A longtime advocate for quality public education for children, Beatrice “Bebe” Coker is this year’s recipient of the John H. Taylor Jr. Education Leadership award.

Given by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and its education affiliate, The Partnership Inc., this award will be presented at the Superstars in Education Reception & Awards Ceremony at 4:45 p.m. May 13 in Wilmington University’s Doberstein Admissions Center Auditorium, 320 N. Dupont Highway, New Castle.

Coker has been a community activist in Delaware for more than 50 years. She was appointed by former Gov. Pierre S. du Pont to join the Citizens Alliance for Public Education to help ensure the peaceful desegregation of schools. She is a graduate of Morgan State University and has worked in social services, public and community relations and diversity training. In addition to her community service and commitment to improving Delaware’s education system, Coker is a playwright, poet and lyricist. Now retired, she has also served co-director of the Delaware Black Heritage Educational Theater Group, an organization that collaborates with literacy programs all over the city and county for African American youth, and as chair of the Stagehands of Christina Cultural Arts Center in Wilmington.

The John H. Taylor Jr. Education Leadership Award recognizes someone within the community who has provided sustained leadership in advancing Delaware education and who, by doing so, has also made the community a better place in which to live and work. The Partnership Inc. is the 501(c)(3) education affiliate of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce.

Throughout his professional career, Taylor was an educator. He began his career as a teacher, then served as the assistant to the superintendent of the Wilmington Public Schools. Taylor’s education background, coupled with his ability to share information and make connections served him well as he rose to become editorial page editor for The News Journal before becoming president of the Delaware Public Policy Institute in 2005. As founding member of the Vision Coalition, Taylor’s leadership and directness built a public-private partnership to advocate for improved education in Delaware.

For more, visit dscc.com.