Dawn Owens is the Community Engagement/Birth-to-Eight Policy Specialist for VOICES for Alabama’s Children. She spearheads community engagement and policy work focusing on children from birth to eight. The Mobile, Ala., native is an early childhood professional with more than 30 years of experience in teaching, coaching, identifying needs and providing support to classroom teachers, and advocating for high-quality early learning in Alabama.
I knew at an early age that I wanted to be an Early Childhood Educator. I come from a family of educators and my formative years were spent with my grandmothers, who were both nurturing caregivers to many young children. They laid a foundation for me that ignited my passion for this work.
Dawn taught kindergarten in Montgomery (Alabama) public schools for 10 years before joining the Montgomery Education Foundation as a program coordinator. In this role, she facilitated the district’s expansion of full-day pre-k programs from one to 23 classrooms. The expansion included creating a unique community of practice that included high-quality professional development and mentoring for teachers in all the participating classrooms.
Through her past work with what is now the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (formerly the Alabama Department of Children’s Affairs, Office of School Readiness), and the Alabama Department of Human Resources, Child Care Services Division, Dawn provided leadership in early care and education-related issues.
Dawn also worked as a consultant with state agencies, school systems, Head Start Programs, nonprofits, and private and community-based childcare programs to help them maintain optimal quality and implement developmentally appropriate instruction for young children.
Just before joining VOICES staff, Dawn worked with The Council for Professional Recognition, engaging with local, state, and national government decision-makers.
Dawn is an Alabama State University graduate, earning her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. She and her family live in Montgomery where she and her husband have been actively involved in their children’s schools, sports and other extracurricular activities. Dawn enjoys time with family, traveling and crafting.