C. Diane Wallace Booker serves as Executive Director for the U.S. Dream Academy, Inc., national non-profit serving children of incarcerated parents and children falling behind in school. Since the inception of the organization in 1998, she has worked alongside the founder Wintley Phipps, creating its organizational, programmatic and fundraising infrastructure. Mrs. Wallace Booker led out in the pilot and expansion of the innovative Dream Academy programs to now eight locations around the country. The U.S. Dream Academy has raised national awareness of the needs of children with a parent incarcerated from Capitol Hill to Oprah Winfrey, who is a major donor. President Bill Clinton helped to open the first Center in Washington, D.C. in 2000 along with support from former Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman. Many other celebrities and officials have supported this work and focus their efforts on this vulnerable population. Mrs. Wallace Booker speaks around the country on the impact on children of incarcerated parents, and the impact of poverty and trauma on children’s academic achievement and future prospects.
During her tenure, Mrs. Wallace Booker has developed an expertise in non-profit management, development, and implementation of after-school education and mentor programs, incarceration effects on children and families and has extensive experience in administering government grants. Mrs. Wallace Booker was accepted to and successfully completed the Stanford University, Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders in February 2006 and Harvard University, Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit Management in July 2007. She was a member of the Public Policy Council for National Mentoring and the Advisory Committee to revise the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring.
She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications, graduating cum laude from Bowie State University in 1992. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from the Frances King Carey University of Maryland School of Law in 1996. In law school, Mrs. Wallace Booker was a legal advocate for children and their families who suffered from lead paint poisoning while living in sub-standard housing. She also participated in the nationally ranked Law & Health Care program and developed an interest in equality in health care for the poor and elderly. This interest led her to complete two fellowships: one for U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski as a Staff Fellow for the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging to conduct research and develop legislative initiatives on health care issues that affect the elderly; the other was at the Maryland Office of the Attorney Advisor’s Health Care Financial Agency where she worked on hospital and physician reimbursement issues.
Mrs. Wallace Booker resides with her husband and their two children in Maryland. She and her family are active members of their church in Washington, D.C. She is a member of the Alumni Board for the Frances King Carey University of Maryland School of Law. In 2013, she was selected as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women by The Daily Record, for her professional accomplishments, community involvement and mentoring. She has also enjoyed serving as a judge for the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen competition in Orlando, Florida, and is currently serving on the board of directors for Baltimore City Head Start.