Select Page

Our Mission

Mercer County Head Start invests in individualized, comprehensive services which champion school ready children and self-sufficient families.

Mercer County Head Start is a 5-Star rated child care program. Step up to Quality (SUTQ) is Ohio’s quality rating system for child care programs. The Ohio Department of Job and family Services (ODJFS) and the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) use a comprehensive, one-to-five star rating system to assess ODJFS and ODE-licensed early childhood programs that choose to exceed minimum health and safety standards. Stating in 2020, all child care programs that receive state funding will be required to participate in Step Up to Quality. Ratings are posted online, and parents can use them to choose the program that is best for their child.

For more information visit

A healthy child is a child ready to learn

School readiness is measured by skills in the five central domains of the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework. Ages Birth to Five (ELOF): Social-Emotional, Physical (Gross Motor/Fine Motor), Language/Literacy, Cognitive and Mathematics.


Cognitive & General Knowledge



Approaches to Learning



Physical Health Development

Social Emotional

History of Head Start

Head Start was founded as part of Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty in 1965. Since then, Head Start has grown from an eight-week demonstration project to include full day/year services and numerous program options. Head Start has served over 30 million children and their families in urban and rural areas in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories. Head Start celebrated 50 years of service in 2015.

Head Start Services

Head Start promotes the school readiness of young children from low-income families through agencies in their local community. Head Start and Early Head Start programs support the comprehensive development of children from birth to age 5, in centers, child care partner locations, and in their own homes. Head Start services include early learning, health, and family well-being.

Mercer County Head Start Leadership

Celina City Schools Board of Education along with Policy Council provide shared governance for the Mercer County Head Start Program. While the Celina City Schools Board of Education is compromised of elected members of the community, the Policy Council consists of Head Start parents elected by their peers as well as other volunteer community service providers. Together, these two entities provide guidance and oversight to the program’s Executive Director.

Administrative Team

Executive Director – Amy Esser

Education Manager – Sandy Stammen

Family Engagement Manager – Kim Kramer

Mental Health Manager – Ashley Searight

Health & Community Manager – Angie Stephenson

Superintendent – Dr. Ken Schmiesing

Treasurer – Darren Jenkins


Policy Council

Parent Representatives

Danielle Naugle
Keysha Chilcoat
Diana Patrick
April Ball

Community Representatives

Emilie Plummer
Diane Gable
Jodi Grieshop
Jamie Miller

Board of Education

Bill Sell
Deb Guingrich
Craig Flack
Carl Huber
Barbara Vorhees

No Wrong Door

NO WRONG DOOR was conceptualized as an event to educate Mercer County service providers about the vast resources available in the area. The premise is that families would be able to gain access or a direct referral to services needed through each provider in the area.