(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he is appointing Karen Pascale to serve as director of the Connecticut Head Start State Collaboration Office. Pascale has a long career in the field of early childhood with extensive experience being a leader in the Head Start community.

The creation of state Head Start Collaboration Offices were authorized by the federal Head Start Act. These offices facilitate work between state and local entities to improve policies and practices that impact low-income children from birth to school entry their families, and communities. The Connecticut Head Start State Collaboration Office is housed within the Office of Early Childhood, a state agency serving young children age birth to five and their families.

“I want Connecticut to be a leader in the availability of access to high-quality childcare, and the federal Head Start program is a critical partner in this effort,” Governor Lamont said. “Karen has the experience and skills to hit the ground running and support our administration’s overall goals of building a robust and accessible system of child care that works for families, providers, and the economy.”

Pascale has worked at United Way of Greater New Haven since 2012, most recently as the senior director of early childhood. In this role, she oversaw the Secure Start Initiative to strengthen attachments between parents and caregivers, represented the United Way of Greater New Haven on local early childhood councils, and served as the Early Head Start director. From 2008 to 2012, she worked at LULAC Head Start Inc. as the education/disabilities coordinator and program manager.

She has also been part of many of Connecticut’s early childhood systems efforts, including serving as chairperson of the Connecticut Head Start Association and as the representative for Head Start on the Connecticut Early Childhood Cabinet and the Interagency Coordinating Council.

“I am looking forward to bringing my knowledge and Head Start experience to the Office of Early Childhood,” Pascale said. “Partnerships with the Office of Early Childhood and other state agencies that serve young children and their families are critical to ensuring that they, particularly low-income families, have the resources to succeed in life now and in the future.”

“Karen most recently has led early childhood initiatives at United Way of Greater New Haven, including serving as the Early Head Start director,” Beth Bye, commissioner of the Office of Early Childhood, said. “This experience will be very valuable to the Office of Early Childhood as the agency supports Governor Lamont’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Child Care that is charged with creating a five-year strategic plan for Connecticut that supports family needs, business needs, and prioritizes equitable access to early care and education.”

The position of director of the Connecticut Head Start State Collaboration Office was most recently held by Elena Trueworthy, who is now serving as deputy commissioner of the Office of Early Childhood.

“Karen comes to this position with strong partnerships at the local, state, and national levels and her leadership in many of the current initiatives supported by the Head Start Collaboration Office will allow her to continue to build upon the critical role of Head Start in Connecticut,” Trueworthy said.

Pascale holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Southern Connecticut State University and a master’s degree in education from the University of New Haven. She is a trained facilitator in Circle of Security, CLASS Reliability, and Program in Infant Toddler Care.

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By Stephen Krauchick

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