Dawn Kelley Slifer

Dawn Kelley Slifer

Interim Principal

Ed.S. Educational Administration and Policy, University of Tennessee; M.A. English Composition and Communication, Central Michigan University; B.S. Interpersonal and Organizational Communication, Central Michigan University

Dawn Kelley Slifer comes to Lighthouse Connections Academy with more than 15 years of experience in education. She began her journey in education by bringing her experience as a novelist into the classroom as a high school English teacher in a rural school in Arizona, where she fell in love with education. Within a few years, she became department leader and a Master Teacher with the National Institute of Excellence in Teaching in partnership with Arizona State University, which allowed her to focus on strengthening teachers’ practices and improving the quality of education their students received.

In her career, Dawn has served in roles such as Department Chair, Academic Dean, Instructional Technology Specialist, and most recently as the High School Principal of Tennessee Connections Academy. While her career began in a traditional setting, her work naturally grew with each position to include more understanding of the powerful role integrating technology can have in students’ educational experience.

Eventually, her work brought her to become a leader in educating teachers on how to use technology effectively to improve their instruction. At Tennessee Connections Academy she was able to harness her vision for building a school focused on community, caring for students’ best interests, and the amazing achievement that can take place when a group of people come together to pursue a collective goal.

Throughout her roles and her journey, one thing has always been missing: she has longed to bring her family and her career back home to Michigan. She states, “Growing up on Drummond Island, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, is like something out of a children’s story. The Great Lakes are just so beautiful. The people are authentic and kind. Raising my daughter in this area—where my family has lived for five generations—matters to me. I am humbled by the opportunity to bring my career home to Lighthouse Connections Academy, and work for a school system I love, doing work that I love for people in a state that I love. Michigan kids have always mattered to me, and now I get to work for them.”

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