Alumnae in Education

Clark Atlanta University (CAU) celebrates the accomplishments of the phenomenal alumnae of our past, present and future. The University has a long track record of creating leaders in the field of Education. Listed here are the innovative alumnae from CAU and our predecessor institutions, Atlanta University (1865) and Clark College (1869) who have made significant contributions in Education:


Etta Zuber Falconer

Educator, Mathematician and STEM Advocate

Atlanta University, 1982

Falconer earned a Master's Degree in Computer Science from Atlanta University in 1982. One of the most respected leaders in mathematics and science education, Falconer has worked in several capacities with the American Association for the Advancement in Science (AAAS), the American Mathematical Society (AMS), and the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM).


In 1987, she introduced the NASA Women in Science Program, NASA Undergraduate Science Research Program, and the College Honors Program at Spelman College. Under her direction as chair of the Division of Natural Science, the college added departments in chemistry and computer science, as well as a major in biochemistry.




Elizabeth Duncan Koontz
Activist and Educator
1st African American President,
National Education Association (NEA)

Atlanta University, 1941

Koontz earned her masters degree in education from Atlanta University in 1941. As a special education teacher at Price High School in Salisbury, North Carolina, Duncan spent her career championing equal rights and better opportunities for African Americans, women, and the working poor.


In 1969, President Richard Nixon appointed her to be an adviser to the US Secretary of Labor; she also served as the director of the United States Department of Labor Women’s Bureau. At the end of President Nixon’s first term, Elizabeth returned to North Carolina to coordinate the nutrition programs for the Department of Human Resources.





Mary Frances Early

Educator and Civil Rights Activist

Clark College, 1957

In 1957, Early graduated as valedictorian from Clark College with her B.A. in music education. She shattered the barriers of segregation by becoming the first African-American to graduate from the University of Georgia in 1962, earning her masters degree. Soon thereafter, she began teaching music at segregated schools and advocating for student success before eventually being promoted to music director of the Atlanta Public School system.


In 1981, Early became the first African American elected president of the Georgia Music Educators Association, supporting music organizations in other cities and promoting music education to leaders in the state Capitol. As a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, Early determined grants for musical organizations across the country for 11 years. She also helped write the Macmillan/McGraw-Hill music textbook series.


After she retired from working in public schools in 1994, Early served as chair of the music department at Clark Atlanta University and taught at Morehouse College and Spelman College.