RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Dozens of families are left in limbo after a popular preschool in Brier Creek abruptly closes its doors. Parents say they just found out over the weekend that there would be no more classes at the International Preschool of Raleigh.
Children played outside but couldn’t go into the International Preschool of Raleigh after the school unexpectedly closed down.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Deanna Baker, head of the school.
“I’m very disappointed and hurt, particularly for my kids,” added Terra Ankrah, who has two children at the preschool. “Both of them asked me this morning, ‘Are we going to school?’”
Parents say they found out through e-mail late Saturday night that the school will no longer operate at its location on Godley Lane.
Baker, who says she also just learned of the closure, says the school is owned by a company that operates preschools in China and that company handles all of the finances, including rent, salaries, and tuition collection.
“The company in China, MornWind Education, is the owner of the International Preschool of Raleigh,” Baker said, “I am… I was an employee, as were the teachers.”
Parents say they were drawn to the connection with China, and the international education the school offered.
“It was actually described to us as a benefit because there would be interaction with Chinese children. Mandarin is taught in the school as well as Spanish,” noted Ankrah.
Now, parents aren’t sure what to do. they received a letter from MornWind, describing the company’s financial issues, due to reduced enrollment following the pandemic and the rising cost of rent.
Several parents say they tried to reach out to the company but didn’t receive a response. The North Carolina Secretary of State’s office lists Hongyi Sun as the general manager of the International Preschool of Raleigh. CBS 17 reached out to her by email Sunday evening but had not received a response as of Monday evening.
There were hugs and tears outside the school Monday morning as parents gathered to retrieve their children’s supplies.
Sabrina St. Fleur described the situation as, “Very sad.” She says the school’s nurturing environment has been a source of comfort and stability for her son who has special needs.
“What are we going to do next,” she wondered. “We can look for another school, but it’s not the same. We’ve grown to love this school.”
Baker says she’d like to find another space that would be able to accommodate the 50-60 children who attended the preschool.
She says she and the teachers, who are all suddenly out of jobs, are ready to start a new school on their own if they can find an available space in the area. She asks anyone with this type of space available for rent in the Brier Creek area to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org