Barbara Kamara Reflects on Her Peace Corps Experience

May 11, 2012 at 11:36 am Leave a comment

May 11, 2012

Bank Street alumna Barbara Ferguson Kamara’81 is featured in an article today in the Wilmington Journal . The article focuses on her experiences  in Liberia in the early years of the Peace Corps.

Barbara received a Recognition Award in 2008 from the Bank Street Alumni Association for her outstanding work in the field of education. At the awards ceremony she was introduced by Jim Clay asBarbara Ferguson Kamara is the recently retired Administrator of the District of Columbia Department of Human Services’ Early Care and Education Administration.  Ms. Kamara was born in Wilmington, North Carolina and grew up in public housing and was involved in her family’s business.  She used her business acumen to expand the Early Care and Education Administration’s annual budget from $50,000 to $110 million.  This allowed her work team to provide financial assistance for child care to more than 29,000 District of Columbia children a year, serve more infants and toddlers with disabilities and provide apprenticeship programs for child development specialist.


Ms. Kamara brought to her position a wealth of experience from the classroom to the Federal government.  President Carter appointed her associate commissioner in the Department of Health and Human Services where she was responsible for the National Head Start Program, the Appalachian Regional Commission child development programs, child care regulations, and research and demonstration programs.  She managed a budget of approximately one billion dollars.


She was a Peace Corps volunteer and served in Liberia where she taught mathematics to students and teachers, established a newspaper and coached track.


In November 2006, Ms. Kamara was one of seven recipients of the ABC 7 and Toyota Salute to Working Women Award.  In February of 2002, Ms. Kamara received the Human Services Award from the National Federation of Black Business Owners.  In February 2001, Ms. Kamara, along with the late Katharine Graham of The Washington Post, received the “Terry Golden” Achievement award in honor of significant contributions toward quality of life improvement for Washington, DC children and families.  In 2000, she was one of five persons to receive the first “Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Award” for Distinguished D C Government Employees.  She is a recipient of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Early Childhood Development’s “Children’s Champion Award”; the “President’s Scroll” from the University of the District of Columbia in recognition of extraordinary and continued service and support in the rebuilding of Early Childhood Teacher Education, Professional Development and Research Programs at the University and has been named one of 12 African American Early Childhood Educators of the 20th Century.


Under her leadership, the District of Columbia  achieved the distinction of number one in the United States in terms of nationally accredited programs compared to licensed programs.  She built partnerships in the District with the banking, legal, community development, retail, philanthropic, hotel and restaurant communities.


Her board memberships include the D. C. United Way, the Developmental Disabilities Council, the Mayor’s Committee on Persons with Disabilities, the Early Childhood Obesity Collaborative and the Coalition of Friends of Liberia. She is a life member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Urban League.  She also holds membership in the National Black Child Development Institute, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Lamond Riggs Civic Association, the Friends of Liberia and the National Peace Corps Association, the Johnson C. Smith University Alumni Association and the Williston High School Alumni Association.


She is an active member of her local church as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the Central Atlantic Conference of the United Church of Christ. She is the Region III President of the United Black Christians of the United Church of Christ.  Region III included Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia and Northern Virginia.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Bank Street Alumni Awards May 18th You Can turn No Into Yes and Other Lessons Learned

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

An Online Conversation

Join the conversation among Bank Street College alumni blogging on education policy, practice, and point of view. Explore issues, ask questions, share what's actually happening in our classrooms, schools, museums, and communities. To submit a post, please send it to:

Your Voice

Post your own opinions about teaching, learning, children, politics, special education, school reform, play, the standards movement, student teaching, museum education, leadership, block building, morning meeting, curriculum mapping, collaboration, isolation, benchmarks, bilingual classrooms, social-emotional development, the arts...right here on The Bank Street Blog!

To leave a comment on a posting, please click on the "comment" link beside the posting date. Comments will be reviewed before they appear.



Some of Our Past Bloggers

Alisa Algava ‘08, leader of a small Hudson Valley progressive school
Gloria Arenson ’58, psychotherapist
Bill Ayers ‘84, UIC professor, Chicago
Fred Baumgarten ‘84, writer/musician/naturalist/father
Keith Berman '03, founder/president of Options for College and Bank Street’s LinkedIn moderator
David Bowles ’08 (SFC ’93), museum educator at the Rubin Museum of Art
Elena Canaras ‘07, Special Education teacher, Hawaii
Virginia Casper, Bank Street faculty member
Jim Clay ‘88, director of a Washington DC Quaker preschool
Mary DeCamp Cotterall ‘87, Reading Specialist, Michigan
Judy Coven ’77, retired public school teacher and former Antioch University faculty member
Leslie Day '93, adjunct instructor at Bank Street and author of Field Guide to the Natural World of New York City
Mary Louise (Molly) Day ‘76, Lab School teacher, Chicago
Liezel de La Isla ‘99, Prague International School teacher
Diane Trister Dodge '70, founder and president of Teaching Strategies, Inc.
Meghan Dunn ’08, 3rd grade teacher, Brooklyn
Steven Evangelista ’01, co-director Harlem Link Charter School, NYC
Janine Fetters ‘02, Senior Associate of Parent Engagement at NACCRRA
Dena Florczyk '88, middle school teacher and founder/director of The Nigerian School Project
Hollee Freeman '94, writes about parenting issues for the alumni blog and was featured on BSCAA's April 2012 Career Panel
Ellen Galinsky '70, is President and Co-Founder of Families and Work Institute and author of Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs
Joanne Ruvolo Gannett ‘84, Columbia College art history professor, Chicago
Joan Goldstein ‘67, sociologist and educator
Margot Hammond, Director of the Center for Early Childhood Professionals
Carol Hillman ‘67, early childhood educator, author, and Long Trip co-leader
Pam Jones ‘05, Bank Street advisor and instructor
Lee Klinger Lesser ‘87, trainer for the Parent Services Project
Preminda Langer ‘97, teacher trainer
Claire Milam ’97, life coach, Austin, Texas
Rabin Nickens ‘03, Speaker, Trainer and Educational Consultant
Beth Norford ‘89, consultant and former School for Children teacher
Susy Ogden ‘97
Marion Palm ‘95, Leadership in the Arts alum, writing tutor, poet and singer
Jessica Poser, assistant professor of art education at UIC, Chicago
Jesse Pugh '76, BSCAA President
Meg Rauen ‘06, former Chicago elementary school teacher, NY
Linda Reing, Bank Street Director of Alumni Relations
Rosalind Rothman '62, retired NYC teacher and guidance counselor
Kyla Ryman '92/'97, educational coach and consultant
Ariel Sacks ‘06, middle school teacher, Brooklyn, NY
Linda Appleman (Guidall) Shapiro ‘81, psychotherapist and author
Barbara Silver ‘80, literacy consultant and former NYC first grade teacher
Andrea Penny Spencer, former Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Bank Street
Debbie Stone ‘84, former teacher/co-director of High Valley School
Rachel Theilheimer ‘74, chair of teacher education at BMCC/CUNY
Theodore Timpson ’05, founder/president of Young Spirit Foundation
Eleanor Traubman '95, is Editor in Chief of Creative Times, a blog which promotes NYC's performing, visual and literary arts
Allison Warren '08, new mom, recent grad, and early childhood teacher
Max Weinberg ‘03, Francis Parker School teacher, Chicago
Ted Wells ‘07, 4th grade teacher at The Park School, Brookline, MA
Tracy Wiessbrod ’03, kindergarten teacher and stay-at-home mom

%d bloggers like this: