming and service delivery reflect the diversity of the children and families served. Most recently, Aubrey served as PICA’s Director of Human Resources, assisting the agency in securing and retaining its diverse, highly committed staff.

Aubrey’s true passion for working on behalf of young children was apparent in all that she accomplished during her lifetime. Politically astute, Aubrey lent her expertise to, and spent countless hours working with, the Minnesota State Legislature and the United States Congress on legislative and funding issues involving Head Start. She served as President of the Minnesota Head Start Association, on the Region V Board and the National Head Start Association Board of Directors. Aubrey took a leadership role in support of the NAACP’s efforts to improve educational services for students of color attending the Minneapolis Public Schools. Her ability to advocate on behalf of low-income children also helped to birth “The Choice Is Yours” program, which provides urban children access to high performing urban and suburban schools complete with transportation.

In 2003, Aubrey became a Management Fellow of the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, an accomplishment of high honor. Through her accomplishments and her ability to connect with Head Start parents, community representatives, and legislators Aubrey willingly told her story which inspired many. Knowing first hand the positive impact that Head Start can have on the lives of children and families, she also challenged others to stretch themselves, to act upon their beliefs, and to advocate on behalf of our most vulnerable citizens-those who cannot advocate for themselves. Her listening ear, open heart and compassion for others will always be remembered. Aubrey’s unwavering dedication to advocacy on behalf of low-income children and families continues to serve as a model for Head Start staff and parents nationwide.

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