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avatar for Dr. Marla Dean

Dr. Marla Dean

Bright Beginnings, Inc.
Executive Director/CEO
Marla M. Dean is a native Detroiter. Since 2007, she has lived in the DMV area. She attended The
University of Michigan for both her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and her Master of Arts in
Teaching and Learning. She also holds an Education Specialist from Michigan State University in
Educational Leadership. Finally, Marla completed her doctorate work at University of Pennsylvania in
Educational Leadership and Organizational Theory.

Marla has over 25 years in teaching and educational leadership in District of Columbia, Maryland,
Michigan, and Virginia. She is proud of her 10 years of teaching experience in Detroit Public Schools
where she taught high school English and government in the comprehensive neighborhood, alternative
and magnet high school settings.

Marla believes in educating the whole child with excellence and equity by ensuring each and every child
is healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged. She is a committed, passionate, and resolved
advocate who believes in the potential of all children. With over 15 years of educational leadership
experience, Marla has served in the capacity of assistant principal executive associate principal,
turnaround principal and high school principal. Most recently, Marla served in the role of Executive
Director of Schools for a network of charter schools located in Washington, D.C.

Currently, Marla is the Executive Director/CEO of Bright Beginnings Inc., a non-profit, community based
organization that operates early childhood and family learning centers for children and families
experiencing homelessness in Washington, D.C. The mission of Bright Beginnings is employ a two
generation approach to:
• Provide children with a safe, nurturing educational environment;
• Prepare children to enter kindergarten ready to learn; and
• Support parents experiencing homelessness to stabilize their home lives and become selfsufficient.

Marla has received numerous recognitions including the 2013 Community Service Award by the Board of
Education of Prince George’s County for her commitment to children and the 2017 Grassroots Award
from the D.C. Federation of Civic Associations, Inc.. As a turnaround principal, Marla’s middle school
was selected as one of ten schools internationally to participate in the Association of Supervision and
Curriculum Development’s Whole Child Network of Schools. In 2012, ASCD established the Whole Child
Network of Schools to assess the implementation and sustainability of the ASCD Whole Child approach
to education, which aims to establish an environment that best helps students learn and achieve.

Marla is a proud Ward 7 resident where she lives in the PennBranch community of southeast DC with
her husband and son, who is a senior at Morehouse College. There, she serves as the legislative chair
for Ward 7 Education Council and corresponding secretary for the Dupont Park Civic Association. She is a
member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. where Marla served as the Eastern Region Program Manager
for the Delta Research and Education Foundation’s Delta Teacher Efficacy Campaign (DTEC)