Executive Director

Bright Beginnings is dedicated to meeting the immediate needs of children and families experiencing homelessness.

Dr. Marla Dean, a passionate educator and community leader, is the current Executive Director of Bright Beginnings. Dr. Dean is committed to the success and development of children and families in underserved communities.

Dr. Dean is a native Detroiter.  Since 2007, she has lived in the Metropolitan Washington, D.C area. With nearly, 30 years in teaching and educational leadership in District of Columbia, Maryland, Michigan, and Virginia. Dr. Dean is a leader in the two generational and whole child approaches.

She 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.  

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 Networkof 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. In 2018, Marla was named a CityBridge Foundation Education Innovation Entrepreneur Fellow.

Marla 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 studies at University of Pennsylvania in Educational Leadership and Organizational Theory.

 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) and a member of the DCPS Strategic Advisory Committee.