Deanna Emberley Bailey grew up in Shelburne and Charlotte. In 1985 she crossed the Connecticut River to attend Dartmouth College, where she played varsity soccer and majored in biology and education. She also met her future husband Chris, a classmate.
After their Dartmouth graduations, Chris and Deanna followed their dreams around New England. They got married, and pursued graduate school and their careers, Chris in sustainable agriculture and Deanna in education. They also had two sons and eventually settled down in Barre.