Springfield Public Schools officially celebrated the naming of the Mallory Early Childhood Center in October. Since opening almost 10 years ago, the facility had been known as Shining Stars Early Childhood Center.
When naming the newly constructed Adah Fulbright Early Childhood Center, the SPS school board agreed it would be appropriate to change the name of Shining Stars and formally recognize another education advocate. That leader was Dr. Arthur Mallory.
Dr. Mallory served as Missouri Commissioner of Education for 18 years. During his tenure, Missouri developed and implemented an early childhood education program that served as a model for other states. In addition, he oversaw the creation and concept of Parents As Teachers, and he guided the development of special education legislation in Missouri.
Outside the main doors to the facility bearing his name, he spoke fondly of his work in education throughout his life and the promises that education provides.
When I look at a school building I see a promise … that in that building the children and young people attending will have a safe and clean place to go to school,” said Dr. Mallory. “We also promise that in that building, we will provide an educational program to suit the needs of all the children of all the people. It is a promise that when a child enters our schools, they are going to find care.”
Long-time friend of Dr. Mallory and Springfield school board member Gerry Lee spoke at the ceremony, reflecting on the Board of Education’s priority to expand services to Springfield’s youngest learners.
“We have tried to demonstrate that commitment by allocating funds and resources for expanding early childhood education,” said Lee. “We hope that this building, bearing Dr. Mallory’s name, will stand as a reminder to each of us to continue this important work.”
Across Springfield Public Schools, nearly 1,200 students receive free, foundational early childhood education at four early childhood centers: Adah Fulbright, Campbell, Shady Dell and Arthur Mallory. In addition, a team of nearly 40 Parents As Teachers educators support more than 2,000 Springfield families as they lay the foundation for academic success from birth.