L.E.A.P. Head Start Program Director Patricia Salvarezza has been with the program 33 years, a dozen other staff members have a decade or more of dedicated service

Program Director Patricia Salvarezza celebrated 33 years with L.E.A.P. Head Start in September!

As Head Start Awareness Month comes to a close, we’d like to tell you about over a dozen staff members that have been with

L.E.A.P. Head Start for a decade or longer!


Yes, that’s impressive!  Why does it matter?

Staff longevity and retention means that children will receive consistent education and support from qualified staff that are experts in the Head Start standards and curriculum.

Staff members that have served in multiple roles with the agency understand firsthand how each member of the team can work together to support not only the educational needs of children but social growth, physical and mental wellbeing.

Having many long-term employees shows that the staff is passionate about the mission of L.E.A.P. and Head Start.  Their dedication and ownership of the program is evident in the way they go above and beyond to support children and families in our community.

And oh yeah, we’re not bragging, but we also think it demonstrates that L.E.A.P. Head Start is a pretty great place to work!

Below are the names of some of our long-term Head Start staff along with the positions they have held over the years.

Congratulations to these incredible members of our team and thank you for your years of dedicated service!


33 Years

Patricia Salvarezza, Head Start Program Director

Tricia started as a teacher at Dix Avenue Head Start.  She spent 12 years as the Center Director at the ACC Child Care Center, 17 years as Assistant Director of Education and Center Services, and has been the Head Start Program Director since 2019.


Kim Kenyon, Head Start Human Resources Manager

Kim started as a Secretary/Receptionist and became Human Resources Manager in 2007.


23 years

Tricia Golden, Early Head Start Lead Teacher, Star Room, River Street Head Start

Tricia started as an Aide, became an assistant at the ACC Child Care Center, then Lead with teen parents at BOCES, and spent one summer as a Home Visitor.


22 years

Tyra Brown, Practice Based Coach/Behaviorist

Tyra was a Home-Based Visitor for 2 years and was a Lead Teacher for 20 years at River Street Head Start.


Colleen LaRose, Disabilities Manager

Colleen started as an Assistant Teacher at River Street Center before becoming a Lead Teacher at both River Street and Granville Head Start.  This is her first year as Disabilities Manager.


21 Years

Becky Rosick, Technical Support/Administrative Assistant

Becky started as a Teacher’s Aide and Substitute Bus Driver at Dix Avenue Head Start.  She also worked as an Assistant Teacher at Dix Avenue and as the Secretary/Receptionist.  Becky is also a former Head Start parent!  Her daughter Ashley works for LEAP Head Start at Dix Avenue and Ashley’s son is enrolled in the program.


Patricia Kilmartin, Teacher, Moon Room, River Street Head Start

Patti started as an Infant Aide then Toddler Teacher at the ACC Child Care Center, then moved to Dix Avenue Center for a few years before going to the River Street Center.


20 Years

Ramona Bourn, Assistant Teacher, Whitehall Head Start

Mona started as a Teacher’s Aide at River Street, went to BOCES with teen parents and babies for 9 years, then went back to River Street as an Assistant Teacher in the toddler room, and is now an Assistant Teacher at Whitehall.  Mona is a former Head Start parent as well as a kitchen and bus volunteer.


19 years

Jodie Dommaschk, Family Services Coordinator

Jodie is also a former Head Start parent who has seen the value of the program for her own family.  She worked as a Family Service Coordinator for a year, a Health and Nutrition Coordinator for a year, the Disabilities Manager for 9 years, and a Family Advocate for 8 years.


18 years

Heather Adams-Wendell, Family Advocate, River Street

Heather is another proud former Head Start parent.  Her two children attended Dix Avenue Head Start and graduated recently with Bachelor’s Degrees from Niagara University and Le Moyne College. Heather started as a floater aide at River Street, became Assistant Teacher at River Street, and is now a Family Advocate.


15 years

Nina Martelle, Family Advocate

Nina started as a substitute Teacher Aide at Cambridge Head Start, then became a permanent Teacher Aide at Granville, and got her CDL to drive the bus when needed.  She was a Cook at Granville for years before becoming a Family Advocate.


14 years

Susan Brown, Assistant Teacher

Susan was a Classroom Aide for one year, an Inclusion Aide for 2 years, and has been an Assistant Teacher for 12 years.


11 years

Tashina Roose, Lead Teacher, Cambridge

Tashina started as a classroom aide, and after two years was promoted to Assistant Teacher.  After four years, she worked as a Home Visitor, and has been a Lead Teacher for the past five years.


Head Start is the national commitment to give every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, an opportunity to succeed in school and in life. In the 50+ years since its inception, Head Start has improved the lives of more than 37 million children and their families.    https://www.nhsa.org/why-head-start/why-it-matters