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Dawson joined the district in 1987 as principal at North Lamar High School. The office of superintendent was added to his responsibilities in the spring of 1989. The following fall North Lamar’s Board of Trustees named him superintendent without the additional duties as principal.
As superintendent for 25 years, Dawson has been instrumental in the growth of many areas: the passing of a $11,500,000 bond in 1994 for the present day high school; an addition to Aaron Parker Elementary in 1996; the state-of-the-art James A. Dawson athletic facility in March 2006; and a successful $4.68 million dollar bond election for the construction of new science and computer labs at the high school in the spring of 2010.
Dawson is passionate about his job and is North Lamar’s biggest fan. He attends as many student activities as possible and has been known to see performances in three corners of Texas, all in the same day. Dawson efficiently balances a $23 million dollar budget while overseeing a fleet of 44 buses that run the district’s expansive routes. One might even find him directing the afternoon traffic, substituting in a classroom, delivering birthday cards, or extending a hand shake to one of the 472 employees.
“Mr. Dawson ranks among the top superintendents in the state,” said NLISD Board President Paul Drake. “His service to the district is immeasurable. He’s one hundred percent North Lamar.”
An avid number cruncher, Dawson has been instrumental in maintaining the district’s healthy budget.
“When the district needs something, he finds the money to get it done,” said Drake. “And still within the last decade, he has been influential in lowering the tax rate for ten consecutive years.”
Board member Dr. Robert White added, “No one individual cares more about our students and public education than James Dawson. He is always the first to arrive on campus each day and the last one to leave at night; a mark of his unwavering dedication.”
North Lamar’s School Board will meet next Monday night with TASB to see what the next step is in finding a new superintendent. Knowing that it will be a big task to fill Dawson’s shoes, it is the hope of each board member to have one in place before Dawson leaves.
“Mr. Dawson will be missed by all; from the administrators to the kids. He’s a great asset,” said Drake.
White concluded, “He will be greatly missed and difficult to replace. It has been a privilege for me to have served on the Board of Trustees during his leadership of the North Lamar District. I wish him many full and happy years of much deserved retirement.”
Dawson will complete his 48th year in public education before retiring at the end of June.