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VALLEY FOCUS | San Fernando

Executive Will Guide Head Start Changes

July 29, 1998|TOM SCHULTZ

Administrators at the Latin American Civic Assn. anticipate reaping the benefits of a program that pairs retired corporate executives with administrators of nonprofit organizations.

Gene Torgow of Northridge, who retired from Hughes Aircraft, is a member of the Executive Service Corp. He will spend the next year mentoring civic association director Irene Tovar as that organization restructures its Head Start program.

The Los Angeles County Office of Education, which oversees the nonprofit agencies that bring Head Start to children around the county, tapped the volunteer group's seasoned members for help in assisting directors like Tovar.

"We can work on very specific problems," Torgow said. "A manager's job is a lonely one. I'm somebody the manager can talk to in confidence."

The federal government funds Head Start to create a quality preschool experience for low-income children. Until recently, the program lasted three hours per day, but the government has mandated changes that call for adding daylong care, parent education and health services.

The Latin American Civic Assn. operates 28 Head Start sites in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, serving 1,400 children, Tovar said.

With the recent changes to Head Start, the association must review its operation and find ways to maintain efficiency, which is where a mentor like Torgow comes in, Tovar said.

"He will see how I organize managing the agency . . . how I can improve."

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