Adrian Malik Fenty was born to Philip and Jan Fenty, an interracial couple, on December 6, 1970, in Washington, D.C. Fenty’s parents were both runners and they owned the athletic shoe store Fleet Feet in Washington, D.C. Fenty graduated from Woodrow Wilson Senior High School in Washington. While attending Oberlin College in Ohio, Fenty gained his first political experience as an intern for Ohio Senator Howard Metzenbaum. Fenty also interned for Massachusetts Representative Joseph P. Kennedy II, and District of Columbia delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton.
Fenty graduated from Oberlin in 1992 with a B.A. in English and economics. He then entered Howard University Law School, earning a J.D. in 1996. After earning his law degree, Fenty worked for two years as the lead attorney and counsel for the District of Columbia Committee on Education, Libraries and Recreation. He also became involved in combating crime when he served as president of 16th Street Neighborhood Association.
In 1997 Fenty married Michelle Cross, a global technology attorney employed by a Washington, D.C. law firm. Two years later, in 1999, Fenty was elected to the Washington, D.C. City Council representing Ward Four. During his first term on the Council, Fenty continued his crusade against crime by advocating increased policing in high crime neighborhoods. He also helped craft programs that created new jobs for his constituents who were among the poorest in Washington, D.C. and he shored up funding for the construction and modernization of more than a dozen schools and recreational centers in his district.
Fenty’s success on the city council translated into a huge mayoral victory in 2006. At 35 he was the youngest mayor in Washington, D.C.s history. During his first year as mayor, Fenty continued with his educational reforms including a controversial one where he placed the D.C. school system under the authority of his office.
Fenty also focused on hiring qualified teachers to promote his education reform initiative, hiring more