Dexter Cirillo holds a B.A. and M.A. in English from San Diego State University and a Ph.D. in English from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Beginning with her service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia, South America, from 1965-1967, she has carved out a professional career devoted to advancing the literature and culture of minority groups in the United States. Her first teaching job in New York (1970-1974) was at Hostos Community College of the City University of New York, the first Puerto Rican college in the United States.
In 1981, Dexter left academia to pursue her long-time interest in American Indian art as an independent scholar, art dealer, and curator. A recognized authority in her field, Dexter is a frequent guest lecturer at museums and universities around the country. She and her husband live in Snowmass, Colorado.