Wiley A. Branton Awards Luncheon

The Vincent E. Reed Award

The Vincent E. Reed Award was first presented by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee in 2003. The award is given in the name of Dr. Vincent Reed, the distinguished educator whose encouragement and support were directly responsible for the Committee’s decision to establish its public education support programs.

Following his graduation from West Virginia State College and military service during the Korean War, Vincent Reed began his career as an educator in the DC Public Schools in 1956. Within several years, he was promoted from a teaching position to a series of important administrative posts in the school system, culminating in his appointment as DC School Superintendent in 1975. His appointment to this post came at a time when the local schools were experiencing enormous stress and public criticism. Dr. Reed’s charismatic leadership and the rigorous educational programs he championed helped immeasurably to restore public confidence in the city’s schools.

In 1978, Dr. Reed met with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee and encouraged our organization to seek law firm volunteers to serve as legal counsel for parent leaders at a dozen public schools in Southeast Washington. This initial effort became the basis for the Committee’s representation of Parents United for the DC Public Schools and the DC Public School Partnership Program, which now operates in more than 50 schools across the city.

Following his tenure as DC School Superintendent, Dr. Reed went on to serve as an Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education and as Vice President for Communications at the Washington Post Company.