Mourners stood patiently in the early evening hours outside of Takoma Park Baptist Church in Northwest last Thursday while waiting to pay their final respects to a beloved friend, colleague and D.C. educator, Dr. Marilyn Tyler Brown, who died in her home on Friday, Oct. 1.
The occasion marked the first of several homegoing services for the stalwart D.C. education advocate and political activist, remembered for her tireless efforts to ensure a quality education for students enrolled in the D.C. Public Schools. For many, it was the first time being in public since the COVID-19 pandemic forced them indoors but attending the wake was the least they could do to say thank you to the former associate superintendent of the D.C. Public Schools who contributed so much to their careers.
Attendees included former school administrators, including former school board members Linda Cropp and Carol Schwartz, to name a few. Many others were teachers with long careers abruptly ending with forced retirements. They all symbolized an era where controversy spread widely outside of the classroom but during which teaching and learning were paramount for every student in the classroom.
A native of Oxford, North Carolina, Dr. Brown spent 37 years working in the D.C. Public Schools where she held several positions before retiring as Associate Superintendent of Student Services. As Associate Superintendent of D.C. Public Schools, she was responsible for the administration of 13 branches and units that included the Department of Athletics, Attendance and Records, Community Services, Dropout Prevention Programs, Guidance and Counseling, International Exchange Programs, Out of Boundary Student Transfers, Summer School, Textbook Services, Travel, and Field Trips, Visiting Instruction Service Programs and Work Permits.
Dr. Brown served on the board of several political, civic, arts, education and Women’s organizations, including Chairperson of The United Black Fund Scholarship Program, member of the Virginia Union University Board of Trustees, member of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Choral Arts Society and member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee. She also served as chairperson of the Scholarship Committee for the Washington, D.C., chapter of Links, Inc. and the Scholarship Committee for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
A no-nonsense leader remembered for having a heart of gold, Dr. Brown was actively engaged in the city’s daily affairs. She offered strong support, financially and politically, to candidates she favored, including D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. And, she represented an era of teachers who treated children like their own. She will be sorely missed just as much as all the teachers with whom she worked will also be cherished and missed.
Funeral services will be conducted on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 11 a.m. at First Baptist Church in Oxford, North Carolina.