Children First CEO Honored by National Head Start Association for Significant Service to Community

May 18, 2023

A toddler sucking his thumb
Two girls solving a puzzle in a classroom

(Left to right: CEO Philip Tavill, VP of Programs Kathleen Sullivan, VP of Philanthropy Jessica Rogers, and Board Chair Brock Leach)

Philip Tavill, CEO of Children First, has been honored by the National Head Start Association (NHSA) for his significant achievements in excellence in community service.

The NHSA represents more than one million children, 275,000 staff, and 1,600 grant recipients in the United States. As the exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start services for Sarasota County, Children First ranks in the top 1% of all programs nationwide.

Mr. Tavill was first recognized by the Florida Head Start Association for his impact in elevating excellence across the state’s Head Start community. He received further recognition at the Southeastern U.S. regional level, representing more than 170,000 children, 40,000 staff and 300 member programs across eight states.

After being honored by the state and regional associations, Mr. Tavill received the Sargent Shriver Excellence in Community Service Award during the NHSA annual conference on May 10.

Sargent Shriver was an American diplomat, politician, and activist. As the driving force behind the creation of the Peace Corps, he founded the Job Corps, Head Start, VISTA, Upward Bound, and other programs as the architect of the 1960s War on Poverty. Shriver received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honor, from President Bill Clinton in 1994.

“Philip joins a list of highly accomplished leaders making notable and significant contributions to improving the lives of children and families at the state, regional, and national levels,” says Reverend Brock H. Leach, Children First Board Chair. “Thank you for showing us what is possible when you care deeply, work tirelessly, and earn the enduring trust of people from all walks of life.”