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Dorothy Winbush Riley (MI '94)


At the time of the Award, Dorothy Winbush Riley was:

Higgins Elementary School
Detroit, MI

Biographical Information

Dorothy Winbush Riley was a principal coach for the Detroit Public Schools (DPS)/Marygrove College Collaborative, a Title I project that delivers professional services to 23 identified Detroit Public Schools sites. As a principal coach, Riley developed relationships with building principals, using her skills to facilitate team building, increase capacity and learning sustainability, and influence instructors' skills in teaching writing across the curriculum. Riley published more than six books, including a multicultural quotation book, My Soul Looks Back, 'Less I Forget. This book received glowing reviews from The Washington Post and was voted Reference Book of the Year by the American Library Association. HarperCollins also published Riley's The Complete Kwanzaa, a 400-page reference guide about the holiday. As a former principal of Higgins Elementary School, Riley focused upon programs that incorporated writing and nurtured a love of learning by allowing students an element of entrepreneurial freedom in choosing electives. Riley also implemented an after-school enrichment program that increased parent participation in the school. Many parents received their GED in the adult education classes that were offered at Higgins.

Personal Message

My school is doing a social studies project and we are trying to collect license plates from all 50 states for a display in the social studies room. If you have an old license plate from your state, please send it to Higgins Elementary School, 9200 Olivet St., Detroit, MI 48209.

Related Connections

Memoriam: Dorothy Winbush Riley (MI ’94)

Additional Information


1969 Wayne State University, B.A.

At-risk Students, Diversity, English/Language Arts, University Partnerships, Discipline, Restructuring, Writing, Extracurricular Activities, Libraries, Technology