National University

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Alumna is 1st Black Female Fire Chief of a Major U.S. City

When National University alumna Teresa Deloach-Reed (MPA, 2012) was named Chief of the Oakland Fire Department this past March, she became, according to KQED News, the nation’s first African-American female fire chief to lead a major metropolitan fire department. 

 Chief Deloach-Reed began her career in 1986 as the first African-American woman firefighter for the San Jose Fire Department, rising through the ranks to eventually become assistant fire chief there.

 Now that she is working in Oakland, Reed told KQED that "This was the perfect fit for me. I live in Oakland and my kids grew up here. You know, it was very difficult living in Oakland and not being associated with their fire department. I've always wanted to have this connection with the Oakland fire department because this is a such a great city."

 In association with Chief Deloach-Reed’s hiring, Ebony magazine reported that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, less than 4 percent of U.S. firefighters were women, and just over 6 percent were black.

 "There are still a lot of departments that don't have any women," Deloach-Reed said in a telephone interview with Reuters. "We still have a long way to go in regards to breaking down the doors." 

Click here to read more about Chief Deloach-Reed.