First Annual Region IX HSA Conference:
Family Engagement and Cultural Effectiveness

Held by: 



Sonia Legaspi 
Region 9 Head Start Association 

Special thanks to our local program host and Head Start/ Early Head Start programs in the Hawaiian Islands and Outer Pacific

Head Start Association of Hawai'i  


Tuesday October 27, 2015 at 5:00 PM HST
Friday October 30, 2015 at 5:00 PM HST

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The Westin Maui, Ka'anapali 
2365 Kaanapali Pkwy
Lahaina, HI 96761

Driving Directions 


Group Room Block Rate: $209+tax/day
Group Room Block Name: Region 9/
Family Engagement
Reservation Line: 1-866-716-8112
*Cut-off Date: Monday, September 28, 2015


  • Hotel parking is complimentary


  • Closest commercial airport: 
    Maui - Kahului, HI (OGG)
  • Shuttle: For shuttle traveling from the Kahului Airport, find the best shuttle rates at  Complimentary from Kapalua West Maui airport. 


How rich are your Family Engagement practices?  How do you effectively articulate and practice Family Engagement in your program?  This conference will address how early childhood professionals can increase intentional and meaningful family engagement that reaches across diverse cultures.  With Hawaii and its vibrant cultural mosaic as a backdrop, this first annual conference is an opportunity for attendees to explore the common threads woven through each of us as a community of learners and educators.  Join us and take home tools that will foster Ohana (Family) Engagement and Cultural Effectiveness in your program.

 Registration closes September 30th

Register Now!

Cancellation Policy: no cancellations unless under extreme circumstances







Important Registration Information

  • We understand potential delays associated with purchase orders, etc.  Please register now, and contact us if you anticipate an obstacle with timely payment. 
  • Current Region 9 membership will be verified, but will NOT impede registering successfully.  Agency membership benefits extend to the entire staff and all parents enrolled in your program.

  • Becoming a member is easy -- visit our website at to join.  Select "Join R9HSA" under the "About R9HSA" menu. 
  • Cancellation Policy:
    No cancellations or refunds will be permitted, except for extreme circumstances. 

    Substitutions are permitted, however request must be received in writing by September 30th.  Do not register your substitute.  Please email the name of the original registrant and the name of the person substituting to and obtain email response as proof.  Include “Conference Substitution” in the subject line. Substitutions can also be made on-site at the conference registration desk with proof of payment for an original registrant.


Meals provided with Registration 
  • Wednesday, October 28th - Lunch provided
  • Thursday, October 29th - Afternoon snack with Exhibitors; grab and go lunches will be made available for purchase
  • Friday, October 30th - Lunch provided
  • Mini-refrigerators are found in guest rooms; no microwaves
  • Nearby eateries:
    Onsite Colonnade (to go sandwiches), Relish Bistro and Seadogs (snack hut) Also Whalers Village is next door. Visit for a listing of eateries. 




The Family Engagement and Cultural Effectiveness Conference will welcome two-hundred early childhood educators, administrators and partners from across our nation.  Attendees and presenters will be professionals from the Head Start and Early Head Start field and beyond, including:

  • Family Service Advocates,
  • Family Engagement Managers,
  • Family Child Care Specialists,
  • Parents,
  • Center Supervisors,
  • Directors,
  • Family Child Care Providers,
  • Content Coordinators, 
  • Program Managers, and
  • Tribal Leaders




Dr. Roberto Dansie  

 Maya & ancient wisdom scholar, Roberto Dansie has been internationally recognized as the most eloquent and accessible contemporary authority on Cultural Diversity.  He founded his Company Cultural Wisdom in 1998.  He is an award winning speaker, trainer, and clinical psychologist. He is an award winning speaker, trainer, and clinical psychologist.  He is the recipient of numerous awards including: The National Award for Community Development from the Department of Health, the distinguished "Mounted Medallion Award" from the National Indian Health Board for Roberto's work in Indian Health, the Cesar Chavez Award from National Migrant Education, the Federal Award from the Administration on Aging, the Humanitarian of the Year from The International Medical and Educational Trust of Columbia Missouri University, and more.



Dr. Blanca Enriquez, OHS Director

Dr. Enriquez has been involved in early care and education since the early 1970s in various positions throughout her home state, El Paso, Texas.  She has been an administrator and supervisor of Head Start programs, elementary schools and bilingual education programs since 1973. She has served as the executive director of the Texas Education Service Center.  Dr. Enriquez holds a master's of education degree from the University of Texas at El Paso and a doctorate of philosophy in education administration from New Mexico State University.  She has served as a member of the Texas State Secretary's Advisory Committee on Early Childhood Education and was appointed by former President George W. Bush as an advisory board member for the National Institute for Literacy.  She is a member of the National Head Start Association, the National Association for the Education of Children, the Texas and National Associations for Bilingual Education and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.



Mervlyn Kitashima

Mervlyn is the Administrator for the Parents and Alumni Relations Department of the Kamehameha Schools Kapälama.  She was a participant in Emmy Werner's ground-breaking research, "Kauai
Longitudinal Study on Resilience".  She has developed parent and family involvement curriculum and training for the State of Hawaii's Department of Education's Parent Community Networking Center Program, Hawaii's parents, teachers and administrators.  Mrs. Kitashima has served on the Aloha Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Governor's Commission on Teacher Morale, as commissioner of the Aloha Region USAJunior Volleyball and many other community and educational organizations.

Drawing on her experiences as a teenage mother, mother of seven, grandmother of thirteen and wife of 39 years, Mrs. Kitashima has traveled widely throughout the United States and Canada as a motivating communicator. Her speaking engagements have included institutes and seminars at universities and colleges, state and national conferences on education, prevention, juvenile justice, student assistance and numerous schools, organizations, communities and churches.  In 2003, Mervlyn was named the State of Hawaii and the National Mother of the Year by American Mothers Incorporated, an organization dedicated to strengthening the moral and spiritual foundation of the home and family. She currently serves as the President of the AMI, Hawaii Association.

"I have had the privilege to experience Mervlyn's presentation twice, and each time was truly impacted by her personal story.  The message she offers to her audience is one of hope and promise, focused on the process of creating resiliency.  Mervlyn speaks from her heart based on personal experience and exudes an authentic spirit of Aloha.  Her story helped to shape my commitment as a Head Start Director in serving young children and families."          
--- Debbi Amaral, Maui Economic Opporunity, Inc. Head Start/ Early Head Start and President of the Hawai'i Head Start Association



Ronald Herndon

Ron Herndon served as President and Board Chair of the National Head Start Association (NHSA) from 1991 to 2013. As Chair he provided leadership and support to Head Start programs across the nation including advocating for over 900,000 low-income children and families.  Ron has been the Director of Albina Head Start in Portland, Oregon since 1975. He is a former teacher, counselor, college instructor and VISTA volunteer.  


Are you still trying to figure out if this conference is for you or your staff?  Are you already registered and eager to select your target workshops?  View a list of workshop sessions here.  

Dates and times of workshops will be made available a couple of weeks prior to arrival.  Come back and visit this page.  It will be posted here.  


We are now accepting presenter proposals:
DUE May 22nd