Meet Our Team
Meet Our Team
Board of Directors
The mission of the Iowa Head Start Association is to enhance the capacity of its members to promote and advocate for a wide variety of quality services for all of Iowa’s children and families.
Julie Lang is the current President of the Iowa Head Start Association. She has worked with MATURA Head Start for almost 30 years; first as a teacher then the Parent Involvement/Enrollment Coordinator and most currently the director. Early childhood has been her passion since first helping to establish a preschool within her church over 35 years ago and serving as one of the initial teachers before joining Head Start. With only an AA in Child Development, she went back to school to receive a BA in Human Service and Psychology and also had the opportunity to attend the two week UCLA Johnson and Johnson Management Fellows Program (a career highlight). She has served multiple terms on the IHSA board and is President of her local Kiwanis chapter which helps serve children in the Creston area.
Julie is active in her church playing the keyboard many Sundays and assisting with youth education. She loves to walk, read and has three grown children and five granddaughters that she likes to create memories with whenever possible.
Hello! My name is Kimberly Puetz and I am in my twenty-first year as an employee of Drake University Head Start and have had the honor of serving as the Vice-president on the Iowa Head Start Association Board this past year. My professional journey has allowed me to meet and collaborate with individuals who have been instrumental in my educational and administrative roles and have helped me grow personally and professionally. My roles as teacher, instructional coach, trainer, mentor, adjunct instructor and program coordinator have challenged me, made me take risks, and want to be involved in making change as we move forward in providing quality services to the children and families we serve.
Matthew LeClere has been the Head Start Director for Community Action of Southeast Iowa for 4 years. Prior to coming to Head Start, he worked as an elementary principal for 18 years in Galesburg, Illinois. During his tenure as principal, his school was recognized 8 times as an Illinois Spotlight School for being a high performing low-income school and was featured in Dr. Max McGee’s book, “What Every Superintendent and Principal Needs to Know”. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Dubuque, a Special Education degree from Grandview University, he earned his Master’s Degree from Drake University, and earned his Ed.S. from Western Illinois University with a superintendent certification. His background in the public schools offers a unique perspective in the preparation of Head Start children for their upcoming school careers.
Denise Tapscott is the Family & Community Partnerships Specialist for the Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs. She has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a specialization in Early Childhood Development. Prior to working with Head Start, Denise owned and operated a nationally accredited family childcare business with her husband where she recognized the value of strong partnerships with families. For the past 13 years in her role with Head Start, Denise enjoys supporting families, teachers, and family support staff in identifying and celebrating each families’ unique strengths and understanding the essential role families play in their child’s development.
I joined Northeast Iowa Community Action in 1999 as a Head Start permanent sub and worked my way up to Early Child Program Director. I earned my Community Action Professional Certification in 2015. Prior to NEICAC I was a preschool teacher in Wisconsin. I have worked my entire career in the Early Childhood Field with over 30 years of experience. I am a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, where I earned my BA in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. I am married with two grown sons and two grandsons.
My name is Danni Segebart and I have been the Director with West Central Community Action Head Start since October of 2021. Prior to being the Director, I have worked in the program for over 12 years in various positions from Teacher to Education Manager. I live on a farm outside of Manilla, Iowa with my husband, Jeremiah, my children Wesley (4) and Ava (1), and my nephew Justin (17). In any free time, I love doing things with my family, being outside, and being with friends.
Alyssa Caldbeck is a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) and a mental health professional who partners with early childhood professional and families to promote healthy social-emotional development in young children. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Iowa. Alyssa is currently completing her Ph.D. in Education at Drake University. She combines her knowledge and experience to use her voice to advocate for others and educate on social determinants of health, adverse life experiences, attachment, and overall well-being. Alyssa serves in the friend position on the Iowa Head Start Association Board.
Meghan has worked in Early Childhood for 16 years. She is passionate and dedicated to serving children and families. Meghan mission at work is to encourage and empower parents and staff to be the best that they can be. Meghan Judisch has worked for NICAO Head Start for 10 years. She started as a Family Advocate and held various roles throughout the years. In January 2021, she took on the role as Assistant Coordinator. She continues to mentor other Family Advocates as the Family Services Supervisor as well as coordinates the parent education. Meghan holds a BA in Family Services through University of Northern Iowa.
Taylor Lynch is the Family Engagement/Mental Health Coordinator at MATURA Head Start in Creston, Iowa. After Taylor graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Child, Adult, and Family Services in 2016, she began working with Head Start as a Health Coordinator before switching over to her current role. She enjoys that her current role allows her to utilize her passion of helping families understand and embrace the importance of their role in both their child’s life and their
educational career early on. She also enjoys being able to work with staff on implementing appropriate social-emotional relations while focusing on being trauma-sensitive, within the classroom environment. Taylor has been serving on the IHSA board since November 2021 and recently joined the Marketing Committee.
Cindy Davis is the Executive Director for North Iowa Community Action Organization (NICAO). She joined NICAO Head Start in 2007 as the Assistant Head Start Coordinator, promoted to Head Start Coordinator in 2012. During her time as Head Start Coordinator she served as the representative for the Iowa Head Start Association on the Early Childhood Iowa Stakeholder Alliance Steering Committee where she supported the effort to ensure Head Start programs were included into a redesign of the state’s Quality Rating System. Cindy worked with Tom Redon spearheading discussions with Iowa Superintendents around the importance of Head Start collaborations. They work closely to develop presentations to share the strengths of Iowa Head Start programs. She maintained and expanded partnerships with local school districts, working to integrate Head Start inspired practices across districts.
As Executive Director of the agency she continues her support of the Head Start program. With a focus on continued quality improvement, she believes that all children can and will succeed, and that the early childhood field is responsible to parents and children to take every opportunity to make it happen.
Dr. Robert Welch
Iowa Head Start State Collaboration Office
Training and Technical Assistance System
Dr. Catherine Swackhamer
Early Childhood Education Specialist birth-5
Iowa Community Action Association
Katherine Riley Harrington
As a previous Head Start and Early Head Start Program Director Lori brings a valuable appreciation and perspective to help support the unique needs of programs. Her diverse background includes 30 years of business management, organizational and policy development, health and nutrition administration and public speaking. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Upper Iowa University. Being passionate about advocating for her state’s youth and at-risk children and families is something she has cultivated throughout her life while valuing a model of continuous learning and growth. Lori enjoys developing relationships with Head Start leaders, staff and partners while supporting the Head Start and IHSA missions.