MCLA Alum Recognized Commonwealth Heroine as Child Care Leader in Pittsfield

August 17, 2022

MCLA alum and Berkshire County Head Start Executive Director Brett Westbrook was selected to be one of the 2022 Commonwealth Heroines by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women last month. 

Westbrook was presented with a proclamation by Senator Adam Hinds from the House of Representatives and Senate as well as a proclamation from the city of Pittsfield from Council President Peter Marchetti. She is one of over 100 women who were honored for the 19th annual honorary class under the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. 

“I was so honored to be selected to receive this award. I was also surprised. It feels good to know that Senator Adam Hinds and Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier consider me worthy of the Commonwealth Heroine recognition,” Westbrook said. “I have a great deal of respect for the work that they do to provide support for the family service and childcare industry.

Westbrook received a Bachelor's Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Children, Families, and Society through the College's Degree Completion program in 2015 and serves more than 350 children at the Head Start program. Westbrook started at the program in 2018 as the Executive Director and prior to that worked as a program manager at the Family Resource Center. 

If Westbrook hadn’t had the opportunity to complete her bachelor’s degree at MCLA, she said she’s not sure she would be where she is today. 

“Participating in the MCLA cohort model allowed me to complete my degree while working full time and caring for my daughter who was a baby at the time. I can’t imagine that I would have been able to manage it all without the support of my cohort classmates and professors. Accomplishing my degree in the cohort gave me the confidence that I needed to pursue and obtain the leadership positions that I’ve held in the past and continue to hold as the Executive Director of Berkshire County Head Start,” she said.

Westbrook is very involved in her community and has contributed beyond childcare services. She serves on Mayor Linda Tyer's American Rescue Plan Act Advisory Council, the Community Development Advisory Committee at Greylock Federal Credit Union, and the Department of Transitional Assistance Advisory Committee, in strategic planning for the Berkshire Community Action Council, and on the state Department of Children and Families Advisory Committee.

“This achievement really confirms for me that I chose the right path to serve my community. It inspires me to continue to develop as a leader and to keep working to help build a strong network of support for children and families in our community to thrive,” Westbrook said.

Future goals for Westbrook include expanding her community participation efforts that support strengthening programs for families in the community and letting those be heard who are directly impacted by her work. 

“The best part about my job is seeing the positive outcomes for children and families. I love having the opportunity to be involved in community initiatives and be a part of collective efforts to build a resilient and vibrant community,” she said.

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