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DBT40 Honoree: Alonna Berry

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Position: Founder

Employer: Bryan Allen Steven School of Excellence

Age: 30

Alonna Berry founded the Bryan Allen Steven School of Excellence (BASSE), an emerging charter school in Sussex County, with the vision of empowering the next generation of leaders to step outside of their comfort zones.

Like many people who were forced to reshape their plans when the pandemic hit, Berry cancelled BASSE’s annual fundraiser and instead held a six-part webinar series.

Berry also works as a project manager for Social Contract, supporting Gov. John Carney’s executive order to make Delaware a trauma-informed state. She had helped plan multiple in-person events for Trauma Awareness Month in May, but had to shift those as well to a four-part webinar series, which garnered more than 1,000 participants statewide.

A lifelong educator, Berry began her career as a classroom teacher through Teach for America. She has worked in an array of educational spaces, including traditional district schools, the Delaware Department of Education, and in the nonprofit education sector.

Berry was awarded the Sue Lehmann Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2013. In 2017, she launched Engage Delaware, a yearlong educator leadership program that builds mentoring programs and provides social-emotional support for Delaware students with trauma.

Now, Berry is pursuing her Doctorate in Organizational Learning and Innovation from Wilmington University.

Berry also serves as vice president of the Delaware Center for Justice; the interim executive director of the Milton Historical Society; an advisor for the Youth Philanthropy Board of Sussex County; a board member for the Delaware Guidance Services and the Delaware Historical Society; and the assistant financial secretary of the Sussex Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. During the pandemic, she fundraised more than $150,000 for those organizations.

Berry recently got married in June, and she is a “dog mom” of three pups: Kronos, Jack and Atlas. 

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