PHSA Mentor/Mentee Program


PHSA has seen the quickly changing landscape of Head Start/Early Head Start  leadership within the State and has identified the need for leadership development. 

In the past five years, as the “baby boomer” generation retires we have seen an  incredible turn over in the program director position. In addition a significant number of  directors are planning on retiring in the next five years. Some of the newly hired  directors have had little or no experience with Head Start. 

PHSA recognizes that providing leadership development to Head Start 
Directors/Assistant Directors (Directors) will improve Pennsylvania’s Head Start and  Early Head Start programs as well as the services our Head Start families receive. High  quality program leadership is a key factor in having measurable outcomes.  


PHSA is offering its Pennsylvania’s Head Start Programs (Programs) the opportunity to  participate in a new Mentor/Mentee Program to promote a Director’s leadership growth  and development. 

Each Mentor/Mentee relationship will be developed to meet the needs of the Program  director through confidential discussion with their Mentor. 

A typical program design might include some, all or a combination of these services: 

1. An initial face to face meeting
2. Weekly, biweekly or monthly one-hour calls
3. A process for the Director to access the Mentor by phone to discuss specific and/or time sensitive issues
4. Site visit to the program for observation/consultation/one-on-one executive coaching
          a. Due to COVID-19, site visits are now being held virtually through Zoom.
5. Other special requests can also be discussed

Directors will establish goals and a plan to enhance their leadership skills. The  individualized plan will provide the opportunity to learn from their Mentor’s experience  as well as to explore the Director’s strengths and weaknesses. 

PHSA’s Mentor/Mentee services to its members will be provided by Jo Pepper.  Directors will develop, with Jo Pepper, an agreement for services between PHSA and  the Program. The cost will be based on the Mentor’s time spent working with the  Director billed at $125 dollars per hour. Mentor mileage, per diem costs and hotel  costs if needed will be the responsibility of the Director’s program. All fees will be paid  to PHSA. The typical agreement term will be six to twelve months. Contact Jo Pepper  at ​[email protected]​ to set up a brief discussion to see if a  PHSA’s Mentor/Mentee services agreement might benefit you.  

Still wondering if these services are for you? 

Consider these questions: 

Do I have a mentor (safe/confidential)? 
Do I have a network to help me do deep-thinking on difficult issues my organization  and I face? 
Do I have a method to reflect, challenge myself and learn new executive skills? 

The relationship between the Mentor and Mentee (Director) provides deep support and  leadership development. The process is flexible and supportive providing opportunities  for the Director to talk in a safe, confidential space with an experienced Mentor who  can listen, support and ask questions to help the Director enhance her/his leadership  skills. The long term goal of this Mentor/Mentee program is to establish a sustainable  and flexible program design to continually develop and improve Head Start/Early Head  Start Directors and to develop a pool of additional Mentors. 

PHSA is excited to partner with Jo Pepper to offer these services to our members.

Intentional Outcomes LLC
Jo Pepper, M.Ed.

Jo has 38 years of administrative and teaching experience in Head Start including 15 as the Executive Director of Capital Area Head Start (CAHS); a program with 280 staff serving 1200 children with Head Start/Early Head Start/HSSAP/PKC and previously child care programming. She received her Masters of Education from Pennsylvania State University. Jo is a graduate of the Head Start Management Fellows Program at the University of California in Los Angeles. She is a recipient of the Mayor’s Award for Distinguished Public Service and the United Way of the Capital Region’s Joseph M. Capita Spirit of the Capital Region award. She has participated in the Head Start Monitoring System as a Peer Reviewer and the new Directors Mentoring Initiative sponsored by the Office of Head Start.

Jo is passionate about working with programs helping them to be more intentional about their work to improve outcomes and make an impact.