Educator of the week

Dawn Person 
Frank W. Ballou Senior HS

Math Teacher
District of Columbia Public School System

Adjunct Professor
University of the District of Columbia
Favorite Teaching Subject: Mathematics

Throughout her 23 years as an educator, Ms. Dawn Person has taught numerous grade levels throughout K-12. Currently, she is a member of the Frank W. Ballou Senior High School faculty, located in the southeast DC area. She originally began her professional journey in education as a preschool teacher working in the private sector for 10 years. She then moved onto the Elementary level for 4 years before finding her calling as a Math teacher and honing her skills at the Middle school level. Ms. Person has been at Ballou HS for the past 6 years and exclusively teaches advanced Math to juniors and seniors. Aside from her dedication to the Ballou HS community she also works part-time as an Adjunct Professor in the Mathematics and Education departments for the University of the District of Columbia.

For as long as she can remember, Ms. Person has always "wanted to know the who, what, where, why and how of things." At an early age, she developed a love for learning and claims that as young as 9 years old she liked school so much because she wanted to help people learn. As a child, rather than asking for play toys and having the typically wants of a young girl, she would request school workbooks so she could "assign homework" to her friends whenever they would come over to play. Therefore, she states that she chose to become a teacher at a young age since she always saw school as an outlet for her and wanted to make school fun and joyful for others.

Ms. Person credits two of her teachers for giving her the inspiration and motivation to excel and succeed in school. First we have Mrs. Lakis, her 4th grade teacher, whom she thanks for recognizing that she had a reading deficiency. She provided the additional help and support that laid the foundation for her to master the skills associated with synthesizing readings. Over time, this helped Ms. Person develop her fondness for reading. She would also like to acknowledge Ms. Banks, her 11th grade accounting teacher. Ms. Banks saw the potential in her and challenged her to outperform the upperclassmen in her class. She wanted to get the best out of her by using unusual tactics to motivate her to do well. Both these teachers were great examples of the type of educator that Ms. Person would want to be someday.

She considers her own personal academic journey as a main reasons why she became involved in STEM education. As a former undergraduate student of engineering at one the world's most prestigious private institutions, she wondered "why things worked" the way they did. This general thought process has stayed with her over the years. As a current high school math teacher she feels that students need to wonder and ask these same types of questions. She feels that it is a good trait to have because the more inquisitive that students are, it is more likely that they will become innovators that pursue career pathways within STEM outside of the classroom.

With the state of our country's technical workforce, she understands the increasing need for more scientists and engineers to combat the problems associated with current issues associated with the global economy and advances in technology. One of the ways that she hopes to tackle the STEM crisis is by planning and hosting a STEM day on her campus to further expose her students to STEM college and career pathways. She hopes to build on this momentum by eventually establishing a STEM mentoring program on the Ballou HS campus.

During her spare time, Dawn enjoys staying-in and reading for leisure, her favorite genres of literature are crime novels and science fiction which coincidentally are some of her favorite type of movies as well. When she decides to put her books down, she'll flip on her TV to watch a good football game. She declined to state what her favorite team is - we're thinking that's because they have a sub-500 record.

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