About The School  

The History of St. Clair County Head Start


Head Start exists because it is founded on the principal that we have high hopes that it is possible to set children and their families on a course toward a better life. Believing that disadvantaged children suffered from a lack of money rather than a lack of intelligence, a war on poverty was launched.


St. Clair County Head Start strives to provide high quality comprehensive services to the children and families served. It also works to establish a partnership between federal and local staff to continuously improve quality Head Start delivery.  A comprehensive  relationship is nurtured  with local school systems in order to deliver high quality services.


St. Clair County Head Start has provided area children with opportunities and experiences they might not have otherwise had since 1965. This program was created to break the cycle of poverty by providing a program designed to meet the emotional, social, health, nutritional, and psychological needs of the students we serve.


This program was housed in church basements, classrooms of St. Clair County Training School, old Eden Elementary School, and then finally, in the early 1980s moved  to its present site  Coal City School.


 The initial Head Start Program began in 1965 under the leadership of Mr. John Davis.  Mr. Walter M. Kennedy was instrumental in making this a model program in St. Clair County. Under his administration, the program progressively grew from 20, 100, to 160 students until he  retired.


The baton was then passed on to Mrs. Elsie H. McGowan in 1994. The program grew even more to 217 students with more than 40 staff members and (2) 7-member governing bodies. After 16 years of dedicated service, she retired September 2010.


The program was led by 2 dedicated Co-Interim Directors, Mrs. Stephanie Stinson and Mrs. Susan Bradt from September 2010 until June 2011. They each served dual roles as Chief Fiscal Officer and HSTARS Manager respectively.


The torch is currently carried by Ms. LaToya Orr as Executive Director since June 2011, and the program currently strives to move onward and upward.