Dean Clifford is a retired educator and early childhood services consultant. She has been a longtime lay leader at Knollwood Baptist Church and a community volunteer and activist in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She has a Ph. D. from University of North Carolina at Greensboro, M.Ed. from Wake Forest University and B.A. from Salem College. She and her husband, Fred, have been married since 1962; they have four adult children and nine grandchildren.