Marygrove Early Childhood Education Center names first principal

Starfish Family Services has named Celina Byrd as its first principal of the Marygrove Early Childhood Education Center set to open this fall on the former Marygrove College campus.

The center, which broke ground in November 2019, is taking shape as part of a cradle-to-career education concept on the northwest Detroit campus.

The Troy-based Kresge Foundation committed $50 million to the concept and efforts in the surrounding neighborhood and led development of the campus plan. It spurred creation of the Marygrove Conservancy in 2018 to keep the campus from going dark and the P-20 plan with partners including the Marygrove Conservancy, Starfish Family Services, Detroit Public Schools Community District and the University of Michigan School of Education.

Byrd, who joined Starfish in 2014, has led the Marygrove ECE project for Starfish as project director for the last two years, overseeing curriculum development, budgets and program plans, while building strong relationships with partners in the community and on the campus.

Prior to that, she served as director of early childhood for three years.

Before joining Starfish, Byrd was an early childhood education center provider and owner in Detroit and an instructor and tutor for Corinthian Colleges.

She will oversee a staff of up to 40 at the new Marygrove ECE. The 28,000-square-foot center is expected to serve 144 Detroit children up to age 5.

“Celina’s grounding in both educational leadership and business makes her the ideal choice to lead this foundational effort,” Starfish CEO Ann Kalass said in a release.

“Her commitment to family and community empowerment is unwavering, and her excitement for the project vision is infectious, making her the ultimate ambassador for families, Starfish, and Marygrove.”

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