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Someone You Should Know: A teacher passionate about finding opportunities for students to succeed

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 10:45 AM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Dawn Marie Johnson is a CTE and community outreach coordinator for Joe Foss High school at Axtell Park in Sioux Falls.

As a career and technical education teacher, community member, and mother, Dawn Marie is passionate about caring for others through social work.

“My goal for my position is to set them up for success after they leave me. Not that I’m going anywhere, I want to stay in touch with them always. And they know that. However, I want to make sure that the folks that want to stay in Sioux Falls, they feel well supported, loved cared for, and they know that they can reach out to somebody in times of need,” said Dawn Marie.

She was inspired by her mother and a native college advisor to pursue social work and give back to her community.

“She shows up every day for these kids who desperately need her and she shows up with that 100% mindset that says I am going to do a big service to these kids,” said Co-founder of Think 3D Tamien Dysart.

She is always rooting for her students and does not stop caring about them even after they graduate.

“My connections that I’ve made every single day with students has been most valuable to me. I’ve always said that education should be relationship first, and the education piece second,” Dawn Marie.

She understands personally what it feels like to come from a different background and have to search to find opportunities.

“So, I am from Waubay, which is a very small area, it’s on the Sisseton Wahpotan Oyateh tribe, which is my tribe. With the limited resources I had, I understood coming into it how important it was to have those options as a young kid, because I didn’t have them growing up,” said Dawn Marie.

Dawn Marie helps her students fight through and overcome battles both personally and educationally offering unwavering support.

“And it gets emotional, it gets really emotional, as soon as they trust me they open up with what they’ve been through,” said Dawn Marie

“When I go home, I do feel pretty exhausted, but I’m able now to make sure that I am taking care of myself first so I can show up being my best self for them,” said Dawn Marie.

“I just saw her give and give selflessly, and she is that glimmer of hope for so many kids,” said Dysart.

Dawn Marie is making an impact on the lives she comes in contact with breaking barriers and finding ways for students to succeed against the odds.

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