Board member Deena A. Hayes shakes hands with a community member

The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) is pleased to announce Deena A. Hayes, Chairwoman of North Carolina’s Guilford County Board of Education, is the winner of the 2019 Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award is given to an individual who, through service as a local school board member, has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to representing the educational needs of urban schoolchildren. Hayes will be presented with the award during the CUBE Annual Conference on Sept. 27 in Miami, Florida.

“On behalf of NSBA, I congratulate Deena A. Hayes on this recognition. We applaud her commitment to supporting and advancing educational opportunities for all students in Guilford County Schools, along with her distinguished work addressing issues of diversity, inclusion and equity in education,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA Executive Director and CEO.

The county’s first female and first female African-American chairperson, Hayes was elected to the Guilford Board of Education in 2002. Her nearly two decades of service encompass various leadership roles for which she has shown dedication to improving racial equity and eradicating gaps in access and achievement for students of color, students living in poverty, English language learners and children who are differently abled.

Hayes leads the district’s Racial Equity Committee and chairs the Board of Directors of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina. She is also the co-founder and operational manager for the Racial Equity Institute, a minority-owned business that helps organizations address implicit bias and structural racism.

In a nomination letter, Sara Millard, chair of the Guilford Alliance Board of Directors said, “Ms. Hayes is passionate about quality education for all students and her insight into racial issues has been incredibly beneficial to our community. The experience and leadership that she brings to our district have resulted in significant progress toward our school system’s success.”

As winner of the Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award, Hayes is included as a feature story in Urban Advocate, CUBE’s quarterly feature in the American School Board Journal (ASBJ).

Learn more about CUBE.


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