Dr. Renée A. Dawson

Title: Adjunct Professor
Company: Holy Names University
Location: Oakland, California, United States

Renée Dawson, Adjunct Professor at Holy Names University, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in special needs education.

Following obtaining a bachelor’s degree in 1972 from the University of California, Riverside, Dr. Dawson later followed with a master’s degree in social welfare from the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s degree and subsequently a Doctor of Philosophy in 2008 in human and organizational systems from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California. Dr. Dawson studied the best practices for preventing disproportionate representation of African American children in special education for her doctoral dissertation.

Dr. Dawson served as a school psychologist working with students living with special needs, for which she was awarded the Outstanding School Psychologist Award for the Region by the California Association of School Psychologists in 2006. For two decades, she provided superior service under the California State Department of Education as Assistant Director for Diagnostic Center, Northern California. During her tenure, she was honorably mentioned by the California Department of Education as one of the African American Women of Distinction in 2012. Dr. Dawson has imparted her knowledge as an adjunct professor with Holy Names University in Oakland for the past five years.

Dr. Dawson became involved in her profession because of her desire and passion to help others in society, particularly the minority populations. She was in a position to be able to see injustices and thus she had a commitment to take action and be an advocate. What motivated her to be involved in special education was her ability to witness most African American children being referred for special education. To her, it was the initiative that inspired her moving in terms of looking at why African American children were being referred more compared to other groups. Therefore, she strived to be part of the solution. Dr. Dawson believes that there is an overrepresentation of African American children in special education because of the failure of the educational system to properly serve this population. In the coming years, she hopes to prepare better educators to deal with the problems and issues that the educational profession is facing at the present time.

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