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Around Our Town...Outstanding Educators

Dawn Burns

06/01/2005 - "You saved my life. I wanted to commit suicide but my sister would come home and tell me the things you told her. They had an impact on me."

The above quote, directed to Dawn Burns, Resource Classroom Teacher at Dean Morgan Junior High School, explains why she finds teaching so rewarding. She loves being able to have a positive influence in the lives of her students.

Dawn graduated in 1994 in Minnesota, obtaining her elementary education degree. She holds licenses in Elementary Education, LD and MMR(FLS).

When asked who/what was most influential in her own educational background, Dawn responds, "My parents, because they instilled in me the values of family, work, morals and ethics, which we lived up to. They were our biggest fans, always there cheering us on. Dad said it was hard as a parent for him to watch us fail but he felt it was necessary to go through some failures to succeed."

Teaching is a rich part of Dawn's heritage. "It's who I am," she smiles. Her great grandmother was an elementary school teacher. Her grandmother homeschooled her educable mentally handicapped son. Her brother was a history teacher and her sister is an elementary teacher. When Dawn's mother died of cancer, Dawn promised her she would get her degree and become a teacher.

Dawn also holds a masters of technology. She wrote the Make A Difference grant for a computer lab five years ago and just wrote another one for an upgrade.

When asked what she finds most challenging about teaching, Dawn reflects, "The bureaucratic expectation that every child is the same...not looking at them as individuals. It's not teaching them...I love doing that. I do believe in expectations. They have to be realistic expectations."

Dawn enjoys the community involvement by which Casper is characterized. "It's large enough to offer diverse activities and small enough to really get to know people. It's a great place to raise kids," she says.

One need only visit a moment with Dawn Burns to recognize her dedication and love for the children entrusted to her care on a daily basis. "All I ever am is myself with them; I give them 'me'," she relates. "When they're having a bad day, I listen."

Thanks, Dawn, for truly making a difference in such a special way in the lives of Casper's children.

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