Denise Conkright

Executive Director 1999-2017


Conkright Leaves Lasting Imprint on PACT and Head Start Families

Summer 2017 - After serving in the Head Start world for over 30 years, Denise Conkright, Executive Director of PACT resigned her Executive Director position this Spring. She will be consulting for the program to ensure a smooth transition.  Denise is a visionary leader and moved PACT forward in the areas of early childhood and social services on the local, state and Federal levels during her 18-years as director. Her commitment to families, children and staff of west central Illinois has shaped our programs in every county and center.

Denise’s work with young families and staff at PACT began over 30 years ago, when she was a parent in the program, and a Policy Council member. She was quickly recognized as a top candidate for a home-based teacher position, and moved up in the program to manager. She held management positions in eligibility and enrollment areas, recruitment of children and families, social services, parent involvement, and transportation. She was promoted to Head Start Coordinator, and then to Executive Director in 1999.

During her tenure, PACT began services to children under 3-years old and pregnant women, and expanded home-based and center-based programming for this age group to the whole service area. PACT expanded center-based services under her direction, and now operates five centers and offices at three community locations, in eight counties.

Her work has also reached out beyond PACT to the state level, where she has worked on the Illinois Head Start Association Board of Directors numerous terms, serving as President in 2013-15. She has also worked with many task force groups, non-profit organization boards, and community groups to promote families of young children, as well as the staff who work with them.

The philosophy has always been to recognize parents as the first and most important teacher in their children’s lives, and to assist parents to develop their relationship with their children so that they can succeed academically and as life-long learners. Denise has inspired many parents and employees to careers in early childhood education and social services through her exemplary work and high expectations for herself and the people around her.

In August the staff, board, and policy council held a luncheon during pre-service week to honor Denise and her accomplishments. The PACT family wishes her well in future endeavors.  PACT looks forward to continuing partnerships with community organizations and schools to serve the children and families that benefit from Head Start programs. Contact our Administrative Office in Mt. Sterling, IL, at 217-773-3903, to obtain information about our services and programs.


Field Trip Packs

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has developed a new resource available to Early Childhood educators.  For more information, go to:  Field Trip Packs



PACT/WIU Child Care Center is awarded accreditation through the National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs (NAC)

The National Accreditation Commission (NAC) for Early Care and Education Programs announced 7/28/14 that PACT WIU Child Care Center in Macomb, Illinois, has been awarded Accreditation.

As an Accredited center, PACT WIU Child Care Center has been recognized as an early care and education program exemplifying excellence in the care of young children. PACT/WIU Child Care Center provides a high quality program for children that is conducive to their individual growth and development that exceeds state licensing requirements. This 3-year accreditation is the 2nd one awarded to the Center; the first was in 2011.

The accreditation process included a self-study process in which administrators, staff, and parents evaluated the program in accordance with Accreditation standards. Then an onsite observation was conducted at the Center by an early childhood professional. Based on these two processes, the Macomb Center was awarded accreditation the NAC for Early Care and Education. All parents, staff, and administrators are to be congratulated for achieving this level of excellence.

The PACT WIU Child Care Center also provides child care for WIU students and staff. Head Start and Early Head Start are federally funded programs designed to encourage the healthy development of young children. Call 1-800-443-7228 or go to for more information. The NAC for Early Care and Education Programs is sponsored by the Association for Early Learning Leaders, a national leader among associations serving child care owners, directors and administrators. The organization’s goal is to strengthen and enhance the skills and knowledge of leaders in the field of early child care and education by providing membership services and benefits. For more info, please visit


PACT Accepts Applications Year-Round

PACT for West Central Illinois accepts applications on an ongoing basis during the year.  PACT serves pregnant women and children ages birth to five years, who live in Brown, Cass, Hancock, McDonough, Pike, Schuyler, Scott, and rural Adams counties in West Central Illinois.  If you know of families that have children under five years old, that will not be attending kindergarten in the fall, contact us today.

Eligibility for Head Start and Early Head Start is based on income.  Ten percent of the enrollment slots are reserved for children with special needs, regardless of income.  If a family has a child under five years old with a special need, PACT will complete an application regardless of income level.  The program is at no cost to those who qualify.

You can get more information about the PACT program by clicking the red 'APPLY FOR HEADSTART' button on the right-hand side of this web page, and completing the online form that is then provided.  If you have further questions, call Mary Dunmire at 217-773-3903 or 1-800-443-PACT; or you may e-mail to