Desirée Brown has over 20 years of education experience in the field of K-12 education. She began this professional journey as a civil servant in the DC Department of Human Services (DHS) advocating on behalf of families who didn't recognize the power of their collective voices in the realm of education.
Desirée's laser-like focus over the years has been on family engagement, special education, technical assistance, training and professional development, and public speaking/facilitation.
Desirée believes that the parent/family voice is essential to the educational outcomes for children and their families. Families can transform the education landscape while impacting the future.
Desirée matriculated from the illustrious Howard University, believing that she would become a scientist. Having a son born prematurely and requiring early intervention and special education services, she soon became a staunch advocate for ensuring that families have access to high-quality services and supports. Experiencing first hand the early intervention and education system treated her family, her path changed. She began to fight to ensure that families, specifically African-American, are a part of the education decision making process.
She is proud of her many accomplishments over the years. She has had a variety of roles and opportunities to work and maintain leadership roles within local government, community-based organizations, projects of national significance, and local education agencies.
She leaves many tools and resources for future families, administrators, and educators can use to strengthen programming, engage, and empower others. The following is a sampling that she has created:
Desirée is featured in and credited as a producer in the following films. She also had the pleasure of creating a resource guide, fact sheet, public awareness campaign, and tools to replicate this programming city-wide.
The Best Me, I Can Be
This film, of which Desirée is credited as a producer and is featured in, highlights the efforts of DC students, parents, and schools to increase the involvement of youth with disabilities in their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and prepare them to take a more active role in planning for
their futures. The five-film modules show how involving students in the IEP process increases student engagement, empowers students to achieve their goals, and prepares youth to transition to adulthood successfully.
Resource: District of Columbia Secondary Transition Website
Let's Talk About it: A Family Perspective
This film features conversations among DC parents who share personal experiences of talking with their children about their disabilities. The film explores the diverse approaches families take to support their students to become involved in the IEP process, set goals for the future, and develop self-advocacy skills.
Get Started Now! Talking About Disabilities
This film shows teachers and students working together in the classroom to explore who they are as individuals in terms of their preferences, strengths, interests, and needs. When students learn self-determination skills and are encouraged to talk about their disabilities with their peers, parents, and
teachers, they take meaningful steps toward achieving their goals.
Desirée is an avid reader, loves music, is an amazing at home chef and baker, has a weakness for dresses and shoes, and is seeking more stamps in her passport. She also believes laughter can cure many an ill, has a Doctorate on her bucket list, and adores her children and family.
As a consultant with Onyx Therapy Group, Desirée looks forward to leveraging her experience, expertise and passion for ensuring that the education community is equipped to increase outcomes for African-
She desires to do right by many and prides herself on ensuring that she navigates working with families in a way that allows for respect and dignity. She knows that there is much more to learn in her field and eagerly stays abreast of best practices and trends.
Don't try to fix our students; fix ourselves first. A good teacher makes a poor student good and a good student superior. When a student fails, we, as teachers, too, have failed. ~ Marva Collins