Cheryle Dyle-Palmer

Cheryle F. Dyle-Palmer transitioned on Saturday, April 13. A proud member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, she held multiple leadership roles at Parents as Teachers National Center, headquartered in St. Louis, and received a 2006 Stellar Performer in Education award from the St. Louis American Foundation.

A celebration of her life will be held on Friday, April 19 at 11 a.m. at her beloved Centennial Christian Church, 4950 Fountain Ave., with visitation commencing at 9 a.m. The final benediction, committal and interment will be held in St. Peter's Cemetery.

“Working with pre-schoolers is not enough,” Dyle-Palmer told The American about her life work in 2006 when she received her Salute recognition. “Parents are the first and most important teachers of children, and education begins at the prenatal stage.”

Countless parent educators – including many who were themselves raised by parent educators who were trained by Parents as Teachers – mourn her along with her family, church family, sorors and former colleagues.

“On behalf of the Parents as Teachers National Center’s administration, the Board of Directors and staff, we’d like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of our beloved Mrs. Cheryle Dyle-Palmer,” Constance Gully, Parents as Teachers president and CEO, said in a statement.

“Mrs. Dyle-Palmer retired from the National Center in December 2017, after 15 years of dedicated leadership and guidance to the international organization. Her contributions over the years have led to many of the important Parents as Teachers efforts and programs in place today.”

Over the years, Dyle-Palmer served as chief operating officer, interim chief executive officer, and chief diversity officer at Parents as Teachers. She wrote about her work with Parents as Teachers in The St. Louis American in 2014 after President Obama’s announcement of “My Brother’s Keeper” as a national initiative.

“Operating in Missouri through the public school districts, Parents as Teachers’ programs use home visits to connect families to trained parent educators. Each visit is personalized depending on the child’s age, the parents’ interests and needs, and the family culture,” Dyle-Palmer wrote.

“Visiting the parents of a newborn may be more about providing experiences to help build strong brain pathways and connections, as well as helping the parents manage stress and newborn safety issues. Visiting the parents of a two-year-old may focus on language development and establishing routines. Visiting the parents of a four-year-old probably involves preparing the child for school transition. And through it all, parent educators make sure they are providing culturally adaptable materials that honor family and ethnic traditions.”

She helped to spearhead the 2009 Missouri Business Leader Summit on Early Childhood Investment, which brought together nearly 50 business leaders to discuss the role of early childhood education in strengthening Missouri’s workforce for the 21st century.

“Many who had the privilege of working with Mrs. Dyle-Palmer will recall the passion and deep commitment she had for the mission of Parents as Teachers and, more importantly, the families touched,” Gully stated.

“Her vision led to community impact efforts in our own back yard, what we now know as our Show Me Strong Families affiliate (now serving families in the Normandy Schools Collaborative and the City of St. Louis) and our organizational commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Dyle-Palmer was awarded the St. Louis Business Journal’s Diverse Business Leaders Award and Most Influential Business Woman Award; the 1995 Program Innovator of the Year award by the Literacy Council of Greater St. Louis; Southern Christian Services’ It Only Takes a Spark award; Annie Malone Children and Family Services Center’s Child Advocate of the Year award; and was recognized as a distinguished alumna of the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

One of her crowning achievements was her membership at Centennial Christian Church, where she served as moderator for 12 years until her passing. Together with her church and sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, Dyle-Palmer championed an adult literacy effort through Saint Louis Public Schools.

“Parents as Teachers National Center has grown organizationally because of the tireless work of Mrs. Dyle-Palmer, and her legacy will continue as the organization moves forward. Each of us not only grieves the loss of a tremendous individual, but also a member of the Parents as Teachers family,” Gully stated.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Dyle-Palmer’s husband, Barry, her son William, sisters Alexis, Karen and Donna and their entire family.”

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