The former Head Start director for the Mid-America Regional Council in Kansas City, Mo., will take over leadership of the Colorado Springs Head Start affiliate next month.
Steven R. Lewis has been selected as the new CEO of Community Partnership for Child Development, or CPCD, the organization announced Tuesday.
He will replace Noreen Landis-Tyson, who for 20 years has held the title of president and CEO of the local Head Start, the federal government’s early childhood development and education program for low-income families.
Landis-Tyson, in all a 31-year employee of the Colorado Springs-based organization, said June 1 that she intended to retire in December.
Lewis takes over on Dec. 19.
He rose to the top of 40 applicants and four finalists because of his “amazing resume,” with more than 25 years of experience in human services, many with Head Start, said Cyndy Scriven, a board member who headed the screening committee.
Lewis began his career with Head Start in his hometown of Baltimore as a family services coordinator.
He became executive director of Montgomery County Head Start in Norristown, Pa., before becoming an independent nonprofit management and leadership consultant. He served in that role for eight years before directing the regional council in Kansas City, which serves 2,400 children.
His background “perfectly aligns with CPCD,” Scriven said. “His enthusiasm for children, his love of helping people, his personality that exudes confidence and the ability to succeed” were other considerations, she said.
“He’ll just be inspiring for the whole program,” she said.
Lewis and Landis-Tyson have in common that they are both mentors in the Head Start New Director Mentor Program.
“So I have experienced his enthusiasm and passion for the Head Start mission firsthand,” Landis-Tyson said in announcing his hiring. Lewis’ “extensive management and leadership experience” will help him take Colorado Springs services for children and families “to the next level,” she said.
In addition to running Head Start preschool for 3- to 5-year-olds from low-income families, CPCD also operates Early Head Start for pregnant women and their children through toddler age, and the Colorado Preschool Program, which will be absorbed into a new state-funded Colorado Universal Preschool Program.
State lawmakers approved 10 hours a week of free preschool for 4-year-olds in public-school classrooms or private child care centers, churches or licensed homes.
The program takes effect in August 2023 and will cause organizations such as CPCD to reassess their roles, Landis-Tyson told The Gazette in June.
“We’ll have to rethink what our model will look like,” Landis-Tyson said, particularly since six school districts run the Colorado Preschool Program in El Paso County, in partnership with Head Start.
The organization continues to research the rules involved and wait for further policies to be developed, Scriven said.
Applications for the 2023-24 school year will begin being accepted in January.
Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.