DHS Choral Director wins Grammy Educator Award

DeSoto High School Choral Director Pamela Dawson is the 2023 Grammy Educator of the Year
Posted on 02/02/2023
This is the image for the news article titled DeSoto High School Choral Director Pamela Dawson is the 2023 Grammy Educator of the Year

If you first don’t succeed, then you must try again goes the popular adage and DHS Choral Director Ms. Pamela Dawson did just that! Today, DeSoto ISD and many across the nation are celebrating with her.

Teacher. Mom. Grandmother. Musician. Vocalist.

She is everything everyone needs her to be.

But now, she is known as something else: a Grammy award winner.

Nominated for the second time in three years, Ms. Dawson received the 2023 Grammy Music Educator Award presented by the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum.

This award recognizes current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the music education field and demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in schools. Each year, one recipient is selected from 10 finalists and recognized for their remarkable impact on students' lives.

For the Detroit, Mich., native, this accomplishment is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and mentorship she’s provided to countless DeSoto ISD students over the years.

“I believe that the Grammy Foundation did a thorough research of what we’ve provided as far as qualifications to be a finalist,” said Dawson about her nomination submission this go-around. “What I spoke about what I pour into my kids, especially this year dealing with mental health, was a deciding factor in me getting this award. I am so honored that the Grammy Museum and The Recording Academy found me worthy of this honor.”

During her 16-year tenure, Ms. Dawson has built the DeSoto High School choir program into a national powerhouse, having traveled and won numerous competitions across the world.

Highlights include performing in Carnegie Hall and the Southwestern American Choral Directors Association (SWACDA) national honor choir. Locally, her choirs have been a regular feature for the Dallas Black Dance Theater's Dance Africa event for many years.

Even several former students are in high-level music programs and performing in venues such as Broadway.

All in all, what does she hope her students can take away from her winning this award?

It is not about her.

“What I think my students really realize now is that what I’ve been doing has always been for them and not about me,” she said.

Dawson’s Grammy award represents excellence and dedication in music and arts education—-a staple in the DeSoto ISD’s Triple-A experience centered on providing holistic and well-rounded K12 education experiences founded on multi-faceted and multi-layered academics, arts and athletics programs.

DeSoto ISD is one of the top-rated school systems in the Dallas/Fort Worth area according to recent Texas Education Agency accountability ratings. The district’s last three graduating classes have obtained roughly $15M in college scholarships on average—the result of expansive Career and Technical Education, STEM and early childhood education programs rooted in developing literacy and numeracy skills in young learners.

Voted the best community for music education more than six years in a row by the Music Educators Association, DeSoto ISD arts scholars compete and perform at the state, national and international levels annually and have experiences ranging from fine arts inclusive of sketch and sculpture to the choir, dance, band, and theater.

Athletically, the district maintains high-performing sports programs that produce a regular and consistent cadence of scholars advancing to compete at the collegiate and professional levels. Across district history, DeSoto ISD has earned more than 20 state titles including the 2022 football title; the 2021 and 2022 girls' basketball titles and a host of titles in girls' track.

“DeSoto ISD is proud to acknowledge the work of Ms. Pam Dawson in her attainment of this recent achievement,” said DeSoto ISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Usamah Rodgers. “Her commitment to excellence and positive impact on students’ lives is demonstrative of what makes this such an amazing school community—the embodiment of the DeSoto difference.”