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Mel Gravely

Head Start Story: Paulette R. Pipkin

The Gravely Group recently met Paulette Pipkin at the 14th Annual Fatherhood Conference for the South Carolina State Head Start Association (SCSHSA). Ms. Pipkin is founder of FamEd Consulting, a family engagement planning consultant for early childhood educators. * She is also a graduate of Head Start herself.  As we learned more about her background, we asked if she would be willing to share her story for our blog as another Head Start success story! See below for her story…

Ms. Paulette Pipkin as a Head Start graduate

My experience at Oak Forest Head Start holds a special place in my heart, marking a pivotal period in my early development. The care and kindness of my teachers, Ms. Vereen and Ms. Givens, as well as the warmth of my bus driver, Ms. Powell, and bus monitor, Ms. Bryant, left a lasting impression on me. As an extremely shy child, their unwavering support played an essential role in my social and emotional growth. Being the eldest of five children, these Head Start staff remained an integral part of our family’s “village” for many years.

Each day at the Head Start Center was filled with anticipation as I eagerly engaged in learning through songs, play, and hands-on activities. The nurturing environment and dedicated staff not only fostered significant academic progress, but also instilled in me a deep sense of belonging and self-confidence. Learning centers provided invaluable opportunities for me to enhance my social skills and communication abilities, which were crucial aspects of my growth as a reserved child. Classics like “The Wheels on the Bus” and “The Hokey Pokey” still bring back memories of the joy and laughter my classmates and I shared during circle time. I continue to keep in touch with fellow Head Start alumni, treasuring the lasting connections formed at Oak Forest Head Start.

Today, as an educator with over 25 years of experience and the author of “Leverage Your Influence & Impact: Practical Information for Parents of School-age Children,” my passion lies in helping children thrive academically and empowering families to support their educational journey. Recently, I had the honor of presenting “Dad Power: Championing Literacy” at the SCSHSA Fatherhood Conference, where I witnessed the remarkable enthusiasm and thoughtful engagement of both fathers and Head Start staff. Their unwavering commitment underscores the paramount importance of ensuring the success and well-being of all children.

I am immensely proud of the ongoing efforts of Head Start in championing our most vulnerable families and children. Looking ahead, I am eager to deepen my involvement in Head Start programming, recognizing that it served as the cornerstone for my educational journey—one that paved the way for a lifetime of learning, personal growth, and friendships.

* Participants in our “Head Start Story” series have agreed to share their personal stories on our blog in exchange for a link back to their website. The Gravely Group does not endorse any of the participants’ products or services.

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