WEAC – Badgers Outstanding Educator: Dawn Perkins, Unity Education Association

Dawn Perkins, a member of the Unity Education Association and eighth grade math teacher, is the latest recipient of the WEAC-Badgers Outstanding Educator Award.

Perkins, who is married to Unity EA member-teacher Shawn Perkins, has worked as a teacher and school volleyball coach for 25 years. She will be honored by the sold-out crowd at the October 19 UW-Badger volleyball game.

From organizing the annual Dig Pink fundraiser, to coaching volleyball and basketball, Perkins is dedicated to her students and school community. She was formerly named Outstanding Unity Staff Member of the Year and is involved in middle and high school drama, Destination Imagination, and has played piano for the solo and ensemble contest. Equally committed to her union, Perkins has been involved since 1988.

“I truly enjoy working with middle school students, no day is never the same,” said Perkins. “My favorite part of teaching mathematics is watching a student experience the ‘AH-HA!’ moment. There is nothing like watching them struggle and struggle and then suddenly, it clicks! There is an intrinsic reward with knowing that you have been a small part in their success. Also, I’ve gotten to the point in my career where I am now teaching the children of some of my first students. That is exciting, but also scary – it means I’ve been teaching for a long time!”

When it comes to her union, Perkins said she belongs for several reasons. “First, it is to pay respect to those workers who fought for our basic rights all those years ago,” she said. “When I first became involved with our contract negotiations team, I remember the older members talking about the struggles they had early in their career and the items they had to fight for over the years, those things that many of us take for granted today. We owe them to carry on their hard work from many years ago. Second, my mom was a member of the ESP staff at her school for 30 years… And finally, the Unity Education Association is my professional organization.  I should belong to the organization that represents me.”