Our History

Bright Beginnings is a Family Affair

Bright Beginnings is the fulfillment of a dream. Shirley Herndon, the director and co-owner, retired from the Wake County Public School System following a rewarding 32 year career as a teacher and assistant principal. During her tenure, Shirley came to realize that her most confident and successful students shared one thing in common – early in their lives they were lovingly taught, encouraged, and often challenged by a variety of new exposures and learnings.

Her experiences became her motivation for creating a haven where preschool children could “jumpstart” a new lifetime of learning before stepping into the new world of elementary education. Along with her co-owner husband, also an educator with 38 years of experience as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal, she opened her labor of love, Bright Beginnings Child Development Center, in May of 2000.

A mother and grandmother, Shirley’s philosophy is founded on one simple premise, that all children have strengths. The goal of Bright Beginnings is to help children begin to discover their strengths and interests through a variety of playful, social, and instructional interactions.

A grandmother’s loving touch combined with an educator’s thirst for teaching . . . a combination that makes Bright Beginnings the place “Where love and learning go hand in hand.”

Master Teacher

Bright Beginnings was inspired by a woman who dedicated her life to brightening the days of countless children. With an ever-present smile and a gentle touch, Bertha Scott Herndon, the “Master Teacher”, taught elementary education in the Chatham County Public School system for 38 years. Her love of teaching influenced her three children to follow in her footsteps and become educators, as well.

As a testament to Bertha’s vast impact, Bright Beginnings was erected on her Cary, N.C. property in 2000. Although she departed this life in November of 2002, Bertha Scott Herndon’s legacy will forever live on at Bright Beginnings Child Development Center.

Family Affair

Unlike franchised childcare and preschool establishments, co-owners, Leon and Shirley Herndon founded Bright Beginnings with family in mind. Their incentive is not return on the bottom line. Their careers in education have steered them to make a difference in this world by providing children with a place and path to excel to their highest level of social and intellectual potential.

Two of their children, Lisa Ware and Linwood Herndon, play prominent roles at Bright Beginnings as Assistant Director and Marketing Director, respectively. In addition, over the years, all of their grandchildren have attended Bright Beginnings.

The boundaries of the “family”, however, extend far beyond Leon and Shirley’s children and grandchildren. All students, parents, and staff are considered a part of the Bright Beginnings family and are welcomed with smiles and hugs. The approach is simple . . . the more inviting and family-like the environment, the more productive and successful all children will be.