First earning a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in 1984, Darlene D. Brown began her career as a lunchroom playground aid in 1982 and rose through the various ranks of teaching from there. Teaching in the City of Burlington Public School District from 1982 to 2004, she spent many years as a teacher with the Elias Boudinot Elementary School, where she was recognized for her achievements by being presented with the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and named Teacher of the Year. In 2004, she became the vice principal of the Captain James Lawrence Elementary School, a position she held until the was promoted to the position of principal in 2020. During this time, Ms. Brown sought further education and obtained a Master of Arts in educational leadership from Seton Hall University in South Orange in 2007.
As the principal of the Captain James Lawrence Elementary School, which serves grades kindergarten through second grade, Ms. Brown is responsible for everything from general school oversight to supporting and mentoring her entire team of educators and support staff. She also ensures that the curriculum being taught is in line with the New Jersey Student Learning Standards, which encompasses career readiness and life literacy, health and physical education, computer science and design, English language arts, mathematics, sciences, social studies, visual and performing arts, and world languages. Throughout all of these duties, Ms. Brown works to collaborate with parents and students to ensure that every child is receiving a quality education.
Attributing much of her success to her excellent communications skills, Ms. Brown has garnered a reputation within the City of Burlington Public School District as a “parent whisperer” for her adeptness in working with parents of students. She cares deeply about people and how they are treated and has always done her utmost to help others in order to give everyone a fair chance. In that vein, Ms. Brown is incredibly proud of what she has been able to accomplish during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the start of the pandemic, Ms. Brown has been instrumental in ensuring that all of the students in her school have the resources and tools they needed for remote and online learning. She was notably featured in the local news for the work she did getting laptops to students who needed them to complete their online schoolwork. In addition, Ms. Brown has gone above and beyond her duty as an educational professional to help students and their families who are lacking basic needs, like clothing and food, due to pandemic-related job loss and other struggles.
Looking toward the future, Ms. Brown intends to continue on as she has been, serving the local scholastic community, though she also hopes to branch out to do work as a parent advocate, helping parents understand and navigate the education process for their children. Standing out for her ability to empathize with people at all levels, she would eventually like to open up her own school to provide extra support to both students who struggle in traditional classrooms and gifted students who need extra challenges. Throughout her career, she has been motivated by her students and their families and finds it incredibly rewarding to share her knowledge to help others and see their gratitude.
Alongside her primary career responsibilities, Ms. Brown has contributed her skills to a variety of other professional and civic endeavors as well. A member of the Kappa Delta Phi National Affiliated Sorority, she has also been involved with the Burlington County Women’s Advisory Council and is a regular donor to a variety of educational charities. In her free time, Ms. Brown enjoys spending time with her family, which includes her husband, Russell; her children, Russell Jr. and Keesha; and her grandson, Benjamin.