Executive Director

Marla M. Dean, Ed.D

Marla M. Dean, Ed.D
(202) 842-9090

Marla M. Dean is a passionate educator and community leader committed to the success and development of children and families in underserved communities. A veteran school administrator with proven leadership, Dean currently serves as Executive Director of Bright Beginnings- a community based nonprofit that operates early childhood and family development centers for children and families experiencing homelessness in Washington, D.C. Dean has specific expertise in the whole child approach, turnaround school leadership, high expertise teaching, continuous improvement, and data-driven instruction and is strong advocate for excellence and equity in education. In her current role, she is fast becoming one of the nation’s leading voices in ending childhood homelessness and advocating for the holistic advancement of families experiencing homelessness from a place of mutual respect and compassion, rather than a lens of deficit and privilege.

As an educator and administrator, Dr. Dean has worked in a number of educational settings including magnet schools, alternative schools and comprehensive neighborhood schools. Prior to joining the team at Bright Beginnings, Dean served as executive associate principal at TC Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia; turnaround principal of Drew Freeman Middle School in Prince George’s County, Maryland; and Executive Director of Schools for Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools in Washington, DC. A native of Detroit, Michigan, Dean spent ten years in Detroit Public School District as a high school English and social studies teacher.

Dean completed her doctoral work in educational leadership and organizational theory at the University of Pennsylvania. She holds a Master of Arts degree in teaching and learning and a Bachelor’s of Arts in political science from the University of Michigan. She also holds the Education Specialist Certificate in educational leadership from Michigan State University.

Dr. Dean has earned numerous recognitions for her work. During her tenure in the Detroit Public School District, she received the district’s highest distinction as Educator of the Year. In 2011, she received the Community Service Award by the Board of Education of Prince George’s County for her commitment to children in the county. As a turnaround principal, Dean’s school was selected as one of only ten schools around the country for the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development’s Whole Child Network of Schools -an initiative which studied the implementation and sustainability of the whole child approach.

Marla is a proud resident of Washington DC’s Ward 7 where she lives in the Penn Branch community with her husband and son, who is currently a junior at Morehouse College in Atlanta.