Organizational Leadership

Leaving the Policy Council

As a member of the Policy Council, you have contributed to the success of your Head Start or Early Head Start program. Now, the time has come for you to step down. Let's explore what might happen as you prepare to leave.

Read the scenario below.


Shanice is in her last year on the Policy Council. She has served for five years. She was chairperson for the past two years. Her youngest child will leave the Head Start program and enter kindergarten in a few months. She is finding it hard to imagine leaving the Council. She will miss the support of the Head Start community.

Shanice wants to stay connected to other parents. She also wants to continue to support the program. She remembers how unsure she felt the day she was first elected to the Policy Council. She has learned so much since then. She would like to share what she has learned with others. She decides to speak to the program director, Michelle, about becoming a mentor to parents who are new members of the Policy Council.

Parents can have mixed feelings about leaving the Policy Council. You may feel proud. You may feel sad. You may feel excited about what you might do next. Find answers to some common questions that parents have below. You may have others. Talk with program staff about your specific questions.

Common Questions About Leaving the Policy Council

  • Why can't I stay on the Policy Council?

    All Head Start and Early Head Start programs follow regulations called the Head Start Program Performance Standards. The standards state that Policy Council members can serve no more than five terms. Each term is one year.

  • How can I continue to support my program after I leave the Policy Council?

    You can still attend Policy Council general meetings even if you are not a voting member. You can also volunteer in your program in many other ways. You can help in a classroom, organize family events, or raise money for the program. You can keep volunteering even if your child is in a new program or school.

  • How can I use my leadership skills in other places?

    You have developed important leadership skills by serving on the Policy Council. You can listen carefully to others, delegate and complete tasks, and make decisions. You can bring these skills to your child's future school, or to a new job or volunteer opportunity.


Take a moment to reflect on each question:

  • What questions or concerns do you have about leaving the Policy Council?
  • Who can you talk with to help answer your questions?
  • What else can your program do to help as you leave the Policy Council?

Additional Resources