With a deep commitment to developing and lifting up the next generation of K-12 education leaders, Shawn Bird, Ed.D., deputy superintendent of school leadership at San Antonio ISD, was honored with the 2023 Gerald D. Dawkins Leadership Builder Award by Education Research & Development Institute (ERDI) and K12 Insight at the 2023 ERDI Summer Institute yesterday.
“I am thrilled to recognize Shawn Bird with the 2023 Gerald D. Dawkins Leadership Builder Award because he embodies the selfless servant leadership of Gerald Dawkins and is a true supporter of aspiring education leaders,” said Suhail Farooqui, CEO of K12 Insight. “Shawn demonstrates just the kind of leader who looks back and pulls others up to enrich and grow the number of people helping children succeed.”
Serving more than two decades in K-12 education, Bird is a passionate educator and strong K-12 leader who has dedicated his entire career to developing educators while maintaining a proven track record of improving student outcomes. He’s known nationally for building effective educational systems that prioritize learning and developing educators to become future leaders.
Bird served urban school districts as a teacher, instructional coach, and middle and high school principal before moving into district leadership positions. In his new role at San Antonio ISD, Bird will oversee the managerial and operational oversight of San Antonio ISD’s school campuses, lead the school leadership team of assistant superintendents, and facilitate services and communication with the district’s Senate Bill 1882 partners and campuses. Prior to joining San Antonio ISD, Bird focused on transforming student outcomes as the chief academic officer at Houston ISD.
“It was an honor to know Gerald Dawkins and be a beneficiary of his mentorship. He inspired me by generously sharing his time and expertise, and even nudged me to take on higher levels of leadership. He pushed me outside of my comfort zone and opened doors to professional opportunities that elevated my career,” said Bird. “Gerald Dawkins was a true leader builder and I am humbled to receive this award that celebrates his unparalleled commitment to helping others step up. And I am even more inspired to help others — with the resources this award provides, I will be able to do that in ways that were otherwise not possible.”
The Gerald D. Dawkins Leadership Builder Award was created in remembrance of Gerald D. Dawkins, Ed.D., a nationally known public education advocate who dedicated his life’s work to serving all children, teachers, and staff, especially the underserved — all while lifting up aspiring education leaders to do the same. The award honors education leaders who go above and beyond in helping others discover and embrace their full leadership potential. Each year an award is presented during the ERDI Summer Institute. Award recipients receive $5,000 to grant to two teachers in any school district to explore leadership opportunities outside of the classroom.
“Shawn Bird exemplifies the very thing that Gerald Dawkins inspired this community with — stepping up to work harder, serve with a greater passion, and embrace greater levels of responsibility and ownership,” said Jennifer L. Ferrari, Ed.D., CEO and president of ERDI. “It’s our honor to select Shawn for his tireless efforts in championing public education and elevating up-and-coming education leaders.”
Last year, Baron R. Davis, Ph.D., who then served as the superintendent of Richland School District Two in South Carolina, was the recipient of the inaugural Gerald D. Dawkins Leadership Builder Award. Davis is widely regarded for his accomplishments, including developing South Carolina’s first equity policy for K-12 education and launching Richland School District Two’s Premier 100 program, a program focused on recruiting Black male teachers. He is also recognized for developing future educational leaders and challenging them to grow their skills and take on greater levels of responsibility in their careers.
Davis selected Xavier Spann, a middle school Special Education teacher at Richland School District Two, and Davontae Singleton, a middle school assistant principal at Richland School District Two, to receive award funds to further their education as they both seek advanced degrees in school psychology and educational systems administration, respectively. Spann and Singleton both serve as lead facilitators for Richland School District Two’s Premier 100 program, where they assist in the co-design and creation of professional development modules for program participants.
ERDI works to create a rich and meaningful forum for education leaders and solution providers to collaboratively discuss, design, and shape the products and services, which support PK-12 education. K12 Insight partners with school districts to take customer service from a bullet point on their strategic plan to a core value with a comprehensive suite of customer service solutions — including a powerful customer service platform and chatbot, expert-led research services, a DIY survey solution, and professional development.
# # #
About K12 Insight
K12 Insight partners with school districts to take customer service from a bullet point on their strategic plan to a core value with a comprehensive suite of customer service solutions — including a powerful customer service platform, a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence, expert-led research services, a DIY survey solution, and professional development.
K12 Insight helps you understand why school districts need customer service and leads you through the journey of implementing a customer service transformation through an intentional, data-driven approach. With a customer-centric approach, school districts can better understand community priorities, manage brand perceptions, nurture trust, and identify issues before they become crises.
As a leading innovator of customer service solutions for schools, K12 Insight has helped over 400 districts across the nation adapt to the digital transformation.
About Education Research & Development Institute
For nearly 40 years, The Education Research & Development Institute (ERDI) has convened top district and industry leaders from across the US to collaboratively tackle the top problems of practice facing PK-12 education. Members share professional expertise and insights to inform and optimize the development of products and services, which support PK-12 districts, schools, and classrooms. Through a combination of research and development panels, think tanks, symposiums, roundtables, and professional learning opportunities, ERDI supports school district leaders and solution providers who contribute to the critical work of public education.