Embry wins award for his work with Head Start
by Aziza Jackson
Talladega native Avery Embry is a recipient of the Billy J. McCain Sr. Memorial Award for his work with the Cheaha Regional Head Start Program.

The Alabama Head Start Association recently presented the award to Embry and several others involved with the program who won on the state level.

Embry has served on the Cheaha Regional Head Start Program’s policy council for five years in addition to his work as the Director of Finance and Chief School Financial Officer for the Talladega County Board of Education for the last 16 years.

Before his professional work and achievements in the Talladega community, Embry was a graduate of Talladega High School.

He went on to graduate from Jacksonville State University with a bachelor of science degree in accounting; he also received his MBA with a concentration in management and accounting from JSU.

Embry currently serves on the executive board of the Cheaha Regional Head Start Program and has done so for the last two years, demonstrating exemplary leadership and major achievements in areas of public policy, advocacy, and community impact.

“I’m so thrilled and I’m honored about winning the award,” Embry said. “It makes me want to continue to work with Cheaha Regional Head Start.”

The Billy J. McCain Sr. Memorial Award is named after the late Billy J. McCain Sr. who was a former president of the Region 4 Head Start Association and is described as a passionate advocate for children, families, and communities served by Head Start and Community Action.

McCain was known for his commitment to elevating the quality of life for low-income families in the Mississippi Delta, and placing national poverty issues at the forefront of political thought and social policy.

McCain served on its board of directors until his death in 2009.

The award is given annually to an individual who embodies the spirit and dedication of McCain who is seen as a Head Start and Community Action pioneer, and whose leadership and advocacy on behalf of the Head Start community has been exemplary.

Embry said that he respects the leadership there under Cheaha Regional Director Dora Jones that allows the program to run efficiently and fulfill its purpose to serve children and families in the community.

“My motivation is the children and watching them grow and develop,” Embry said. “That’s my drive and passion for it, to work with the children.”

In 2009, Embry also received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Region 4 Head Start Association.

Embry said that his business background and financial expertise, especially on the Cheaha Regional Head Start executive board, has proven to be beneficial, especially when it comes to ensuring the program has what it needs to serve the community.

“I think it’s very easy for me to understand what they do at Cheaha Regional Head Start because they’re in the same business of educating children as the Talladega County Board of Education because they have the commitment and passion for children to develop the skills they need to be productive citizens,” Embry said.

The Cheaha Regional Head Start Program is a division of the Talladega Clay Randolph Childcare Corporation.

It has provided 29 years of service for Head Start children and families, and 11 years of service for children from birth to the age of three and expectant families.

Cheaha Regional Head Start serves 898 children and families in the six-county funded area for Head Start children and families ages three to five.

Embry said that Cheaha Regional Head Start is playing a key role in the communities it serves.

He especially enjoys seeing success stories happen right before his eyes, especially when he meets children that have gone through the program and are applying for Head Start scholarships to go to college.

“The best part is watching them grow and develop into young men and women,” Embry said.

“I think Head Start is enhancing what’s already there and it’s giving children an opportunity that they otherwise wouldn’t have had,” Embry said.

“I hope to continue to serve on the executive board as long as they will have me.”

Embry will be notified if he is chosen as the regional award recipient for the ceremony in February, and could possibly advance to the national level for the award.

Contact Aziza Jackson at ajackson@dailyhome.com.

© 2012