Put out the welcome mat for employees who have joined the Community Action Council of Howard County in recent weeks.
Though fresh out of college, Alex Bussman, the new Howard County Food Bank receptionist, has already made a mark in the world by recording interviews with 12 World War II veterans that are archived in the Library of Congress. Alex made these recordings to obtain his Eagle Scout award. A graduate of Mt. Hebron High School, he holds an associate’s degree from Howard Community College and a bachelor’s degree from St Mary’s College, both in English. Alex, a former volunteer and intern at CAC, aspires to spend time in France so he can soak up the culture and hone his French.
Before becoming an assistant teacher at Dasher Green Head Start, Andrea Dias was lead teacher at a Head Start in Baltimore for a decade. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and a master’s degree in Leadership and Management, both from Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore. A resident of Dundalk, Andrea enjoys making her own earrings and Japanese braiding, drawing, playing video games, and dressing up as characters at anime and comic-book conventions.
While enjoying her new job as a pre-kindergarten teacher at Old Cedar Lane Head Start, Ashley Hensley is looking forward to her first child in April. Previously, she taught third grade in the Anne Arundel Public Schools for a year, was a Head Start teacher in Baltimore for four years, and spent six years teaching prekindergarten at several schools in Columbia. She also spent several summers as a nanny for the same family. She holds associate’s degrees in Early Childhood Development and Early Childhood Education from Howard Community College and a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Towson University. Her hometown is Laurel, but she now resides in Linthicum with her husband Rick and their two dogs.
With 27 years’ experience working with children, Michele Killette is in her wheelhouse as the new center manager at Old Cedar Lane and First Presbyterian Head Start centers. She was education coordinator and acting site director at an Anne Arundel County Head Start for two years. In addition, she was the lead teacher at Dayspring Head Start in Baltimore for two years, a classroom teacher and educational assistant in Baltimore City Public Schools for 19 years, and a licensed child care provider in Baltimore for four years. Michele has a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Sojourner Douglas College in Baltimore and obtained an online master’s degree in Teacher Leadership from Walden University.
New Food Bank Community Worker Jason Nakayama has had a varied career. He spent six years as a mental health worker in the Sheppard Pratt Health System, six years in the Army, and two years as an intelligence analyst for the National Security Agency. This Sykesville resident holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Studies from the University of Oregon and spent a year in a nursing program at the University of Maryland. As a youth, he showed leadership skills and commitment to duty by earning the Eagle Scout award.
New Dasher Green Head Start Pre-kindergarten Teacher Kristen Poinsett spent two years teaching three- and four-year-olds at Goddard School in Olney and one year teaching prekindergarteners at Glenwood Country Day School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Education from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and is certified to teach early childhood through sixth grade in Maryland and Pennsylvania. A resident of Ellicott City, Kristen enjoys hiking, swimming, playing soccer and kickball, seeing musical productions, and listening to all genres of music.
Joanna Sams’ life has revolved around children for some time. She spent eight years staying home to raise her four children, now ages 16, 10, 9 and 3. She inched back into the work world by serving as a substitute aide for prekindergarten and kindergarten with some office duties in Jefferson County Schools in West Virginia for two years. Now, Joanna has plunged into working full time as Head Start’s administrative assistant. This resident of Eldersburg, who loves interior decorating, holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Towson University.
CAC’s new Grants Manager Delavago “Del” Scruggs served eight years as a full-time ordained minister before entering the non-profit world where he feels he expanded his influence by working with community and faith organizations on quality of life issues such as HIV/AIDS and substance abuse. Del served as Senior Consultant for Partnership Development at AARP for three years, Senior Program Director at Associated Black Charities of Baltimore for five years, and as Senior Project Director at McFarland & Associates where he worked on contracts for five years. Del earned his bachelor’s degree in communications from American University and did graduate work at Oral Roberts University. This Hanover resident is a member of the Leadership Howard County Premier Class of 2003.
Ellicott City Head Start assistant teacher Michaele “Mikki” Smith comes to her new position with nine years’ experience working with children in a variety of capacities. She was assistant director for school-aged children for Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks, lead teacher for two-year-olds at Children of America in Crofton and Ellicott City, lead teacher for prekindergarten at The Goddard School in Gambrills, and provided child care for family child care centers. Michaele earned an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Anne Arundel Community College and is working on her bachelor’s degree in Education the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She has lived in Maryland all her life and currently resides in Severn with her husband and three children.
Prekindergarten teacher Heather Trentzsch is among the newest staff members at the Ellicott City Head Start Center. She has 11 years’ experience in the education field. Much of her work has been in Baltimore where Heather was a Head Start prekindergarten teacher, first and third grade public school teacher, and a tutor. She was also a preschool teacher at Columbia Academy. Heather holds a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Towson University and is currently studying for a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from McDaniel College in Westminster. She enjoys running, yoga, crocheting, and refinishing furniture.