View Menu
AZHSA - The Arizona Head Start Association
Follow us at facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Instagram

Executive Director

Jessica Rivera-García Jessica Rivera-García

Jessica Rivera-García is the Executive Director for AZHSA. Jessica has dedicated her career to early childhood development and has over 10 years of experience in the early childhood sector including with Head Start as a former ERSEA and Family Engagement Manager. She served as the chair for the Parent, Family and Community Engagement AZHSA Subcommittee prior to becoming the Director. Jessica has devoted her career to creating early childhood policies and systems and advocating for quality family engagement in the Head Start field. Jessica has a master's degree in Public Administration from Arizona State University with a certificate of Participatory Governance.

Executive Committee

Eve DelReal President

Eve Del Real

Maricopa County Head Start

Eve Del Real serves as the AZHSA President and the Assistant Director of the Early Education Division with Maricopa County. She possesses over 20 years of experience working with underserved populations and in early childhood education in various capacities. She holds a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Administration and is pursing her Doctoral studies in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management.

Eve has been recognized numerous times by elected officials for the work she has done to improve the lives of children and communities, which included acknowledgment by the California State Assembly as Woman of Action for 2010. In 2014, Eve led the implementation of the Early Head Start Child Care Partnership for Maricopa County which garnered national recognition. She is an advocate for early education and social programs that support high quality services for all children and families.

Patricia Kirkland Vice President

Patricia Kirkland

City of Phoenix

Patricia Kirkland is the Deputy Human Services Director for the Education Division, where she oversees the Head Start Birth to Five Program. In her role, she is responsible for providing programmatic and budgetary oversight for an annual $40 million budget, 150 City of Phoenix staff, and ten educational providers who offer educational services for 3,451 children. Patricia has 25 years of experience in early childhood, including a teacher for Head Start and Special Education Preschool, an Early Childhood Administrator for a local school district, a college professor, and eight years with the Head Start Birth to Five Program. Patricia has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from the University of South Florida, a Master's degree in Education Leadership from the Northern Arizona University, and holds a current Principal's certification with the Arizona Department of Education. Currently, Patricia was seated as the Vice President of the Arizona Head Start Association in August 2021 and seated on the Region 9 Head Start Association Governing Board in October 2021. Through participation on these boards, Patricia hopes to learn more about Head Start through a state and regional lens and help impact positive change for state and regional grantees. Patricia is married with two grown children and four grandchildren.

Janell Stringfellow Secretary

Janell Stringfellow

City of Phoenix Birth to Five

Janell Stringfellow is the Early Head Start Education Specialist with the City of Phoenix Birth to Five Program. In her role, she supports the Child Care Partnership and Home-Based options. Her duties include oversight of curriculum implementation, ongoing assessment, coaching, and serving as the School Readiness and Education Self-Assessment Committee chair. She is responsible for analyzing and aggregating the program's child outcomes data three times a year, determining program needs, and additional supports for home visitors and teachers.

She has served children and families for over 20 years in various roles. Janell earned her bachelor's degree in Child and Adolescent Development from California State University, Northridge, in 2003 and her Master's degree in Human Relations from Northern Arizona University in 2014. As an advocate in the field of Early Childhood, she works to ensure that children and families are school ready. Janell believes in lifelong learning, supporting educators to see their full potential, and providing high-quality education services to all children and families. She aims to widen her lens and sharpen her interpersonal skills while serving as the AZHSA secretary.

Shandeen Gomez Treasurer

Shandeen Gomez

Urban Strategies

Hello! My name is Shandeen Gomez and I am the Director at Urban Strategies Early Head Start. I currently serve as the AZHSA Treasurer in my first year and prior to this role for AZHSA I served as the Chair/Vice Chair for the Early Childhood Subcommittee. I have over 20 years of experience working in the field of early childhood and working with the community's most vulnerable. I received my degree from Illinois State University in Human Development and Family Relationships with an emphasis on Child Development.

I feel my purpose as AZHSA Treasurer is to support the integrity of our fiscal appropriations and to work closely with our executive committee. I believe when our state program's come together, great things happen. I'm thankful for the opportunity and to work with amazing individuals.