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Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning Names Annie Papero as Director of its First Cost-Free Early Childhood Resource Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania

Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning (CHS) today announced the appointment of early childhood education expert, Annie Papero, as the Director of CHS Hershey, the School’s first Early Childhood Resource Center. CHS Hershey will serve children from birth to age 5 from economically disadvantaged and at-risk backgrounds as part of a $350 million initiative to initially develop six cost-free centers in Pennsylvania.

Papero brings decades of experience in child development and a passion for creating opportunities for young learners. With significant expertise leading early learning programs and a distinguished career teaching early childhood education at the university level, she is uniquely qualified to lead CHS at the early stages of the initiative and build an engaging team at CHS Hershey.

“Annie is an inspirational and gifted advocate for children’s needs during the formative years and sees child development as more than just meeting educational requirements and milestones,” said Senate Alexander, Executive Director of CHS. “I cannot think of anyone better to welcome and partner with the children and families of CHS Hershey, and am confident that, through Annie’s leadership, CHS will create brighter futures for everyone in the community.”

Annie Papero

Prior to accepting her new role at CHS Hershey, Papero served as the head of lower school and preschool at the Sayre School in Lexington, Kentucky, where she was responsible for programming for children ages 2 through fourth grade. Among her many duties, she managed student health and safety, curriculum quality, hiring, and coordinating of intervention services. She has also had a distinguished career in academia and research serving as an Assistant Professor in the early childhood education departments at Shippensburg University and James Madison University, and Director of the Lucy Brock Child Development Lab Program at Appalachian State University. Ms. Papero earned a Ph.D. in Child Development from Virginia Tech and a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College.

“I am honored to have this incredible opportunity to come back to Pennsylvania and help expand Catherine and Milton Hershey’s vision. It has become my life’s work helping children reach their full potential and grow their love of learning,” said Papero. “Quality early education can transform lives, and I look forward to working with CHS Hershey children and their families to reach that goal.”

CHS Hershey is currently under construction with an anticipated opening in 2023. Located on the Milton Hershey School campus in Hershey, Pennsylvania, the two-story 50,827 square foot building is being designed with classroom spaces, indoor and outdoor play areas, a STEM garden, innovation studio, and a dedicated family resource center that will offer integrated supports to families of enrolled children. The non-residential, year-round core learning program will have a curriculum that focuses on their educational, social, and emotional development and emphasizes healthy habits, and children will be provided necessary resources such as nutritious meals, transportation, and other needed supplies.

In anticipation of the Center’s opening, CHS is currently hiring for multiple positions, including teachers, family engagement specialists, and operations staff. To support new employees a year-long professional development experience has been designed as a fully paid part of the positions. This innovative approach to training and development will allow staff to increase their knowledge and gain a deeper understanding of the CHS approach to child development and educating students from low-income and at-risk backgrounds. Additionally, staff will work together, establish team dynamics, and collaborate before CHS Hershey opens. Looking ahead to the future, CHS is currently hiring Center Directors to lead the additional five centers planned for initial development.


Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning will provide a cost-free educational, social, and cognitive program to children from birth to age 5 from economically disadvantaged and at-risk backgrounds, through the initial development of up to six Early Childhood Resource Centers across Pennsylvania. The Centers are subsidiaries of Milton Hershey School and will be staffed and operated independently of the Milton Hershey School core model. For more information, visit


Milton Hershey School is one of the world’s best private schools, offering a top-notch education and positive home life to children in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade from families of lower income at no charge. For more information, visit

Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning are subsidiaries of Milton Hershey School and will be staffed and operated independently of the Milton Hershey School core model.

Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.