Dorothy Hollingsworth was the first black woman in Washington State to serve on a school board. She was born in Bishopville, South Carolina on October 29, 1920 and moved at an early age to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Hollingsworth graduated in 1941, from Paine College in Augusta, Georgia. In 1946, she moved to Seattle and became a leader in education.
Hollingsworth began her career in Seattle as an investigator for the Department of Welfare and then took a position in the Seattle schools as a social worker. In 1965, she became the first director of the Seattle school system’s Head Start Program (the first in Washington State). Because of her experience in childhood education, she was appointed to the advisory committee for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) children’s TV program, “Sesame Street.”
From 1969 to 1972, Hollingsworth served as Deputy Director for Planning for the Model Cities Program in Seattle and then became Director of Early Childhood Education for the city. In this position she set up day care programs and facilities for children throughout the city.
Her background, experience and managerial skills led to her appointment as Director of Family, Women and Children’s Services for the City of Seattle. In the early 1980s she worked as Deputy Director for the Department of Human Resources for the City of Seattle.
Hollingsworth was elected to the Seattle School board in 1975 and served until 1981. She served during the years the Seattle School District attempted to implement a controversial program of school busing to promote racial integration. Hollingsworth was elected to the State Board of Education as representative from the 7th District and served from 1984 until 1993. In this capacity she set policy and worked with the Washington state legislature.
HistoryLink.org Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, “Hollingsworth, Dorothy (b.1920)” (by Mary T. Henry), http://www.historylink.org/essays/output.cfm?file_id=291 .
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