Joy Elaine Daley Interview Transcription

Interviewers: Mark Naison, Donna Joseph

Interviewee: Joy Elaine Daley

Transcribed by:Eliza Anderson.

Summary by Eliza Anderson.

Joy Elaine Daley is a vital member of the Bronx community, a lifelong educator, and a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the Eta Omega Omega Chapter. She was born and raised in Jamaica, the fourth of six children to her two parents, and has many joyful memories of time spent with her grandparents growing up. She has been an educator from the beginning, attending Shortwood Teachers’ College for high school before coming to the United States on a scholarship to Lehman College for Urban Studies. It was at Lehman that Daley met Dr. Charlotte Morgan, a Black Studies professor, and was introduced to the work of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. After graduating from Lehman in 1986, Daley transferred into the Eta Omega Omega Chapter of AKA, and has been an active member and leader of her community ever since.

Daley started her first teaching job in the New York City public school system as a substitute teacher at PS 198 in the South Bronx, before being hired as a full-time teacher when the position opened up. She describes her passion for teaching as a calling, saying that she “would not trade it for anything in the world.” Daley worked her way up the ranks through her reputation as a disciplinarian, becoming a staff developer at 198 and going back to school for a degree in Developmental Reading and a Masters in Administration. Daley was then moved up to Assistant Principal at PS 200, a middle school, in the early 90s at the height of the crack epidemic. When the school became 214, Daley was asked to be the Principal and began to build the school back up from the ground. She worked as Assistant Superintendent for a leadership organization until her retirement from public education, and credits her transformative work as an educator to a “cooperative effort” with other Bronx education heroes.

At the same time, Daley was climbing the leadership ranks in Eta Omega Omega. She was elected President of the chapter in 1991, focusing on unifying the group and championing fairness and equity. She was responsible for bringing the Rights of Passage program to the chapter, a program which still operates today, and supported chapter work at Rosalie Hall and St. Luke’s Senior Citizens Home. In 1992, Eta Omega Omega won all five First Place awards at the regional conference and Daley was awarded President of the Year. Daley went on to serve as North Atlantic Regional Director for Alpha Kappa Alpha, before being appointed International Regional Director, a position she held from 2019 to 2022. She describes one of the accomplishments she is most proud of as supporting the social justice platform of AKA that helped to elect Vice President Kamala Harris, and hopes that her many years of service to AKA will be remembered as “fair and equitable.”


African American Studies