She replaces outgoing director Mary Main, who served USD for 25 years before retiring earlier this year.
As director, Stewart will oversee operations of Head Start Pre-Birth through Five at USD in four counties, 55 staff and federal grants.
Stewart received her bachelor of arts degree in elementary education with an early childhood endorsement from USD and is currently pursing a master of science in administrative studies at USD.
Before being hired as director of the Head Start program, Stewart served as education and disabilities coordinator, and assistant director of the Head Start program at USD.
"I am very pleased to be working as the director of the Head Start Pre-Birth through Five program," said Stewart. "The wonderful program staff, as well as the partnership and resources available through the university have been a great support to our program."
Head Start Pre-Birth through Five is a federally funded, comprehensive, community-based program that serves expectant women and children ages 0-5 and their families.
Their mission is to work with families recognizing their unique characteristics, cultural values and strengths and collaborate with communities to provide comprehensive services.