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Supporting Children & Families

Head Start’s Shannon Tidman Opens New Site Inside High School to Educate Little Ones and Train FutureTeachers

A woman smiles.

By Mark Cheshire

Shannon Tidman, a Catholic Charities’ Head Start teacher in Carroll County, launched a brand-new Head Start site inside a public high school at the beginning of this school year to educate little ones and to help train future teachers.

The program at Westminster High School brings together three-year-olds enrolled in Head Start together with high school students enrolled in childhood development courses. The relationship is mutually beneficial, as both sets of students learn from the other.

We recently caught up with Shannon to talk about the initiative and about what makes teaching at Head Start so special to her. (This interview has been lightly edited for the sake of clarity.)


You previously worked at Head Start before joining the public school system during the covid pandemic. You then returned to Head Start in August 2023. Why did you come back?

I came back because it felt like home.

What makes Head Start feel like home to you?

Just having great management. Everybody feels like family. Everybody cares for each other, and it’s just a great, supportive environment.

What inspired you to open a Head Start site inside Westminster High School in Carroll County?

There’s such a need [for early childhood education] in the community. And having the collaborative relationship with students in the high school who are looking into going into the field, it kind of helps bridge that gap. It helps get more people interested in the field, which is important since there is such a shortage of early childhood educators. It kind of bridges the connection there.

How many students do you have?

We have 15 Head Start students. The number of high school students fluctuates from semester to semester. We currently have five.

Tell me about your collaboration with the high school teacher who heads up the childhood development program [Torry Drummond].

I work really closely with Ms. Drummond. She’s got access to our curriculum, and I share my lesson plan format with her so that they can kind of see and get access to what we’re teaching. That way they can prepare activities they want to do. We’ve kind of given each high school student one child to work with one-on-one so they can plan individual lessons and kind of meet the children where they are with their individualizing learning goals

Why is Head Start so special to you?

At Head Start, we’re helping families and helping children and really individualizing our instruction and service.

What led you to become a teacher?

When I was growing up, my next-door neighbor was a public school teacher. I would always go over to her house and help her get activities ready and, when I was old enough, grade papers. I just kind of went down that path and never changed.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Finksburg, Carroll County. I was born and raised in Carroll County.

Where did you go to high school?

Westminster High School, where I’m working now. The classroom that I am teaching in was my child development classroom when I took the child development classes in high school.*

No way!

Full circle! Yeah, wow.

What do you do when you’re not teaching?

Spend time with my two kids. My oldest turns nine [in May]. My youngest will be eight in August.

Any hobbies?

Reading, and I love to bake.

Teaching is an extremely demanding profession. What keeps you coming back?

Every day is something new. You never know what to expect. The things from the mouths of babes, they just make you laugh. You’re like, did I really just hear that? And then just getting to see them grow and change into little independent people is wonderful.


*Editor’s Note: Shannon earned a bachelor’s degree at Stevenson University and a master’s degree in early childhood education at Liberty University.