Friday, January 27, 2023

Community Connection: Deborah Dowd

Board Member, Achievement Centers for Children & Families; Old School Square


Deborah Dowd knew she always wanted to be a teacher, so in 1974, while in her senior year of college in frigid upstate New York, she made one of the coldest of cold calls. Focusing on South Florida, where her golf-fanatic father brought the family of a wife and six kids most winters, Dowd found contact information for a member of the Broward County School Board and picked up the phone. The board member pledged to find her a job—which he did—but before it could come to fruition, Dowd was offered a teaching position at Spady Elementary School in Delray Beach working with the youngest children. That launched a 39-year career in Palm Beach County that included working in more than half a dozen schools.

A skilled multitasker, Dowd found time to own and operate a franchise candy store while teaching and also became active in city government. She served on several city boards and started the Seacrest Neighborhood Association Board.


Retired since 2012, Dowd remains active in several organizations, including serving on two nonprofit boards. A board member at the Achievement Centers for Children & Families, Dowd is now in charge of coordinating volunteers for the organization’s annual Delray Beach Home Tour and also serves as a resource for the teachers. She was selected by The Bethesda Hospital Foundation as a Woman of Grace in 2018 for her work.

A longtime member of the board of Old School Square, Dowd has also served on the board of Impact 100 Palm Beach County, works closely with Roots and Wings, and serves on a committee for the local Lupus Foundation chapter. A certified master gardener, Dowd volunteers weekly at Daggerwing Nature Center tending to the butterfly garden. When not volunteering, she offers tutoring services to students.

“The gift of giving is the greatest gift of all. It gives you the opportunity to open doors for others. They were only knocks before; now they’re doors that will finally be open.” -Deborah Dowd

This story is from the March/April 2021 issue of Delray magazine.

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