As a lifelong resident of Chesterfield County, Debbie Graves Bailey has dedicated her life to education.
Educated in Chesterfield County and a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, Debbie began her teaching career at Thomas Dale High School, where she had graduated four years prior.
As soon as the opportunity opened at the middle school next door, Debbie joined the faculty at Chester Middle where she taught Civics and Economics for 25 years. Upon the closing of Chester Middle School, she transferred to Carver Middle, where she retired after 34 years in the classroom.
Her commitment to education, while initially driven by her desire to become a teacher, has been fueled by her role as a parent. Debbie and her husband Chuck have two children, Sarah (27) and Jake (23). Debbie’s experiences as a mother helped her understand the very unique needs of families in our community. Debbie and Chuck’s oldest child, Sarah, has cerebral palsy and has spent her life in a wheelchair. Debbie quickly realized that Sarah’s success in school would be dependent upon her to not only advocate for her daughter, but ensure that our schools were places where all students would have equal access to opportunities. Before Sarah had even boarded the school bus for kindergarten, Debbie had served as the parent liaison for the Community Services Board (CSB), where she was a voice for families of children with disabilities. Both children graduated from Matoaca High School and continued on to college. Sarah, a graduate of UVA and Regent University, is a member of the Virginia Bar Association and a published author. Jake earned a scholarship to Bridgewater College, where he was captain of the baseball team, and currently attends graduate school at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Center for Sports Leadership.
Debbie’s wealth of experiences - as a student, a mother and a teacher - have helped her to become a celebrated educator. She has earned several prominent recognitions, including the prestigious R.E.B. Teaching Excellence Award and Chesterfield County's 2015 Middle School Teacher of the Year. Frequently asked to share her experiences and expertise with others, Debbie has presented at local, state and national conferences.
Debbie was also recognized with a resolution by the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors for founding the Broadwater Learning Center. By working with families and community partners, she has been able to ensure that the program continues to be a sustainable and successful after-school program serving the youth and families of Broadwater Townhomes. Debbie looks forward to replicating other programs such as this in the Dale District.