Educational consultant Adrienne Yvonne Bailey was born on November 24, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois to Julia Spalding Bailey and Leroy Bailey. Bailey received her B.A. degree from Mundelein College in 1966 and her M.A. degree in education from Wayne State University in 1969. Bailey received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1973.
In Chicago, Bailey taught social studies, English, French and mathematics at Deneen Elementary School and was the neighborhood youth corps supervisor at the South Shore YMCA and the program coordinator for the Circle Maxwell YMCA in the late 1960s. Bailey then worked as the education coordinator at the Government Office of Human Resources from 1969 to 1971 and as the university coordinator of the Northwestern Community Education Project at Northwestern University from 1972 to 1973. In 1973, Bailey was appointed to a six-year term on the State Board of Education, and from 1973 to 1981, Bailey was a senior staff associate at Chicago Community Trust. She has also served as vice president of the National Association of State Boards of Education. Bailey was the Vice President of Academic Affairs for the College Board of New York in 1981 and on the Education and Career Development Advisory Committee of the Urban League in 1982. Bailey then served on the Government Educational Advancement Committee from 1983 through 1987, while also serving on the National Committee on Secondary Schooling for Hispanics from 1983 to 1985.
Bailey is currently serving as an ExEL (Executive Leadership Program for Urban Education) at Harvard University.
Bailey was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 4, 2008.