Home Home Home About Us Home About Us About Us About Us /links/index.html /links/index.html /links/index.html /advertising/index.html /links/index.html /advertising/index.html /advertising/index.html /advertising/index.html About Us About Us /archives/index.html About Us /archives/index.html About Us /archives/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /links/index.html /survey/index.html /links/index.html /links/index.html /links/index.html
Home About Us About Us /links/index.html /advertising/index.html /advertising/index.html
About Us /archives/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /links/index.html










Camps & Sports


Children’s Corner

Collected Features


Cover Stories

Distance Learning


Famous Interviews


Medical Update

Metro Beat

Movies & Theater


Music, Art & Dance

Special Education

Spotlight On Schools

Teachers of the Month


















New York City
October 2002

Dean Series:
Teachers College Dean Plans Higher Profile for Institution

by Merri Rosenberg

Mrs. Baker would be very proud.

Darlyne Bailey, the recently appointed Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Teachers College, is quick to acknowledge the many mentors and influences in her life who’ve helped her achieve her stunning professional success.

One in particular stands out: Dean Bailey’s much beloved and admired kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Baker.

“She was awesome,” said Dean Bailey, affection and gratitude shading her words. “Mrs. Baker told me that I should pay attention to my voice, because other little kids paid attention when I spoke. She said it was one of the gifts I had and that I should know that. For me, she modeled what the perfect teacher is, someone who believes that everyone is born with a gift.”

During an energetic and far-ranging one-hour conversation, it quickly became clear that Dean Bailey gets what education is about. That, at its core, it’s about that magic relationship between one particular teacher, and one particular student, that “allows everyone to feel valued and valuable, and able to be their most authentic self,” as Dean Bailey said. “It’s about finding ways to bring out the best in people, and help them succeed. When I’m meeting with someone, I want every single person to know that they are most important to me.”

That philosophy has imbued Dean Bailey’s activities since she arrived at the Morningside Heights campus eight and a half months ago, as the first African-American woman to sit in the Dean’s chair at Teachers College. During this time, she has been pursuing a “listen and learn” strategy, meeting with her colleagues among the students, faculty, staff and community to understand more completely the strengths and resources of what is widely acknowledged as the premier graduate education program in the country.

“I really take this job as a service, with the idea of leadership in service,” Dean Bailey said. “I see the faculty, students, staff, emeriti faculty, alumni board and community as stakeholders here, with a vested interested in our presence. I believe that my job is to make sure the work of the college endures. It’s like the Native American philosophy, that says we’re building for seven generations to come.”

Not surprising, perhaps, for someone trained in social work and organizational behavior and who has, since 1994 until arriving at Teachers College, been Dean and Professor at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at

Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Dean Bailey also held a secondary appointment in that university’s Weatherhead School of Management.

“My job is to serve,” Dean Bailey insisted. “Deaning has been most humbling. You can’t be a leader without people believing you’re a leader. People have to want to work with you, and you have to have the ability to know when to get out of the way.”

Like the student-centered classrooms, which she champions, Dean Bailey fervently believes, almost as a doctrine of faith, that “everybody is a teacher/learner. You create a place where students know their ideas are valued. Education has to be reciprocal. I left the world of teaching when I felt that teachers weren’t embracing the whole child in the context of his/her community, and I went into the field of social work. I think I’ve always looked at the world this way, that no one profession can do it alone. Social work and education are vehicles to change the social condition.”

Towards that end, Dean Bailey is building bridges throughout the immediate neighborhood, among the various Teachers College groups, within Columbia University itself, and in New York City at large. Within the local community, for example, she is emphatic that Teachers College not come in as the ‘expert,’ but rather as a listening partner to understand what the community really needs and how Teachers College can best serve those needs. Besides working closely with the local public school district, Teachers College has recently started working with a small Catholic elementary school in the area, St. Charles Borromeo. Dean Bailey has been meeting with the Teachers College alumni council, and recently launched a Dean’s Alumni Advisory Group as well.

She has also met with New York City’s new chancellor, Joel Klein, to discuss proposals and strategies that would enable the city’s Department of Education to benefit from Teachers College expertise and resources. As one example, Dean Bailey cited the recent change in the recruitment schedule–by the time New York City recruits at Teachers College and elsewhere, many of the most promising candidates have already been hired by competing suburban districts.

Teachers College, with its Peace Corps Fellows program, Teachers Institute, Principals Fellowship program, and other programs, is well poised to share its plentiful resources with both the local community, and the larger New York City community.

“There are pockets that know what we do,” said Dean Bailey. “But Teachers College needs to be much more visible. When we’re more visible, we can be more impactful. We’re considering the question of how can we put together a college wide plan, and go to the Mayor and Chancellor saying, ‘this is what TC can do. You’ve got problems. We’ve got solutions.’”

Dean Bailey is also looking to expand Teachers College’s relationships with other graduate schools within Columbia University, as well as with other New York City schools of education, and is excited about their newly formed alliance.

It’s clear that Dean Bailey is used to breaking barriers, something she does with apparent ease. During her tenure as Dean at Case Western Reserve (where she was also the first African-American woman, and the youngest, to hold that position), Dean Bailey chaired the governing body of the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations where one of her most significant accomplishments was facilitating a new outcomes-oriented curriculum. Dean Bailey also chaired the governing body of the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations.

Although born in Harlem, her family moved to Englewood, New Jersey, where she and her younger sister were among the first African- American students to move through a newly desegregated public school system. Dean Bailey entered Lafayette College as one of the first women (as well as one of the first African-Americans), and early on learned to deal with both racism and sexism.

Not surprising, then, that Dean Bailey has thought carefully about diversity, and its importance both in the classroom, and in Teachers College.

“If you don’t pay attention to the voice of the other, then everyone loses,” she said.

Still, what resonates most deeply with Dean Bailey is a profound love of education.

“My mother told my sister and me that we could do anything we wanted to do,” said Dean Bailey. “She told us that we were a mixture of all God’s good things, and that has kept me both humble and proud. I come from a family of strong people–my father worked three jobs–and strong women, who believed in education. My mother is a very strong woman, and I feel I’m genetically predisposed to taking on hard stuff.” Dean Bailey’s sister is a middle school physical education teacher.

“Everything I’ve ever done in my life has led me to this,” Dean Bailey said. “I believe that things happen in the right way at precisely the right time.”#

City, State:

Education Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001.
Tel: (212) 481-5519. Fax: (212) 481-3919.Email: ednews1@aol.com.
All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express consent of the publisher. © 2002.