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NABSE History

The Beginning . . . Today

On November 20, 1970, while completing a dissertation examining school systems led by Black superintendents, Dr. Charles D. Moody, Sr. invited several African-American superintendents to a meeting at the O'Hare Marriott Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. The purpose of the meeting was to share concerns, develop a resource pool, and to form an organization of Black school superintendents. Representing the Metropolitan Applied Research Center (MARC), the organization that helped to fund the early meetings, were Hylan Lewis, Director of the Fellowship Program and Dixie Moon, Executive Administrator.

Dr. Moody says, "When one is in a struggle or battle, he looks around to see if he is alone. This human characteristic was one of the underlying factors in the formation of the National Alliance of Black School Superintendents." Fifteen superintendents agreed forming an organization was a viable idea. Before that meeting was over in November 22, plans were made to meet again in August 1971 in Miami Beach, Florida. It was during the Miami meeting, the superintendents formally organized the National Alliance of Black School Superintendents (NABSS) - Dr. Russell Jackson was elected President.

In 1972, the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Office of Special Concern’s Office of African-American Affairs, awarded NABSS a grant to conduct an in-depth research study of 40 school districts headed by African-American superintendents. Dr. Meharry Lewis was the principal investigator for the grant. The study resulted in the development of a set of educational objectives for school districts enrolling predominantly African-American students.

On April 19, 1973, during the presidency of Ulysses Byas, NABSS voted to include administrators and other educational personnel in the organization and changed the organization’s name to the Nation Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE). Commissions that linked members with common and related job functions were formed. On November 23, 1973, in Detroit, Michigan, NABSE was formally launched with 284 charter members.

NABSE officially opened its first national office in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 1979. Dorothy Moore, on loan from the Detroit Public Schools, served as the first executive director. William Saunders was both office manager and executive director from 1983-1993.


Today, 100 NABSE affiliates throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Caribbean perpetuate NABSE's legacy. Their activities include: local, state, and regional conferences; tutoring/coaching sessions; training programs; scholarships; newsletters; recognition programs; position papers; student trips; and monitoring local, state, and federal directives. NABSE continues to be the premier organization advocating on behalf of African-American education. Many of our members hold prestigious positions of authority and responsibility in public and private school districts and higher education.

As we enter the 21st century, NABSE officers, members, and affiliates have pledged themselves to continue serving as advocates for African-American children who have been poorly served in the past. They further pledge themselves to ensure that African-American students are effectively educated in the present and are accorded priority for the future, and to lead the way through the creation of a concrete model that demonstrates the goals of academic and cultural excellence set forth so clearly in Saving the African-American Child.

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NABSE Mission

The National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE) is the nation's premier non-profit organization devoted to furthering the academic success for the nation's children - particularly children of African descent. Now in its 38th year, NABSE boasts an outreach to more than 10,000 preeminent educators including teachers, administrators, superintendents as well as corporate and institutional members. Founded in 1970, NABSE is dedicated to improving both the educational experiences and accomplishments of African American youth through the development and use of instructional and motivational methods that increase levels of inspiration, attendance and overall achievement.

To that end, NABSE seeks to:

  • Promote and facilitate the education of all students, with a particular focus on African American students;
  • Establish a coalition of African American educators, administrators and other professionals directly and indirectly involved in the educational process;
  • Create a forum for the exchange of ideas and strategies to improve opportunities for African American educators and students;
  • Identify and develop African American professionals who will assume leadership positions in education and influence public policy concerning the education of African Americans.

NABSE's compelling mission and purposes are achieved through three primary areas of focus:

  • Professional Development Programs that strengthen the skills of teachers, principals, specialists, superintendents and school board members;
  • Information Sharing around innovative instructional and learning strategies that have proven successful in motivating African American youth and increasing academic performance in critical learning areas; and
  • Policy Advocacy to ensure high standards and quality in our public and private education systems
  • Research programs of the Charles D. Moody, Sr. Institute produce projects that identify educational practices that demonstrate excellence in the school performance of African American studies.