As a master education designer and teaching artist, Dawn teaches across the United States, working with people of all ages and abilities. Groups may be as small as a handful of young people or as large as a hall full of hundreds of professionals. With a career of focusing on access and inclusion, Dawn works with hosts to meet the variety of educational needs in the room through creativity. She deftly weaves sustainability and social justice action into her work with communities and organizations, whether the gathered people are focused on education, inclusion, or social interactions.
Dawn’s teaching artistry ranges from providing professional development in Delaware to facilitating an inaugural leadership track at the Connecticut Higher Order Thinking (HOT) Schools institute. For instance, Dawn coached Wyoming educators in schools, communities, and museums to use partnerships to address access challenges; sponsor University of Wyoming’s Art Museum won a 2010 regional award for this institute. Dawn worked with the country’s largest international artist and writer’s retreat, the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT, to evaluate and improve its teaching artist/ education programs.
Experience in access, diversity, inclusion of people with disabilities, and continuous improvement led to her coaching educators, administrators, school leaders, and teaching artists from around the world in VSA Institutes for the Arts in Learning across the U.S.. Working with VSA, Dawn developed their first fellowship professional development program for teaching artists with disabilities. As an early executive director of VSA Vermont, now Inclusive Arts Vermont, she built programs across the state and led and designed classes in movement, word, theater, and connection with new American communities, integrated groups inclusive of adults with developmental disabilities, as well as worked with teachers and administrators.
The State of New Jersey recently launched the pilot of its newly designed statewide professional development institute for arts in education, the APLI (Arts Professional Learning Institute) based on Dawn’s research and recommendations for a more inclusive program.
Dawn holds a Masters of Education degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education, with focus on leadership of organizations, professional development, and systems thinking. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University in English focused on theatre and poetry. Coursework at the University of Delaware developed further theatre, leadership, research skills, language, women and social justice skills. At the University of Vermont she refined her understandings of sustainability, visual arts, performing arts, and public health. Dawn classically trained in piano at American University’s preparatory program with Claire Rozier, ballet at the Washington School of Ballet, music composition at Yale University, and voice with Bill Reed Voice Studios. Hunt Prothro mentored her in ceramic and clay work, with sculpture work at Duke Ellington School of the Arts.
Dawn is a founding editorial board member of the peer-reviewed The Teaching Artist Journal. Her service projects include coaching leaders involved with Americans for the Arts and reviewing grants for various state and national panels. Dawn has served on the board of the Latin Grammy-nominated Delaware Symphony Orchestra. She served as one of the youngest Commissioners of the Delaware Council on the Arts, appointed by Governor Ruth Ann Minner. Dawn advised the development of MusicanCorps, an Aspen Institute think tank initiative to develop a “peace corps” for musicians, now hosted by The Center for Music National Service. She served as a final juror for the first national teaching artist awards, hosted at California’s Montalvo Art Center in Silicon Valley. Music COMP, the national online learning community of K-12 students, composers, and teachers, credits Dawn with the genesis their Opus performance series, where professionals perform selected student music compositions.