Executive Director

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

Virtually, 30 years of teaching and educational leadership throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland, Michigan, and Virginia, Marla is leader in the two generational and whole child approachesDr. Dean believes in educating the whole child with excellence and equity, 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. 

Over a decade, of educational leadership in non-profit experience, Marla is most proud of her 10 years of teaching experience in Detroit Public Schools; Marla educated students from comprehensive neighborhoods in English and Government, in both alternative and magnet high school settings. 

Marla attended The University of Michigan, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science as well as, her Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning. Marla 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. 

Dr. Dean has been nationally recognized and awarded for her dedication for providing education. Serving as turnaround principal, in 2012, Marla’s middle school was selected out of ten schools internationally to participate in the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development’s Whole Child Network of Schools.  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.  

In 2013, Marla received the Community Service Award, presented by the Board of Education of Prince George’s County, for her commitment to children. Shortly after, in 2017, Marla was awarded the Grassroots Award from the D.C. Federation of Civic Associations, Inc. She also received the Outstanding Service Award from the Change Create Transform Foundation.  In 2018, Marla was named a CityBridge Foundation Education Innovation Entrepreneur Fellow. 

Marla is a proud Ward 7 citizen, she resides in the Penn-Branch community of Southeast DC with her husband and son, who is a senior at Morehouse College.   Dr. Dean serves as the legislative chair for Ward 7 Education Council, corresponding secretary for the Dupont Park Civic Association, as well as the former Education Chair for the PennBranch Citizens Civic Association. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., where she serves on the Social Action Committee. Marla has served as the Eastern Region Program Manager for the Delta Research and Education Foundation’s Delta Teacher Efficacy Campaign (DTEC) and the 2017-2019 DCPS Strategic Advisory Committee. Most recently, Dr. Dean was selected for Leadership Greater Washington – Class of 2020 and by Mayor Bowser to serve on the Thrive by Five Coordinating Council.