Carter to retire

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Sunday afternoon, at the sparkling new Bright Beginnings Preschool and Family Life Center, there will a beginning - the Open House marking the official opening of the center - and an ending.

After many, many years as the director of the Andalusia Housing Authority, Martha Carter is retiring. And while she leaves many legacies in the form of the refurbished and remodeled housing complexes she oversee during her tenure, no legacy pleases her more than this one.

"My greatest joy during my career has been the establishment of the Bright Beginnings Preschool and having a part in the construction of this beautiful facility," said Carter. "It's a dream come true!"

The Preschool began in 1991 when she saw the need to prepare children living in public housing with the skills needed to succeed in public schools.

"So many of our children were behind their peers when they entered school, we needed to do something to help them succeed," she said.

The Board of Commissioners, which included Chairman Willie J. Locke, Herbert H,. Carlisle, Delores Gomez,

Seth Hammett, and W.G. "Bill" King Jr., support Resolution No. 223 to create a preschool program for the children. It also had support from the HUD Area Office in Birmingham.

David Brantley, Superintendent of the Andalusia City Schools at the time, appointed Patricia Gable as the first teacher. Diana Glover was the first Director of Resident Services.

"Our preschool was the first to be established in Alabama Public Housing," said Carter. "I would like to see the day when every housing authority has a preschool."

Since then, two others have started preschool programs in Eufaula and Ozark patterned after Andalusia's. The program has also garnered national recognition.

"I'll never forget going to Washington DC to represent our housing authority and the City of Andalusia for the 'Best Practice Award' from the Secretary of HUD," said