Roni Dean-Burren, a native Houstonian, grew up in a family of faith and activism. The colloquial expression put “legs on your faith” is particularly resonant with the athlete, activist, mother and scholar.
In summer of 1995, Roni matriculated at Southern Methodist University. Majoring in Broadcast Journalism and minoring in Sociology Roni, found her outlet for activism at the intersection of social justice and writing.
Dean-Burren's leadership roles at SMU earned her numerous honors including the John A. Freehafer Leadership Award, the A. Kenneth Pye Greek Leadership Award and the coveted SMU “M” award.
After graduation Dean-Burren earned her teacher certification in English Language Art and Reading. She was a high school English teacher and head track & field coach for 11 years. During this time, she earned her Master’s in Education and eventually took ona role as a curriculum specialist.
In 2014, Roni left public education in pursuit of her Ph.D in Curriculum and Instruction. On July 27, 2017 she defended her dissertation entitled: In Their Words: Eleventh Grade Black Boy Voices Regarding their Suspensions and Literacy.
Roni is married to fellow SMU Alum Lilo Burren. They, their two children and two dogs reside in Texas.
All images owned by Roni Dean-Burren