Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Charlene M. Dukes, Ed.D.
MSA SC 3520-16427
Inductee, Maryland Women's Hall of Fame, 2013


Dr. Charlene M. Dukes is a remarkable woman and an invaluable leader in the field of education who has made "tremendous contributions to education, specifically in the area of student success in community colleges."1

Dr. Dukes, the second of nine children, first championed the ideas of education and leadership by aiding her younger sisters through school.2 She began to take college classes, but stopped after the first year and moved to New York City to work for both Bell Atlantic and Chase Manhattan.3 Here, Dr. Dukes was fated to return to school when she was told "with only one year of college, [she] could not be promoted in a job [she] had already mastered." 4 Thus, Dr. Dukes proceeded to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education, with an English concentration, from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She went on to receive Master's and Doctorate Degrees in Administrative and Policy Studies from the University of Pittsburgh.5

With an exceptional background, Dr. Dukes began her remarkable career in education and worked her way up to become Dean of Students at the Community College of Allegheny County, Allegheny Campus.6 After the Community College of Allegheny College, she moved to Prince George's Community College in Largo, Maryland, and served as the Vice President of Student Services for 12 years.7 Dr. Dukes also served on the Prince George's County Board of Education from 2002 to 2006.8 In 2006, Governor Martin O'Malley appointed Dr. Dukes to serve on the Maryland State Board of Education, where she served as vice president for 3 years and was elected president in 2012.9 As president, Dr. Dukes represented the Maryland State Board of Education on the Governor's Maryland P-20 Council.10

In 2007, Dr. Dukes achieved one of her most significant accomplishments by becoming not only the 8th president of the Prince George's Community College, but their first female president. 11 Shortly after her appointment, she attended the Latkin Institute, an establishment devoted to the preparation of "senior-level executives for positions as community college chief executive officers" ( 12 When asked about the institution, Dr. Dukes stated "as a new president, I certainly wanted to be there and glean some knowledge and just some common sense ideas from those people who had been presidents for some time."13

The list of Dr. Dukes' accomplishments and dedication continues far beyond the above mentioned activities. Throughout her career, she served as a board member on organizations such as the American Association of Community Colleges (2012), the Board of Directors of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (2012), the Hillside Works-Scholarship Connection (2011), the Doctors Community Hospital (2008), the College Summit of the National Capital Area (2008), the Greater Prince George's County Business Round Table (2007), and the Prince George's County Chamber of Commerce (2007).14

Further, she served the community by taking on roles such as the Community Health Resources Commissioner, where she was involved in initiatives like the Health Enterprise Zone (HEZ) plan, which intended to "reduce health disparities and build primary care capacity in Prince George's County." 15 Further, to name a few of her other commitments to the community, Dr. Dukes served on the Task Force on College Readiness, the Maryland Higher Education Commission (2004), the Harlem Renaissance Festival Board of Directors (2002), and the Prince George's County Women's Fair Committee (1997).16

Drive and devotion on this level does not go unnoticed. In 2012, Dr. Dukes was named one of the 25 Leading Women by Diverse Issues. In 2011, the Washingtonian listed her as one of the "100 Most Powerful Women in the Washington, D.C. region." She joins other well known figures on this list, such as Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Nancy Pelosi ( In 2007, the University of Pittsburg named Dr. Dukes as a Distinguished Alum of the year and the Indiana University of Pennsylvania did the same the following year.18 These are just a few examples of the copious honors awarded to Dr. Dukes. In addition, kind words such as "Dr. Charlene Dukes [is] deeply committed to Prince George's County, its students, and to helping continue the achievements and progress in our schools," are often spoken about her. 19 The most recent honor bestowed upon Dr. Dukes in recognition of her contributions to education is her induction into the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame in March, 2013.

Dr. Charlene M. Dukes' resume is overwhelmingly impressive and it is important to note that her actions and positions have not been for her own benefit, but for the benefit of others through improvement in the educational system and the creation of leadership opportunities. She expressed that "community colleges' missions of open access, opportunity, and success for all who dare to move forward in their educational journeys and improve life for themselves and their families ”regardless of age, race, gender, and preparation” have led me to commit my efforts to this sector. I have found that community colleges' willingness to embrace creativity, ingenuity, collaboration, and teamwork puts them at the cutting edge of higher education."20 She also stated that community colleges offer an "abundance of opportunities for leadership, particularly for women and minorities." 21 Therefore, Dr. Dukes has committed and continues to commit her life to a cause that will allow for societal benefit. It is also noteworthy that Dr. Dukes made such accomplishments while raising a son, Maurice Dukes, and coping with becoming a recent widow.22

Dr. Dukes' passion, motivation, and success are an inspiration for any being. It is well known that she "goes the extra mile by opening her home and heart to help... she holds up a very bright torch for future leaders." 23 Dr. Dukes' place in the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame is well deserved and it will be a pleasure to watch as she continues to grow in her career and passion.


"I see the goal of supporting communities as a cornerstone of college leadership."
-Dr. Charlene Dukes24

"I have found that leadership is not about the position: we are all leaders in some way."
-Dr. Charlene Dukes25

"I also wanted to define what leadership meant to me. I now characterize leadership as the ability to bring people together at all levels to accomplish an institution's goals in a professional and collegial manner."
-Dr. Charlene Dukes26

"We need to look at eliminating the barriers so [students] can achieve success across all levels"
-Dr. Charlene Dukes27

"We want to make sure we are focused on our vision on building a world-class school system."
-Dr. Charlene Dukes28

"In her own very unique way, this educator at heart teaches us to value being a woman and celebrate our origins as we work to be all that we can for ourselves, our families and our communities, and those in need."
-Dr. Juanita Miller, Education Chair, NAACP29


1. "Prince Georges Community College (Dr. Charlene M. Dukes) named to AAC&U Board of Directors," 93.9 WKYSfm:, February 27, 2012, return to text 

2. Charlene Dukes, "Women's Leadership in the Community College Sector," American Association of Colleges and Universities: On Campus with Women, 38, no. 2 (2009): accessed June 8, 2013,   return to text

3. Ibid. return to text 

4. Ibid. return to text 

5. "Governor Martin O'Malley and State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lillian Lowery Appoint Three Members to the Prince George's County Selection Committee," States News Service (2013): Biography in Context,

return to text

6. Denise B. Hawkins, "Women of Power: a Look at the Number of Females Leading U.S. Institutions," Diverse Issues in Higher Education (2013): Biography in Context,

return to text

7. Ibid. return to text

8. Ibid. return to text 

9. "Dr. Charlene Dukes Elected State Board President Dr. Mary Kay Finan Elected Vice President," States News Service (2012): Biography in Context,

return to text

10. "Maryland Commission for Women to Host Annual Women's Hall of Fame Induction Two MSDE-Affiliated Women," States News Service (2013): Biography in Context,

return to text

11. "Biography", Prince George's Community College, last modified 2013,  return to text

12. "Latkin Institute," Presidents Round Table: A National Network of African American Community College CEOs, last modified 2010,   return to text

13. Sam Fullwood, "View from the Top: Members of Presidents' Round Table Confront Challenges on Diverse Campuses." Diverse Issues in Higher Education (2012): Biography in Context,

return to text

14. "Governor Martin O'Malley and State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lillian Lowery" return to text 

15. "Lt. Governor Brown Presents $1,100,000 Check to Prince George's Health Department to Fund Health Enterprise Zone Proposal Aims to Improve Health Outcomes in Capitol Heights with 25 New Practitioners, Additional Primary Care Options," States News Service (2013): Biography in Context,

return to text

16. "Dr. Charlene Dukes Elected State Board President" return to text 

17. "Washington's 100 Most Powerful Women," The Washingtonian, last modified October 3, 2011,  return to text 

18. "Governor Martin O'Malley and State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lillian Lowery" return to text 

19. Ibid. return to text 

20. Dukes, "Women's leadership in the Community College Sector."  return to text 

21. Ibid. return to text 

22. "Governor Martin O'Malley and State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lillian Lowery" return to text

23. Dr. Juanita Miller, letter to Ms. Neil Young, October 31, 2012 return to ltext

24. Ovetta Wiggins, "Busy Schedule Greets Md. Board of Education's New President," The Washington Post, October 22, 2012, ProQuest,  return to text

25. Ibid. return to text

26. Ibid. return to text 

27. Ibid. return to text 

28. Ibid. return to text 

29. Dr. Juanita Miller, letter to Ms. Neil Young return to text 

Biography written by 2013 summer intern Rachel Alexander.

Return to Dr. Charlene M. Dukes' Introductory Page


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