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The first public school in the central downtown area of Ithaca, New York was built in 1827 at the northwest corner of Geneva and Court Streets. By 1854, it was replaced by the building that was originally called "Central School" at the corner of Albany and Court Streets. Central School was the city's only public elementary school until Fall Creek School opened in the 1860's. The building was remodeled and enlarged in 1880, but then burned to the ground in 1912. It was not replaced until the present GIAC building on North Albany Street was opened in 1923. Several generations of Ithaca children attended elementary school in this new building which was still referred to as "Central School."

In 1931, an adjoining building was constructed on the corner of Buffalo and Albany Street to house Boynton Junior High School. In 1972, when Boynton moved to a newbuilding on Lake Street, Central School moved next door to replace it, and has been there ever since. In 1992, Central School was renamed "Beverly J. Martin Elementary School," in honor of a former student and principal.

Beverly J. Martin, a native of Ithaca, was an inspiration to all who knew her. Her lifelong affiliation with our school began in the 1940's when she attended Central School as an elementary school student. She graduated from Ithaca High School in 1953, having been elected Senior Class president.

After receiving her college education at Cornell University, Beverly Martin served the Ithaca School District as a teacher for several decades, including six years at Central. Her students and colleagues remember her as a warm and lively person with a great sense of humor, who cared deeply about all children of this district. In 1968, she was named principal of Central School, becoming Ithaca's first African-American school administrator. During the last years of her career, she was the district's Director of Affirmative Action, and was widely known as a leader in that field. She has been recognized for her outstanding accomplishments in multicultural education and diversity training. Her example of leadership with warmth and respect is an inspiration to all who are part of the Beverly J. Martin School community today.

The historical facts included above come from Ithaca's Neighborhoods: The Rhine, The Hill, and The Goose Pasture, edited by Carol U. Sisler, Margaret Hobbie, and Jane Marsh Dieckmann, copyright 1988 by The History Center in Tompkins County

Last Updated ( Thursday, 18 December 2008 )
 
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