Strengthening the Entrepreneurial Management and Leadership Skills of Head Start Executives


Designed from a strategic planning perspective, the UCLA Head Start Management Fellows Program provides a unique opportunity for Head Start executives to participate in a 12-day intensive leadership and management development training session at UCLA Anderson School of Management. Since 1991, the program has trained over 1,600 Head Start directors and managers who provide comprehensive services to nearly 1 million economically disadvantaged children and their families each day.


Early childhood education professionals face management and strategic challenges in an increasingly changing environment. By developing an entrepreneurial mindset and competence, our participants will be able to achieve and exceed their goals of raising families out of poverty, and preparing children to be healthy and ready for school and life.

Al Osborne, Ph.D.
Faculty Director, Senior Associate Dean


Program Details


Designed from a strategic planning perspective, the UCLA Head Start Management Fellows Program provides a unique opportunity for Head Start executives to participate in a 12-day intensive leadership and management development training session at UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Since 1991, the program has trained over 1,400 Head Start directors and managers who provide comprehensive services to nearly 1 million economically disadvantaged children and their families each day. The program was previously funded by Johnson & Johnson from 1991 to 2015.


The competency-based curriculum focuses on the leadership and management skills, knowledge and abilities most relevant to Head Start/Early Head Start programs.Several case studies from actual Head Start programs are used to illustrate key concepts and enhance learning. The curriculum is taught by faculty from UCLA Anderson and other universities and is supplemented by professionals in the wider community, based on the needs of each year’s participants.Key curriculum components include:



Data Analysis



Decision Making

Group Design/Devlpmnt

Human Resources

Leadership Styles


Management Effectiveness


Project Management

Organizational Design

Operations Management

Strategy Development

Strategy Implementation

The Management Improvement Project (MIP)

The MIP is the practical application or experiential component of the program, allowing participants to immediately translate the UCLA program curriculum to improve performance at their own organizations. It identifies and addresses an organizational weakness or external opportunity through the development of a strategic plan for tackling an issue.

Individual Consultation by MBA Students

The program employs MBA students as Teaching Associates (TA) who lead small study groups to clarify and discuss session content with participants and act as consultants as participants develop their strategic projects.

Technology-Enabled Online Learning Community

A web-based "learning management system" coordinates the education process and delivers some of the program content. An easily accessible information source for online presentations, reading and useful links, the system is available to Fellows as a resource upon completing the program.


Upcoming Programs


2021 PMFO-UCLA Head Start New Director Mentor Initiative

The National Center for Program Management and Fiscal Operations (PMFO) is pleased to offer a unique opportunity for new Head Start directors to expand their knowledge and practice, enhance their networks and improve performance and career development through a one-year mentor-mentee relationship with an effective and experienced Head Start director.

Through the New Director Mentor Initiative (NDMI), new Head Start directors (those in position for fewer than three years) will have the opportunity to become more effective leaders to achieve maximum positive impact on their organizations.

Program Details

The 2021 NDMI will kick off with a Live Learning Event that will be delivered VIRTUALLY over 5 weeks beginning in February 2021. The Live Learning Event is a reflective and interactive leadership and management training and will be held the following dates and times (attendance is compulsory):

February 25, March 4, March 11, March 18 and March 25 (one day/week)

9:00am-2:00pm PST

New directors will also be provided tools and resources on key Head Start Management Systems and Leadership and Governance through live training and technical assistance webinars and self-directed learnings throughout the one year program.  There is NO REGISTRATION FEE.

As a result of the PMFO-UCLA mentor-mentee relationship, new Head Start directors will:

  • Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset: Increased ability to plan, lead, and control effective delivery of comprehensive services
  • Make Decisions Based on Data to Plan Program Operations: Allow for critical thinking and mission-driven planning
  • Stay Open: Remain curious, ask questions, defer judgment, and seek out diverse perspectives
  • Engage and Inspire: Listen well, build teams, create allies, develop talent, and offer your best
  • Learn and Grow: Reflect often, share insights, push boundaries, and raise the bar continuously

  Head Start directors chosen must commit to the following:

  • Attend the virtual Live Learning Event on the dates and times noted above
  • Access pre- and post-institute online learning opportunities (dates TBD)
  • Participate and engage in a year-long, one-on- one interactive relationship with your mentor

Apply Today

Download Brochure

Selected participants will be notified by February 1, 2021.

TBD 2021 PMFO-UCLA Head Start Management Fellows Program

The UCLA Head Start Management Fellows Program is a partner in the National Center on Program Management and Fiscal Operations (NCPMFO), which is funded by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Head Start.

Criteria for Admission:

  • A minimum of 2 years’ tenure as a director or manager in a Head Start/Early Head Start program or an executive who currently holds a leadership role in a regional or state Head Start association
  • Documentation of a leadership role in a local, state or regional community organization for a minimum of 2 years
  • A commitment from a co-participant who is the applicant’s supervisor, to participate for the final two and one-half days of the program
  • Demonstrated competence in working within community organizations and a pledge to work with other Head Start/EarIy Head Start programs in the future through training workshops and/or mentoring opportunities
  • Participants are responsible for a registration fee of $3,100 plus travel expenses for themselves and their co-participant. We do select a limited number of two-person teams from the same program.

Please check back for updates


Head Start Alumni Network


The learning process does not end with the conclusion of the UCLA Head Start Management Fellows Program. Fellows will continue to benefit from a community of program alumni that fosters support around common objectives. Networking during and after the program will create and strengthen relationships that will enhance the management education and entrepreneurial skills of Head Start/Early Head Start grantees nationwide. An e-mail list allows participants to stay informed about strategic, operational and policy issues, as well as to share information with other alumni of the program.


Get Involved: Current Anderson MBAs


Do you have a passion for social impact? Do you want to apply your newly developed MBA skills in real-time? Do you want more opportunities to network with our fantastic faculty and non-profit leaders in community health care and early childhood education?

mba get involved

If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider applying to becoming a strategic consultant for the Price Center Management Development Programs for Community Based Organizations. You will be part of a team of 7 strategic consultants that works closely with program participants who are immersed in an intensive and accelerated management curriculum.  

As a strategic consultant, you will be assigned a team which will consist of 5-7 participants. Each day, you will facilitate learning sessions focused on problem solving, strategy and leadership. You will also serve as a one-on-one coach for participants as they conduct organizational assessments, project planning and goal setting while developing and finalizing their organizational improvement projects. Ultimately, you will help participants generate a strategic plan which addresses an identified organizational weakness or a business opportunity that will advance the impact of the organization.  

This experience offers a competitive salary, and will connect you with an incredible network of nonprofit leaders across the country, as well as to UCLA Anderson faculty members and fellow students.  

Please contact Diana Hernandez at diana.hernandez@anderson.ucla.edu for information on how to apply for this position. 


Program Sponsor


UMass Donahue Institute, along with its partners FHI 360, ZERO TO THREE and the UCLA Anderson School of Management, serve as the NCPMFO for the Office of Head Start. The NCPMFO disseminates clear, consistent messages on Office of Head Start priorities for the development and implementation of sound management systems and strong internal controls for all grantees. The NCPMFO’s work includes, but is not limited to, topics such as risk management, governance, data collection and analysis, budgeting, management of multiple funding sources, and infrastructure enhancement to support a well-managed system of early care and education. The NCPMFO brings together a thoughtful blend of highly experienced staff with national, regional, state and grantee Head Start experience; program management, governance and fiscal specialists; and fiscal consultants.


Contact Us


Jeanette Boom, Director
Management Development Programs
110 Westwood Plaza, Ste C-305
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
Phone: (310) 825-6306
Email: jeanette.boom@anderson.ucla.edu