Holy Cross Head Start Staff and Families:
It is with deep regret that I must announce the resignation of Merry Wokasien. After 26 years of dedicated service to Holy Cross Head Start, Merry is retiring.
Merry was first hired with HCHS in May of 1990 as a 10 month Food Service Person. Merry's quick learning and enthusiasm for food service and nutrition allowed her to be promoted to Nutrition Services Supervisor in October of 1993. In this position she was responsible for all day to day operations and monitoring of the Holy Cross Head Start Nutrition Content Area.
In August 2008, Merry became our first full time Facilities Coordinator. In this position she was responsible for guaranteeing that all of our physical locations met local, state and federal early childhood guidelines. Merry has worked closely with landlords and vendors to ensure that the buildings are operational at all times. Her immense knowledge of nutrition, health, safety and property management has proven to be an asset during times of agency, city, county, state and federal reviews. Merry is looked upon for counsel to ensure that our children, families, staff and buildings are always safe and sound.
During her tenure with HCHS, Merry's expertise and knowledge with the Head Start Performance Standards and OCFS guidelines allowed her to become a Federal Reviewer for the Federal Office of Head Start (OHS). In this capacity, Merry served on several federal Head Start review teams over the past ten plus years evaluating Head Start programs across the country. Having Merry as a Federal Reviewer has been very important in the developing, monitoring and evaluating of Holy Cross Head Start operations. We are often able to utilize her knowledge learned from other reviews and apply them to our agency.
Merry has worked with three Holy Cross Head Start Executive Directors, multiple Content Area experts, dozens of community partners, hundreds of front line staff and thousands of Head Start families. Merry was the lead person in acquiring and renovating our Central, North Buffalo and Dewitt locations along with overseeing the successful, physical closings of our Central location in Tonawanda and Akron location. She has helped train new staff including Nutrition Coordinators and Center Directors, while also acting as a interim Center Director on many occasions.
Merry played a pivotal role in getting our Holy Cross location up and running in January of 2014 after a winter storm severely crippled the building, forcing us to shut down all operations for 3 weeks. A ruptured pipe flooded all 3 floors including the basement. Electrical power throughout the building was extremely compromised and plumbing had to be repaired or replaced. Walls had to be fixed and new furniture and equipment had to be purchased, delivered and installed. State and city building inspections had to be passed. Merry's expertise, perseverance and optimism played a major role in the reopening of 150 Maryland in just 3 weeks.
In closing, Merry has always been an integral part of the growth, development and success of Holy Cross Head Start. Her knowledge, passion and vision will be greatly missed. Holy Cross Head Start is truly a greater place because of Merry.