Efia Dalili - Retiree Tributes - McDonogh School

Efia Dalili

“It is all about listening. You listen, you learn,” Dr. Efia Dalili told the students in her African Dance class. That is good advice coming from a teacher who loves literature, music, movement, and the power of a story well told.

Efia came to McDonogh in 2001 to teach English in the Upper School. With a Ph.D. in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania, she has infused her teaching with lessons about customs and culture from around the world. Efia has taught ninth through twelfth grades and has offered such courses as English l and ll, African American Literature,  Folklore and Popular Culture, Caribbean and Latin American Literature, and The American Dream. Efia has a particular passion for poetry. She has served as an advisor for the Poet’s Club, sponsored students in Baltimore’s Spoken Word competition, and curated speakers to present their poetry at McDonogh.

Outside the classroom, Efia has continued her quest to have every voice heard and every story told. She was Director of Diversity from 2011 to 2013 and in that role helped to organize Multicultural Night, trips to the People Of Color Conference, and a Diversity Conference for Students. She also sponsored the student group Sankofa for a time.

In addition, Efia’s love for music and movement has enriched our experience of the arts here at McDonogh. Although some might perceive her as outwardly reserved, Efia can explode into high-energy, joyful dance as she leads her African dance class. Efia has also choreographed several pieces for the Upper School Dance Concert in recent years.

Efia is someone who listens well and responds wisely. In 2012, former Head of School Charlie Britton described Efia as, “thoughtful, kind, flexible, proactive, and mission driven. She invites our trust.” Thank you, Efia, for all you have done for McDonogh over these past 18 years. We are grateful for the many opportunities you have given us to listen and learn, and we wish you the very best.