Making the Grade : Dawn Zoni |

Making the Grade : Dawn Zoni

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Dawn Zoni - Making the Grade

Dawn Zoni is the new division director for Colorado Mountain College’s Summit Campus, where she oversees the outdoor education, fire science, math, physical education, science and emergency medical services programs.Inspiration: I originally wanted to be a business major and work on Wall Street someday. But I lived in France for a few years and became more interested in quality of life than capitalism.I really liked being in education administration at Yale. You’re always learning something from the students. It’s kind of like staying in school, which I love, and getting paid for it.

Motivation: I do a lot of program development, which is exciting, because it allows me the opportunity to work with the community to fill its needs.I’ve been working with the high school to help create a med-tech program by providing emergency medical services classes and any of the science classes they’ll need. I work with the firefighters to see what academic classes they need to succeed in their jobs. I helped start a culinary program at CMC’s Vail Campus.In my last position, at San Juan College, I was very active in the community. It was great to see how a college can interact with a community by providing an event or activity to bring people together.I organized an event where we set up 50,000 luminarias (a votive candle set in a small paper bag weighted with sand and placed in rows with others along walkways or rooftops as a holiday decoration). We started working on it in July and it’s a week-long set-up. Our staff was new, and I kept thinking, “Why do we go through all this effort? We could buy turkeys for people.”

When the sun began to set, and all the volunteers came out – thousands of people light them and keep them lit – and I saw the candles start glowing, that was the moment I got it.Philosophy: In order for students to succeed, they need to have a quality learning environment that addresses their individual needs. Students have different learning styles and different personal lives. There is a lot to take into consideration with each student, and we need to keep an open mind and realize each one is an individual.Accomplishments: One student I worked with had a learning disability, and a lot of people didn’t want to give her a chance. After a while, people came up to me and said, “Wow, she’s really made progress, and she’s so motivated now.”

All the students I’ve helped to succeed are my greatest accomplishments.If I had $100,000: I think we could use another science lab and some equipment to provide higher level labs and offer that hands-on experience students need.Extracurricular: I ski, ride my bike and hike. I like gardening, but there’s too much snow up here, so I won’t get a chance to do that.

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