our founding mission & vision
What is our “Why”?
Gerald Dawkins Academy ensures a dynamic and equitable learning community where students, families and teachers will learn, lead, aspire, and achieve optimal intellectual growth.
Students and their families will grow and thrive as productive citizens in our global world. Gerald Dawkins Academy will instill in future generations the power of learning and the importance of giving back to their communities.
Gerald Dawkins Academy is named after the late Dr. Gerald Dawkins. Dr. Dawkins focused his life’s work on ensuring students received a strong education, regardless of where they lived. This admirable commitment to students is exemplified throughout the school and Dr. Dawkins’ legacy will continue to live throughout Gerald Dawkins Academy and beyond.
Dr. Gerald Dawkins was a lifelong educator, changing the lives of countless. In 1973 Dawkins moved to Grand Rapids and began his career as an Alternative School Counselor with Grand Rapids Public Schools. Throughout his tenure with GRPS, he served in the administrative roles of Building Director, Coordinator, Assistant Director, Assistant Superintendent and ultimately as Chief of Staff for the district. In addition to these positions, he also served as Executive Director of Community Relations for Grand Rapids Junior College, Director of Job Corps, and was proud of his dedication to teaching veterans at Davenport College.
In 2001, Dr. Gerald Dawkins became the first black superintendent of the 18,000 student district of Saginaw Michigan City Schools, where he served for seven years. In 2008, he was named superintendent of the 45,000 student district Caddo Parish Schools in Shreveport, Louisiana where he went on to serve for five years. Under the leadership of Dr. Dawkins, both school districts experienced increased academic growth, increased graduation rates, and financial stability.
Dr. Dawkins received the Mike Neal Excellence in Education award from the Educational Research Development Institute, was appointed by Governor Granholm to chair the Michigan State Teacher Tenure Commission, and worked with the late Roy Haynes of Michigan State University, to establish the first African American male summit held at Grand Rapids Community College. He also received the Whitney Young Award from the Gerald Ford Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
He served as Board President for the Grand Rapids Child Guidance Clinic, Michigan Virtual Academy and the Michigan Black Superintendents Association. In addition, Gerald was active in the American Association of School Administrators, National Association of Black School Educators, and the Council of Great City Schools.
After retiring from superintendency, Dr. Dawkins became Senior Vice President of Superintendent and District Relations with Virginia based K12 Insight group, a technology company and leadership consultancy firm dedicated to improving school and community engagement. Dr. Dawkins assisted in coaching and mentoring many young educators across the entire country.
Dr. Gerald Dawkins received a Bachelors from Knoxville College, a Masters Degree from Western Michigan University, a Doctorate Degree from Wayne State University.
Dr. Dawkins was a decorated combat Marine and was the recipient of the Good Conduct Service Medal, the RVN Cross of Gallantry and a Combat Action Ribbon.
Gerald was known for his generosity and straightforward approach to life, his sense of style, and his signature bow tie. He was an avid reader who loved traveling, sports and had the ability to locate the best restaurants and bakeries throughout the country.
Family meant everything to Dr. Dawkins; he was happily married to Gwen Dawkins for 49 years and was the proud father and grandfather of two lovely daughters, one granddaughter and one grandson.
Doctor Dawkins worked his entire career to level the playing field for all children and never allow a zip code to determine one’s success.
“And how are the children?”
-Traditional Greeting of the Maasai Tribe Warriors
WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT?
Gerald Dawkins Academy aspires to carry Dr. Dawkins’ legacy forward by providing each student with the individualized instruction needed to achieve academic success. In order to provide differentiated instruction to all students, Dawkins Academy provides the following innovative approaches to learning:
- Intensive Literacy Instruction
- Individualized Supports for All Students
- Hands-on Curriculum
- Small Class Sizes – 20 Students or Less per Class
- Neighborhood School with Strong Parental Involvement and Community Partners
- Engaging, Real-World Learning Experiences
- SMART Classrooms with 1:1 Technology
- Safe, Nurturing School Environment
Perspectives from our
Parents, Students & Staff
Parent: “Hearing how well my son is doing from his teacher made my whole week, month, and even year. I cannot thank the staff enough for everything they have done for him! He has made tremendous progress, and I am blown away. He is at the place he NEEDS to be, and he is going to do amazing things!”
-3rd Grade Parent of an
Intensive Literacy Student
Student: “I used to hate reading and didn’t ever want to do it, but since I have started coming to my reading group, I feel smart and like I can do hard things. I sometimes even help other kids read now.”
Intensive Literacy Student
Staff: “I love working with this group! I have learned more in the last two years of teaching than I ever did in the first five because of the knowledge the leadership team brings and the team collaboration around me. I feel supported, and am constantly learning and growing here.”
Get In Touch
Location: 1050 Fisk Road SE Grand Rapids, MI 49507
Email: [email protected]
Monday – Friday
8:25 am – 8:45 am
8:45 am – 3:45 pm
(Starting August 1st):
8:15 am – 4:15 pm