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District 202 to dedicate new Ina Brixey early childhood center

District 202 will dedicate its newest standalone early childhood center and celebrate its namesake on Tuesday, August 20, 2019.

A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. to officially open the Ina Brixey Center, located in the garden level at the Heritage Professional Center in downtown Plainfield, 24023 Lockport Street. A short reception with light refreshments will follow.

The facility is named for one of District 202’s first early childhood teachers and a close friend with Bonnie McBeth, for whom the district’s original early learning center is named.

Ina Brixey taught kindergarten from 1969 until her retirement in 2004. Since then she served as a trustee and advisory board member on the Plainfield Foundation for Excellence, a non-profit fundraising organization.

In her Foundation role, Brixey has helped oversee the Bonnie McBeth Early Learning Scholarship that McBeth endowed in 2007 to help early childhood teachers continue their professional development

“We are very happy and honored to name our newest early childhood center after Mrs. Brixey,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lane Abrell.

“When we thought about it, it made perfect sense given her lifelong passion for early childhood education, her continuing work to support our littlest learners and their teachers and her special relationship with Bonnie McBeth,” Abrell said.

The Ina Brixey Center will house about 120 District 202 preschoolers in a space that was specially redesigned and built for this purpose.

“This new facility is perfect for preschoolers,” said Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Mina Griffith. “It is bright, colorful and airy and has a lot of open space. Students here will get all the same resources and services as they would get at Bonnie McBeth,” she said.

It is a key part of the district’s longer-term plan to provide full-day kindergarten to all eligible students in the next few years.

Currently, Bonnie McBeth students are housed at both the main facility and several “satellite” facilities located in schools around the district. Moving some students to the Ina Brixey Center will free up space needed for full-day kindergarten.

Brixey thanked the district for naming the new center after her.

“I was fortunate to have spent my entire teaching career in such a fine district where early childhood education has been respected and valued since 1951 when Bonnie McBeth became the district's first kindergarten teacher,” Brixey said. 

“I am deeply touched to have my name linked with this place where dedicated, caring and highly trained early childhood educators bring the joy and wonder of learning to life for their students in countless ways each day,” she said.