Floretta D. McKenzie, former superintendent of the Washington, D.C., public school system and longtime member of the board of trustees of Howard University, died on March 23 at a hospital in Silver Springs, Maryland. She was 79 years old and had suffered from Parkinson’s disease.
A native of Lakeland, Florida, Dr. McKenzie earned a bachelor’s degree at the District of Columbia Teachers College, a master’s degree in education at Howard University, and a doctorate in education from George Washington University. She taught in the public schools in the District of Columbia and Maryland. After serving as deputy superintendent of schools in Montgomery County, Maryland, she took a post as deputy assistant secretary in the Office of School Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education. From 1981 to 1988 she was the superintendent of the public school system in the nation’s capital.
Dr. McKenzie served on the board of trustees at Howard University for more than 20 years. She chaired the board for two years and was vice chair for 10 years. She also was a lecturer in the Graduate School of Education at American University in Washington.