- May 2021
Director of Head Start Program
MSU Extension Service
School of Human Sciences
Years in position: 2
Years at MSU: 9
Jamila Taylor is the Director of the Head Start Program in Harrison County where she and her team serve children and their families on the coast in many ways. Her responsibilities include overseeing the entire program and the staff, and responding to community and family needs.
“One thing about Head Start is that we are able to provide intense services for families as well,” Jamila said. “We do family road maps for parents to help them get their GED or go back to school if they want. We want to help them provide for their families as best they can.”
Jamila is an experienced educator, and children are the joy of her job. She says that her drive from Starkville to Gulfport every week is worth it to see that the children are thriving in a happy, healthy, and safe environment.
During her first year, COVID-19 hit the community, yet one of Jamila’s favorite moments was seeing her staff work so hard to provide for the children and for the community. Everyone quickly adapted and did not miss an opportunity to help those in need.
“We were really able to provide for people’s needs during this time,” Jamila said. “No services were left undone. During pick-up lines, parents would pick up learning bags. We transitioned a lot and learned how to operate the program. Even though last year was a hard time, we really were able to address people’s real needs, and I loved that I got to be a part of that, especially in our very first year.”
Jamila has her bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s in business administration as she wanted to help improve the business aspect of the non-profit child care system. The owners were not getting paid themselves after taking care of children, families, and their staff. Jamila saw a need and is currently getting her Ph.D. in educational leadership with a focus in higher education.
Jamila met her husband, State Representative Cheikh Taylor, in Washington D.C, and then they moved to his home state of Mississippi to begin their careers. In her free time, she loves spending time with her family, including her son in high school and her daughter in college.