The University of Massachusetts Amherst

UMass Donahue Institute

Head Start National Center on Program Management & Fiscal Operations

Staff: Head Start National Center on Program Management & Fiscal Operations

Staff listing for the Head Start National Center on Program Management & Fiscal Operations.

Yasmine Daniel Vargas

Director, Head Start National Center on Program Management & Fiscal Operations

Yasmine Daniel Vargas

Yasmine Daniel Vargas previously worked for FHI 360 managing the Head Start Training and Technical Assistance Center for American Indian and Alaska Native programs. With a rich career in early childhood, she also worked with Marion Wright Edelman for the National Children’s Defense Fund as director of the Early Childhood Development Division.

Ms. Vargas received a master’s of public administration from Drake University and a bachelor’s of arts from Rutgers University.

(732) 991-2613

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Tim Adams

Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships T/TA Specialist (ZERO TO THREE)

Tim Adams

Prior to joining PMFO, Tim Adams was a Senior Technical Assistance Specialist for the National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance (NCECQA). He was also a member of the Office of Head Start (OHS) Integrated Service Team (IST), brokering professional development for the OHS Regional Offices on behalf of the national centers. Prior to working with NCECQA, Mr. Adams was an early childhood specialist for the Head Start Training and Technical Assistance Center. He has held a variety of other positions such as ECE teacher, curriculum specialist and director of multiple types of programs, including Head Start, Smart Start, faith-based, for-profit and non-profit child care. Mr. Adams was also a child care licensing specialist with the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services and has served as an adjunct instructor at a community college. 

Tim has a bachelor's in early childhood education. Mr. Adams is scheduled to complete his master's organizational leadership with a specialization in strategic innovation and change management by September 2020.

(202) 857-2674

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Jeanette Boom

Director, Management Development Programs

Jeanette Boom (UCLA)

Since 2002, Jeanette Boom has experience in developing custom leadership and management training programs designed to strengthen the managerial capacity of non-profit executives whose agencies provide health and human services and early childhood education to low-income children and families nationally and internationally. These programs include the UCLA Head Start Management Fellows Program, the UCLA-PMFO New Directors Mentor Initiative, the UCLA Health Care Institute, the UCLA/Johnson & Johnson Health Care Executive Program, the UCLA/Johnson & Johnson Management Development Institute for Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Management Development Program for Early Childhood Educators.  Jeanette is also a coach for NIKE Starting Block for Head Start, a management program for Head Start leaders.

Ms. Boom earned a bachelor's of science degree in biology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

(310) 825-6306

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Jacqueline Davis

Professional Development Manager/Program Management & Governance Specialist (FHI 360)

Jacqueline Davis (FHI 360)

Jacqueline Davis brings years of experience as a director, project manager and training, and technical assistance specialist for early care and education. Ms. Davis assumed a lead role in developing and publishing a suite of products for emerging leaders in early childhood as well as a series of interactive homelessness lessons for staff who work with families. Recognition by the California State Senate, the City of Los Angeles and Administration for Children and Families Assistant Secretary’s Partnering for Excellence emphasize her passion for building partnerships and collaborating across organizations. Ms. Davis’s work took her to the Outer Pacific regions including Guam, Saipan, Yap, the Marshall Islands, Palau, and Pohnpei where she had the opportunity to work with programs to support their growth specifically focused on family and community engagement.

She earned a master’s in public administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills and a bachelor’s of science from Louisiana State University.

(323) 573-3322

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Shandra Davis

Fiscal Specialist

Shandra Davis

Shandra Davis has more than 10 years of experience in managing grants and overseeing the fiscal operations of Head Start/Early Head Start programs. She has substantial expertise in grants and program management, federal monitoring and compliance, financial analysis, and training and technical assistance for children and families. Prior to joining PMFO, Mrs. Davis participated in the development and implementation of the Head Start Federal Monitoring Protocols as well as mastered the ability to conduct virtual monitoring reviews due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She is also an active member of the National Grants Management Association.

 Mrs. Davis holds a master's in public administration and a bachelor's of science in network & communications management. 

(470) 679-8772

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Pamela Dion

Finance and Administration Manager

Pamela Dion

Pamela Dion is experienced in the areas of finance, accounting, auditing, payroll while working in such varying industries as non-profit, retail, and construction. Her professional career has included seven years at each at The American Red Cross as the Director of Finance and Conservation Services Group as an Internal Auditor and Accountant. 

Ms. Dion has a bachelor’s of science in business administration from Nichols College.

(774) 455-7380

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Louise Eldridge

Program Management & Governance Specialist

Louise Eldridge

Louise Eldridge served as the Regional Program Manager for the Region 1 (New England) Office of Head Start for nearly 20 years. Previous positions in her 35-year federal career at the Administration for Children and Families, USDHHS and the US Department of Agriculture included management responsibility for the Child Welfare, Child Care and Food Stamp Programs. 

Ms. Eldridge earned a master’s of science in management from Lesley University and a bachelor’s of arts from Clark University.

(603) 673-8453

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Vernex Harding

Early Childhood Specialist

Vernex Harding

Vernex Harding has 28 years of education industry experience spanning public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. Ms. Harding most recently served as a program director for Head Start, and an Early Head Start, Early Head Start partnership agency, where she had the largest fiscal responsibility within the agency and provided direct program oversight to approximately 2,000 Head Start children and their families. Other leadership positions in education included an executive director for a non-profit Head Start/Early Head Start, director of a for-profit childcare agency, elementary school assistant principal, assistant director of early childhood education, director of early learning and school-age programs, education consultant, and COVID-19 team supervisor. 

Ms. Harding received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Stony Brook University and master's degrees in early childhood education and school administration & supervision both from The City College of New York. 

(914) 357-9176

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Elsa Hernandez

Program Management & Governance Specialist

Elsa M. Hernández has served Head Start and Early Head Start since 2003. She began as an assistant center director and later the executive director responsible for 1,600 children. As an Office of Head Start Monitoring Team Lead, she organized and led all phases of the monitoring review process for four years according to the OHS monitoring system and Head Start Program Performance Standards. She has been sharing her knowledge with the grantees and federal staff at Head Start regional level providing training and technical assistance as a  grantee specialist for the past five years. In her new role, she will provide expertise in the areas of governance and program management. 

Ms. Hernández possesses a bachelor's degree from CUNY-College of Staten Island and a master's of business administration from American Intercontinental University.

(305) 465-1628

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Nicole Holman-Alexander

Team Leader, Governance & Program Management

Nicole Holman-Alexander

Nicole Holman-Alexander has over 20 years of experience in human services and early childhood programming as a director, manager and training and technical assistance provider. She has extensive knowledge and expertise in the Head Start management systems and services. Previously, Nicole served as the grantee specialist manager for the Region VI Head Start Training and Technical Assistance Network, where she led, coordinated and provided training and technical assistance to grantees throughout the region to support compliance, continuous improvement and professional development.

Nicole holds a master's of science in family relations and child development from Oklahoma State University and a bachelor's of science in psychology from the University of Central Missouri.

(918) 218-7176

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Elena Langdon

Webinar & Event Producer

Elena Langdon has over 20 years experience as a Portuguese-English translator and interpreter, and has been teaching adults in professional development programs and university-level courses since 2005. She has produced events for professional associations, universities, and video/TV outlets.

She has a masters in translation studies from UMass Amherst and a bachelor's in journalism and political science from Indiana University Bloomington.

(413) 345-0624

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Lisa Lanting

Instructional Designer

(413) 345-8514

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Jennifer Luba

Project Coordinator

Jennifer Luba

Jenn Luba previously worked within athletic administration at the collegiate level, where she had various financial, operational and administrative tasks. Her efforts were strongly focused on budget management and ensured that all financial goals were met and maintained. Jenn also served as a liaison between members of the university and its key stakeholders.

She earned her bachelor's and master's of science in business administration from Western New England University’s School of Business.

(413) 270-6644

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William Maes

Fiscal Specialist

William Maes

William Maes is an accomplished teacher and educational leader with more than forty years of experience working at all levels of PreK through 12 instruction with a primary focus on developing quality learning environments for all children. He is a curriculum and instruction specialist regarding Head Start and Early Head Start learning with an in-depth knowledge of budget and fiscal management methods that produce efficient, effective and quality services for children and families in the communities which serve Head Start families and children.

Mr. Maes holds a master's of arts in educations with a focus on curriculum, instruction and administration as well as a master's of education in early childhood education.

(505) 639-3818

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John Mathews

Facilities Specialist

John Mathews

John Mathews, P.E., has over 45 years of experience managing and directing over $5 billion in project development, design and construction management of capital projects for both public and private sectors for architectural engineering and consulting firms, a large regulated utility company, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Naval Facilities Engineering Command. He managed project management professionals, architects and engineers, planners, and contractors/construction managers in the planning, design, estimating, construction, start-up and commissioning of significant private and public sector projects, most recently in Education. 

He earned a bachelor’s of science degree in civil engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and a master’s in public administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is also a registered professional engineer in Massachusetts.

(413) 335-0701

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Mark Mazon

Fiscal Specialist

Mark Mazon

Mark Mazon has over 30 years of experience serving in various leadership positions in local government and the nonprofit sector.  His city management experience included oversight in the areas of court administration, human services administration, human resources, budget, finance and audit. Mark also served as president & CEO of one of the longest-standing nonprofit organizations in Arizona offering services in charter school education and workforce development.  As an executive coach, Mark worked with nonprofits on leadership development, board governance and fiscal management oversight.

Mark holds a master’s degree in public administration and bachelor’s degree in business administration, both from Arizona State University. 

(520) 429-4411

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Charles McQuillen

Product Development Manager

Charles McQuillen

Charles McQuillen began his career in education teaching in a Yupik village on Alaska’s Yukon Delta. For over 20 years Mr. McQuillen has worked in the educational publishing industry developing and promoting a range of literacy curricula that make best practices accessible and scalable.

Dr. McQuillen earned a doctorate in education at Boston College and a master’s in fine arts from the Museum School of Fine Arts.

(508) 653-9088

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Robert E. Pfeffer

Fiscal Consultant Initiative Coordinator/Fiscal, Program Management & Governance Specialist (FHI 360)

Robert E. Pfeffer (FHI 360)

Robert Edward Pfeffer is a former Grantee Specialist for the Head Start Training and Technical Assistance Center for American Indian and Alaska Native programs. Mr. Pfeffer is also a former Head Start, childcare, and after-school director of twelve years in upstate New York. He also served as a steering committee member on the Tribal Early Childhood Research Center at the University of Colorado Denver, regional alternate for the National Indian Head Start Directors Association board, and participated in various research projects and consultations within Head Start.

Mr. Pfeffer holds a master’s in English and a bachelor’s in education from the State University of New York at Fredonia. Currently, he is pursuing his MBA at St. Bonaventure University.

(716) 712-6696

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Arnold Ramirez

Assistant Director & Fiscal Team Lead (FHI 360)

Arnold Ramirez (FHI 360)

Arnold Ramirez has over 37 years of Head Start experience at the local, state, regional, and national levels in grants management/administration, contract negotiations, community partnerships, governance, fiscal management, program planning/development, and human resource management. Mr. Ramirez has worked with Head Start Program Performance Standards from a service delivery standpoint, as a technical assistance provider, and an advocate for change. He has directly operated programs and assisted agencies in meeting both program and fiscal compliance standard requirements.

Mr. Ramirez received a master's of public administration and a bachelor's of arts, both from Arizona State University.

(602) 390-6826

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Abigail Wendell

Senior Graphic Designer

Abigail Wendell

Abigail Wendell was previously a graphic designer for the Office of Head Start (OHS) National Center for Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness. She also previously served as a consultant for the Open Society Foundation designing curriculum manuals for Liberia and Bangladesh. Ms. Wendell has worked for numerous educational and non-profit organizations as a designer including Bank Street College, Dartmouth Medical School, American Breast Cancer Society, and the University of Pennsylvania.

She earned her bachelor's in political science and international studies from Wheaton College and completed further coursework in design and early childhood studies at Keene State College, NH, University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, and Bank Street College graduate school.

(646) 866-3527

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Natalie Williams

Fiscal Specialist (FHI 360)

Natalie Williams

Natalie Williams's key focal areas are fiscal operations and organizational management. She monitors and interprets grant budget data and prepares financial projections within Head Start and Early Head Start. Natalie is a leader in developing comprehensive management systems to support compliance under 45 CFR Part 75 including facilities, nonfederal share, and the Uniform Guidance 200 CFR. Before joining the team at NCPMFO, Natalie was Fiscal Lead for the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Region XII Training & Technical Assistance Network since 2018. Prior to 2018, Natalie was the Chief Financial Officer for Washington County Economic Opportunity Council, a Community Action Program that operates a Head Start and Early Head Start program in Region II. 

Ms. Williams received her bachelor's degree from Skidmore College.

(518) 321-5321

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John R. Williams, II

Assistant Director

John R. Williams, II

John Williams previously worked for the Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) as a Senior Training and Technical Assistance Associate. Mr. Wiliams has also been active in early childhood systems building as a senior consultant with Development Communications Associates, Inc. and as a program director with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. 

Mr. Williams received a master’s of public administration from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University.

(818) 309-8029

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Brittany Wolcott

Coordinator, Fiscal Consultant Initiative (FCI)

Brittany Wolcott

Brittany Wolcott previously worked as a development associate for Eaglebrook School, where she maintained the donor database, supported the annual fund and capital campaigns, and developed relationships with key constituents. She also worked for several years as the business manager at the UMass Library where she developed a working knowledge of UMass practices and systems. Ms. Wolcott also volunteers as regional director for SheJumps, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing female participation in the outdoors.

Mrs. Wolcott earned a master’s in resource administration and management from the University of New Hampshire and a bachelor’s in business from Champlain College.

(413) 577-3442

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Erin Zapata-Christie

Resource Development Editor

Erin Zapata-Christie

Erin Zapata-Christie previously worked for the Tennessee Department of Education in project management and content development. She also has experience working with early childhood programs through New York City’s Pre-K for All initiative, the National Institute for Early Education Research, and Hunter College. 

She holds a master’s in child development from Tufts University and a bachelor’s in anthropology from Mount Holyoke College. 

(413) 406-6219

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