Contact: Ann Hatch214-378-1819;
For immediate release — Feb. 11, 2019
(DALLAS) — For years, Dallas County faced a shortage of qualified early childhood teachers, which limited the number of pre-kindergarten students who could go to school. Working to solve that labor gap, Dr. Joe May, chancellor of the Dallas County Community College District, asked the Texas Legislature in 2017 to support a bill that would allow DCCCD to offer a bachelor's degree in early childhood education. The new law passed, and the district began laying the foundation for its first bachelor's degree.
DCCCD took a major step forward in the program's development with the appointment of Robert DeHaas as founding dean of the Early Childhood Education Baccalaureate Institute at Brookhaven College. Members of the DCCCD board of trustees approved his appointment during their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2019. DeHaas, who most recently served as founder and CEO of the Dallas Teacher Residency, starts his tenure immediately.
The bachelor’s degree program will be offered by Brookhaven College and is supported by faculty, programs and degree pathways at several other colleges in the district. DCCCD expects to launch its early childhood education bachelor’s degree program in fall 2020.
“We are excited Brookhaven will offer our first baccalaureate degree program, particularly one that will help enable more young children to enter Dallas-area classrooms because we will have more teachers with K-3 credentials to teach them,” said May. “The program fills a critical gap, and we welcome Robert DeHaas as its first dean."
DeHaas said, “I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to become the founding dean of DCCCD’s Early Childhood Education Baccalaureate Institute. I look forward to working with the district and community leaders to successfully establish this institute on behalf of all educators and our children, who deserve high-quality, educational experiences.”
“With his established connections in both the education and nonprofit sectors across the region, Rob DeHaas brings a wealth of talent and experience to the role of founding dean for the college’s initial bachelor’s degree program,” said Dr. Thom Chesney, president of Brookhaven College.
Chesney added, “Rob’s background of building partnerships will be invaluable as we bring together a network of K-12 and higher education leaders, potential employers and community resources to support the launch and growth of this program, which will fill a critical need for early childhood teachers and paraprofessionals.”
“Providing high-quality educational opportunities to our early learners is more than necessary — it is absolutely imperative in order for our city and our region to reach its full potential,” said DeHaas. “The creation of a four-year baccalaureate teacher institute at the community college level is game-changing.
“This institute will make attaining a four-year degree more accessible and equitable for DCCCD students,” he added. “It also will increase the regional momentum around two elements that make an unequivocal impact on a child’s academic trajectory: access to high-quality early childhood education and access to high-quality teachers.”
DeHaas launched Dallas Teacher Residency in 2013. DTR, the first urban teacher residency in Texas, is a nonprofit organization designed to recruit, prepare and support teachers to teach in partnership with urban public school districts across North Texas. Before he co-founded and launched DTR, DeHaas served as founding director of operations for Uplift Heights Preparatory, a K-12 charter school located in west Dallas.
Prior to his time with Uplift Heights, DeHaas served as project manager for LEARN Charter School Network’s CEO in Chicago. He worked with the school’s CEO on strategic growth and expansion efforts; securing grants; and leading efforts to open two new K-8 campuses on Chicago’s South and West sides as he completed a principal residency at the South Side campus. He also was a classroom teacher with LEARN.
In addition to his other education-based experience, DeHaas served four years as chair of the West Dallas Community Collaborative’s advisory board and “The School Zone,” a local-impact project led by Southern Methodist University’s Simmons School of Education.
DeHaas also served as a member of the 2014-2015 Mayor’s Star Council cohort; was a 2015-2016 Leadership ISD Fellow; is a member of the Best in Class Dallas/Fort Worth Educator Effectiveness Taskforce; and was one of 13 educator preparation leaders selected for the national 2018 Deans for Impact Fellowship.
The new dean earned his bachelor’s degree from Duke University; a master’s degree in education leadership and his principal’s certification from DePaul University’s College of Education; and a master’s degree in business administration from SMU’s Cox School of Business. He currently is pursuing his doctoral degree in education from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University.
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