All PHSA staff can be contacted by phone at the Association’s office or by email.
Blair Hyatt, Executive Director
Blair Hyatt has been the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Head Start Association since the fall of 2004. Blair is a life long residential of the state of Pennsylvania. His professional and community work has focused on improving the lives
of young people and their families. He graduated with a Master’s in Social Work degree from Temple Universities’ School of Social Administration where he completed his master’s thesis on the “Oppression and Liberation of Youth”. Previous to being the ED of PHSA Blair had been working as the Manager of Family and Community Partnerships for Philadelphia Parent Child Center, Inc. He has also: taught parenting skills and started a parenting center, helped start a therapeutic nursery for preschool age children, built a model “wrap-around” services program and worked doing “Family Services Systems Reform” through the Center for Schools and Communities. In his community work, Blair has taught peer counseling and mentored peer counseling leaders for over twenty years. He has lead workshops for young people, young adults, families and men as a part of this
work. He is the Director of the University of the Poor’s School of Parent and Youth Leadership working to end poverty through the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC). Blair has worked with the PPEHRC to build broad support for Head Start and the efforts to save Head Start. He has developed a partnership with the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign developing a workshop that; educates people about their economic human rights, shows how Head Start supports people’s economic human rights and how any effort that threatens Head Start is a threat to people’s economic human rights.
Karen Grimm-Thomas, Associate Director
Karen Grimm-Thomas has been the Associate Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Head Start Association since February of 2006. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Karen attended Penn State as an undergraduate, where she worked as an infant/toddler teacher while earning her Bachelor’s degree. She went on to receive a Master’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. While at the University of Illinois, Karen completed her master’s thesis “All in a Day’s Work: Job Experiences, Self-Esteem, and Fathering in Working-Class Families.” In addition to teaching in classrooms for various aged children, Karen managed The Children’s Eating Lab of Penn State under the direction of Dr. Leann L. Birch. There she helped design experimental protocols and conducted research on the development of children’s eating behaviors. After leaving Penn State, Karen was a Classroom Mentor in the Head Start Child Care Collaboration Project at Community Services for Children, Head Start of the Lehigh Valley. She then moved to the Harrisburg Area where she worked for Capital Area Head Start first as an Education Coordinator, and then as Training Coordinator. In addition to her experience educating young children, Karen has spent numerous years in Adult Education beginning as a Graduate Student Instructor at the University of Illinois. She has since taught child development courses at Penn State and at Harrisburg Area Community College, Wildwood Campus. Karen lives in Harrisburg with her husband and two children.
Molly Martz, Office Manager
Molly Martz joined the PHSA staff as Office Manager in January of 2014. Born and raised in the Harrisburg area, Molly attended the University of Massachusetts where she played collegiate soccer while obtaining her degree in elementary education. Prior to coming to PHSA, Molly taught kindergarten and was a center director. She currently lives in the Harrisburg area with her husband and two children.
Michelle Smith is the new Outreach Manager with PHSA. She attended HACC from 2011-2013 and her daughter was enrolled in the HACC Head Start program, where she became involved with Capital Area Head Start as a parent on Policy Council. She transferred to Shippensburg University and completed her Bachelor of Social Work degree in December 2015. During this time, she also was a Head Start and an Early Head Start Home Visitor, and served on the PHSA Board of Directors. Michelle graduated in May 2017 from Shippensburg University with her Master of Social Work degree. As the Outreach Manager, Michelle will take the lead on PreK for PA activity for the Association, begin implementing the Advocacy Engagement Strategy by working with directors to identify staff in each program that will serve as Liaisons, and providing support to these Liaisons as they lead their programs in advocating for Head Start and Early Head Start at all levels. Michelle lives in Mechanicsburg with her husband and four daughters. You may contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.