The Westchester Children’s Museum has announced that Beverly McAllister, Director of the Westchester Children’s Museum “Museum Without Walls” Education Program, is the 2014 recipient of the prestigious Milton A. Williams, Jr. Scholars in Education Award. Ms. McAllister will be honored on Friday, May 9 at the Westchester Children’s Museum’s annual benefit gala – the first to be held on site in the Museum’s future home at the Playland Bathhouse in Rye, NY.
The Milton A. Williams, Jr. Scholars in Education Award recognizes the invaluable role that teachers play in the lives of children and honors recipients for their positive impact on education. The award was created in partnership with Helen Williams in memory of her late husband Milton Williams, Jr., father of Westchester resident actress and performer Vanessa Williams, who serves on WCM’s Advisory Board. Mr. Williams was a beloved music teacher and administrator for 43 years at the Alice E. Grady Elementary School in Elmsford. The award honors Mr. William’s legacy as an educator and encourages others in the field to grow in their teachings and continue learning along the way.
“Milton was a mentor of not only music, but of life. Aside from teaching, he was a Boy Scout Troop Leader, a Millwood Fire Commissioner, and member of the Elmsford Rotary Club, among other things,” said Helen, herself a former educator in the Ossining school district for 37 years. “Milton had an insatiable thirst for learning and for sharing his knowledge with others. He was dedicated to teaching whenever he had the opportunity and was truly passionate about education in all its forms.”
“Bev McAllister has a long and vibrant career in the education field in Westchester County,” continued Ms. Williams. “Her record of leadership and mentoring other professionals, development of dynamic programs for young children, and experience leading a team of educators in developing and delivering museum related programs to diverse communities makes her an outstanding honoree to carry on Milton’s legacy of lifelong learning.”
Beverly McAllister, an educator and education administrator in Westchester for over 30 years, is currently the Program Coordinator of the Museum Without Walls, the highly successful interactive education program developed by the Westchester Children’s Museum to fulfill its educational mission until the bricks and mortar museum opens its doors in 2015. Previously, Ms. McAllister was Executive Director of Kids’ B.A.S.E. & The Little School in Scarsdale; Director of the Reformed Church Nursery School in Broxville; Director of Ridgway Nursery School & Kindergarten in White Plains; and a classroom teacher for many years prior. Ms. McAllister lives in Larchmont with her husband Harmon who is also an educator and a Museum Without Walls team member.
The Museum Without Walls provides interactive art and science programs to elementary school age children primarily in communities that need it most. Under the leadership of Ms. McAllister, the Museum Without Walls, launched in mid 2010, has reached more than 11,000 students in more than 40 community organizations across the region, including the Carver Center of Port Chester; the Boys & girls Clubs of New Rochelle, Greenwich and Northern Westchester; YMCAs in White Plains, Rye, and Tarrytown; Lois Bronz Children’s Center, and Lanza Learning Center. Ms. McAllister coordinates the programming for the partner organizations with a team of nearly 20 educators and career professionals in the arts, sciences, and early childhood education.
Museum Without Walls programs are funded by corporate, foundation, and individual donations. Leadership support from Wells Fargo as well as Rye, NY’s Nan and Lear Beyer, a Managing Director of Wells Fargo, enabled the program to get off the ground and continue to grow. Other support comes from Con Edison; Entergy, Junior Leagues of Greenwich, Pelham and Westchester on the Sound; the Lego Children’s Fund; the York Children’s Foundation; and the TD Charitable Foundation.
Set to open in 2015, the Westchester Children's Museum will offer exhibits that are designed to encourage imagination, play, and interactive learning. Exhibit design professionals have been hard at work creating a unique learning space, one that reflects the particular interests of our children and our community. The Campaign for the Westchester Children’s Museum is in the midst of a $10 million capital campaign to get the museum’s doors open in the next 24 months. The architectural and exhibit design phases are complete, and construction documents are ready to go out for bid. With architectural and engineering teams are in place, all that remains is to raise the necessary funds to begin construction.