What Happens When Education Meets Psychology?
Getting to know Felicia DeHaney
From elementary school teacher, to President and CEO of a national advocacy organization, to leading the education and learning efforts of one of the largest philanthropic foundations in the country-Felicia DeHaney has her hands full, but still finds time to serve on the Advisory Board for Lipman Hearne.
Felicia’s path to 2015 has been an inspiring one. Growing up in Long Island, New York, she developed a fondness for education early on, which she attributes to the dedicated teachers and quality education of her elementary school. “Although there weren’t a lot of minority students, the teachers worked really hard to ensure we had a voice and succeeded.” This positive experience generated an appreciation for a child’s infinite possibilities, when provided positive reinforcement and support; and sparked her desire to work with children as a career. She thought it would be on the consulting side, thus she obtained a Ph.D. in educational psychology from Howard University, Washington, D.C. However, her fondness for early childhood learning shifted her focus to teaching during the beginning stages of her career.
As an early childhood teacher, then elementary school teacher and later university adjunct professor, Felicia developed a fervent desire for improvements in childhood education systems for under-served communities. She served on various national and state boards and committees, always advocating for high quality early childhood education for America’s youngest and most vulnerable populations.
As she advanced in her career, Felicia’s passion for this specific area of need, transformed into a lifelong mission. As the Assistant Superintendent of Early Childhood for the state in the District of Columbia, she was the principal advisor to the state superintendent of education, providing leadership and coordination to ensure that all District children, from birth to kindergarten entrance, were well prepared for school. Next Felicia became the President and CEO of the National Black Child Development Institute in Washington, D.C., an organization whose mission is to improve and advance the lives of Black children and their families through education and advocacy. And currently, as the Director of Education & Learning at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Felicia’s influence has widened-she serves as a leader for the execution of the foundation’s strategic framework within Education & Learning systems-thus making a national impact on the education policies and reform for the nation’s most vulnerable communities throughout the U.S. “Vulnerable children and their families are at the center of everything we do. And the organizations and policies we support, surround them with integrated programs that address the comprehensive needs of children, their families and communities so that all children can thrive.”
With a wealth of knowledge and experience working in the non-profit sector, Felicia brings a unique perspective to the Lipman Hearne Advisory Board. Still anchored by her mission to help improve the lives of the less fortunate, she provides valuable insight on how our agency can best help non-profit organizations with their marketing and philanthropic initiatives.