Tuesday October 22, 2013
Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) Superintendent Donna Hargens joined Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, students, members of the Unseld family, and community leaders in the dedication of the new George Unseld Early Childhood Learning Center. Unseld was a former JCPS administrator and Metro Councilman and was an active supporter of education.
The Jefferson County Board of Education voted in July 2013 to name the center after Unseld. The facility is home to nearly 400 Early Childhood students in 19 preschool and Head Start classrooms.
Unseld was an influential leader who devoted his time and energy to making the city a better place for his constituents. He advocated for long-standing issues facing the city, such as civilian review of police actions, a living wage for Louisville Metro Government employees, and the Fairness Ordinance. As owner of the Unseld Child Care and Development Center, he was committed to early childhood education and had a great passion for nurturing children.
“It’s fitting then that this new facility is named in George Unseld’s honor,” said Hargens. “This is a place where students—regardless of socioeconomic status—can come to learn so that when they enter kindergarten, they have the same opportunity to succeed as every other student in Jefferson County. Mr. Unseld believed in success for all.”
Hargens also took the time to encourage parents to actively prepare their children for kindergarten. Many students in the state of Kentucky arrive at kindergarten without the basic skills needed to begin learning. Parents can view an important activity booklet at www.jefferson.k12.ky.us/Departments/EarlyChildhood/School_Readiness_Act.pdf.
Unseld grew up in the Newburg neighborhood and was a star athlete at Seneca High School in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He made history in 1967 as Kentucky's first African-American coach at a predominantly white high school when he was named basketball coach at his alma mater. He served JCPS for many years as a teacher and administrator—including director of Academics, Activities, and Athletics.
“Reaching our goal of Louisville being a true city of lifelong learners requires creating a seamless culture of learning that starts in the first days of life and never ends,“ Fischer said. “This center, so aptly named for a great mentor and coach in George Unseld, will help instill that culture in the Newburg area.”
Before his passing in 2010, Unseld was a former director of the NAACP and the Salvation Army Newburg Boys and Girls Club and was a member of the National Conference of Community and Justice and the Greater Louisville Alliance of Black School Educators. He served on the boards of the Presbyterian Community Center and Plymouth Community Renewal Center.