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New Director to Lead Prime Time Head Start in Acadiana

February 10, 2022

Prime Time Inc., the Head Start grantee for Lafayette and Iberia Parishes, has appointed Dena Thomas as the service area’s Head Start Director. 

Thomas most recently served as the Director of Comprehensive Services for Prime Time Head Start and Early Head Start, a subsidiary of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. In this role, she worked with family advocates to ensure proper implementation of ERSEA (eligibility, recruitment, selection, and enrollment) systems and tracking of student data, as well as ensured strong family engagement, partnerships and enhancement of the services provided to Prime Time Head Start and Early Head Start families.

Thomas has served children and families in the Head Start program in the Acadiana area for more than a decade, working as an operations manager, Head Start center director and Early Head Start teacher in programs throughout Lafayette, Iberia and St. Martin Parishes.

“Dena Thomas has a heartfelt connection to the work of Head Start and Early Head Start. Her extensive early childhood background, appreciation to detail, and unwavering commitment to our children, families, and staff made her the prime candidate,” said Stalanda Butcher, Vice President of Head Start Services for LEH and Prime Time, Inc. “I look forward to seeing our programming in Acadiana elevate to greater heights under her leadership.” 

Thomas received her bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Studies from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and her master’s in Business Administration, with a minor in Organizational Leadership, from Ashford University. 

“I am excited and honored to be chosen as director for Prime Time in Acadiana. Providing quality education to young children and comprehensive services to families is my passion,” Thomas said. “As director, I commit to overseeing the implementation of this work and to continuing to build partnerships in Acadiana to help stabilize our community.” 

Prime Time Head Start is federally funded to serve up to 747 children between the ages of 6 weeks and 5 years old, as well as expectant mothers, at its centers in Lafayette, New Iberia and Jeanerette. Prime Time’s free preschool program uses humanities-based learning to help children build basic skills, develop a love of literacy and hone critical-thinking abilities to set the foundation for lifelong learning while also providing support and services to the entire family.