News

Porter-Leath’s Early Childhood Academy Hosts Grand Opening Celebration

MEMPHIS, Tennessee –Porter-Leath recently announced the Grand Opening Celebration and ribbon cutting for its Early Childhood Academy, to be held at 628 Alice Avenue on Friday, February 10 at 1:00 p.m. The Academy is a state-of-the-art preschool and teacher training institute that will provide comprehensive early childhood education and support services for 224 students as well as professional training and development for preschool teachers and educators across the early childhood landscape in Memphis.

The Early Childhood Academy

Designed by national early learning facility specialist RDG Planning and Design, the 16-classroom, 32,000-square-foot facility weaves local culture, history and geography into safe, inviting spaces that encourage play and exploration. Its child-friendly architecture utilizes natural light, lush landscapes and bright colors that enrich learning opportunities. The facility will serve 224 students and their families combined between Early Head Start and Head Start components.

The Teacher Excellence Program

In addition to the Preschool, The Academy will also include a laboratory teacher training center to equip early childhood educators with valuable skills that enhance teacher effectiveness, increase student achievement, and maximize classroom and family engagement. Developed in partnership with Shelby County Schools, the Teacher Excellence Program utilizes instructional coaches to provide continual professional development opportunities for early childhood educators.

Executive Leadership

Rafel Hart joined Porter-Leath in July 2016 as the Vice President of its Teacher Excellence Program, where he and partners have administered the program's design, implementation and evaluation. Hart will supervise the program’s launch and continued development.

"The Early Childhood Academy is our next step towards revitalizing the Shelby County early childhood education system,” said Sean Lee, President of Porter-Leath. “In the last two years, our dedicated educators have more than doubled the kindergarten readiness rate for children in poverty. The Early Childhood Academy will continue that work as we progress to ensuring every child enters school ready to learn. We look forward to making a meaningful and lasting impact on children and families in the Mid-South."

About Porter-Leath

For over 160 years, Porter-Leath has been the primary resource for Memphis' at-risk children and families. By focusing on the essential building blocks of healthy development, Porter-Leath not only gives them access to the tools they need, but also a sense of hope. Porter-Leath helps build stronger children, stronger families and a stronger Memphis through the mission of empowering children and families to achieve a healthy, optimal and independent lifestyle. For more information, visit or contact at 901-577-2500 or rhughes@porterleath.org.