Angela Calhoun – Advocate for early education

Published 10:32 am Thursday, May 16, 2024

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Since June 1, 2022, Angela Calhoun has worked with Head Start and loved every minute. Now she oversees the Lowndes County Head Start Program toward the overall goal of nurturing the development and wellness of children and families in the area.

Calhoun comes to the position after teaching kindergarten for 26 years. With the districtwide theme of “Building Our Future for Academic Success,” Calhoun sees her role with Head Start as vital to ensuring the success of the county’s youngest learners.

“When I first started teaching, we were teaching colors and numbers, just the basics,” Calhoun said. “By the end of my teaching experience, children were expected to read, write and other things and it can be a bit too much for children who don’t have the background experience.

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“I’m an early childhood advocate. I believe that every child learns differently and at a different rate. It was disheartening to see how much pressure was put on [Kindergarten] children. That’s when I knew Head Start was where I needed to be. Once I got here, I knew I was home because Head Start really does work.”

Calhoun became Head Start director in November 2023. She earned bachelor, master’s, an Education Specialist degree in Early Childhood Education and doctoral degrees from Alabama State and a master’s degree in leadership design and technology from the University of West Alabama (UWA). Recently, Calhoun completed administration certification at UWA.

Head Start is part of a federally funded program and can look different in every school system, Calhoun explained. Federal performance standards, separate from those mandated for the county’s public school system, helps to ensure children receive the tools they need to be ready for kindergarten.

“We try to make sure we are teaching to [federal] performance standards while also aligning with public school because eventually our students will transition to public school,” Calhoun said. “We have to make sure there is a smooth progression.

Head Start is open to three- and four-year-olds from low-income families, unlike Pre-K programs which begin at age four. The program serves 160 students and is funded to enroll 195.

As director, Calhoun administers program grants, ensuring all funding is in place to run the program. She also works toward open community relationships with parents and board members who support and engage toward program success.

Service in community organizations and her faith family are important to Calhoun. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She and her husband Reginal live in Montgomery and attend Greater Washington Park Church. 

The couple have three sons, Chandler Houser, Reginal Calhoun and Nickolas Jones; a daughter, Kemaya Benson and three grandchildren; Semaj and Kyrin Huntley Kyrin and Autumn Houser.