Thursday, April 25, 2024

GISD Assistant Superintendent Jimmy Dawson announces retirement

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After 30 years of serving in public education — with 20 of those years at Granbury ISD — Assistant Superintendent Jimmy Dawson has officially announced his retirement effective June 30.

"I'm excited to turn the page on the next chapter while I'm still young,” Dawson told the Hood County News. “I've always said I don't want to work till I'm old and then retire with not much life left in me, so being younger and having the opportunity to draw retirement and then go and serve in other capacities is what I want to do. I'm retiring from one career, but that doesn't mean I'm not gonna have other opportunities.”

Dawson graduated from Canyon High School in 1988 and later attended Abilene Christian University.

“Going into Abilene Christian, I knew I wanted to do something in the field of education of some sort,” Dawson told the Hood County News. “In the summer times, I worked camps, so I was a camp counselor at a couple different camps: Camp Olympia down by Trinity, and then I did some camps at ACU — and I enjoyed the energy and fun around the camps.”

He obtained his degree in kinesiology, as he was constantly active — and it’s ultimately what inspired Dawson to pursue a career in education.

Following his graduation from ACU in 1992, Dawson accepted his first coaching and teaching position in Borger ISD, in the Texas panhandle.

"I was familiar with Borger, but my wife was not,” Dawson said. “She was from the metroplex, so she was not familiar with the panhandle of Texas, and my story goes, thank goodness she said, ‘I do’ because when we married, she followed me and I dragged her into Borger, Texas.”

While in Borger, Dawson said a coaching friend talked him into obtaining his master’s degree and his administrator's certification.

“I really didn't know if I wanted to do that or not because, again, I love sports, I love coaching, but he talked me into it," he said.

He earned his master’s degree at West Texas A&M University and completed post-graduate work at Texas Tech University.

“Before I knew it, I was an administrator pretty quick,” Dawson said. “I spent two years there as a teacher and coach and four years there as an assistant principal and teacher.”

Dawson said Borger was a great small town where families really “embraced the young.” To this day, he said he is still friends with a multitude of people as he and wife, Leah, had developed such deep-rooted friendships.

"I actually had to drag Leah out of Borger because we had so many people that really loved us,” he said.

In 1999, Dawson received a job offer to become an elementary principal in Planview. He accepted the job and served as principal there for four years. 

Once the Dawson’s had their two children, Drew and Delaney, they started looking for jobs around the metroplex to move closer to Leah’s family. Dawson’s parents had coincidentally just purchased a home in Granbury. During a church service, they had been introduced to former Granbury High School Principal Troy Green, who revealed that Granbury Middle School had a principal opening.

“I was elementary principal and really enjoyed the elementary side, but missed the fast-paced, action-packed older kids,” Dawson explained. “When I heard there was a middle school principal job open, I applied, one thing led to another, and they hired me in April of 2003 at Granbury Middle School.”

It was during his time at GMS, however, that Dawson decided to make a drastic career change.

After four years serving as Granbury Middle School principal, Dawson took a year off in 2007 to become a State Farm Insurance agent.

“My brother did that, my dad did that after he finished coaching, and I thought ‘Well, they're doing that and there's an opening,’ and applied for it,” he said. “I did become a State Farm agent and sold insurance and financial services for 11 months. Great company. But I missed education, missed the kids and missed the energy. I just knew that was my passion and I wanted to go back to what I really loved doing. My passion was being around kids, being around the staff, and building those relationships.”

Once former Acton Middle School Principal Bobby Mabery retired in 2008, Dawson applied for his position, and was offered the job. He served as principal there until 2020.

When COVID-19 hit, Dawson was offered the Career and Technical Education (CTE) director position, where he served for one year.

After former Assistant Superintendent Ron Holmgreen resigned from his position in 2021, Dawson and Tammy Clark interviewed with Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Glenn, who aimed to restructure the position, leading to Clark and Dawson both receiving offers to serve as assistant superintendents of GISD.

Dawson has now spent the last three years as GISD’s assistant superintendent — marking a total of 20 years with the district.

“In my 30-year career, I have been fortunate to serve 20 of those years in Granbury ISD,” Dawson said in a Granbury ISD press release. “William Harris, former superintendent of GISD, gave me a chance to join the principal team in 2003, and I have been blessed to work with some fantastic leaders and educators over the years. It has been a true blessing to raise my family in this wonderful community and I look forward to continuing to serve the community in a new role.”

In his career, Dawson led AMS to a “Texas School to Watch” designation as principal in 2016. He is a two-time Plainview Daily Herald Principal of the Year, Tarleton State University’s Instructional Leadership Award recipient (2009), a beneficiary of the HEB Principal Excellence in Education Award (2011) and the Hood County United Way “We Care Award” in 2018, according to the GISD press release.

He has also served the Granbury community in numerous ways as a United Way board member and has been a part of Kiwanis Club and Rotary Club in Hood County.

While Dawson has yet to reveal what exactly his retirement plans will look like, he said the plans are education related.

“The thing that I can tease about and share is that I've got basically 24 years as an administrator, and I've got some experiences that I know are valuable, that I can still share work with,” he said. “I hope to be able to utilize my skills and experiences that I've been given."

Dawson shared his favorite aspect about being a part of Granbury ISD is the deep-rooted relationships he was able to form district wide.

"Granbury ISD has had the opportunity to have some amazing professional developments and real skill builders come through and help us push quality education to all students,” he said. “Twenty years in one district has been a gift that nobody can ever take away.”

Once Dawson officially retires June 30, he plans to spend some much-needed time on the golf course and become more involved with Lakeside Baptist Church. He also plans to travel with his wife, Leah, and his two children Drew, 24, and Delaney, 21.

"I just want to encourage our community to look at our educators and support them because they go in and work tirelessly for our future, and we've got to just continue to invest in the future,” he added. “Our teachers are some of the most important professionals out there and we certainly want to continue to support them in every way possible, because it's a difficult time right now, so the more support they can receive, the better off our future will be.”