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Leading the way to improve learning and teaching conditions 

Barbara Jean Dawson, a dedicated teacher and union leader in Vista Unified School District in San Diego County, is serving her second term on the CTA Board, which expires on June 25, 2020. 

She was elected in October 2015 to represent thousands of teachers in parts of Orange and San Diego counties. 


“I became a teacher because it was something I always wanted to do.”

Her Vista teaching career spans 20 years. She teaches history and language arts at Roosevelt Middle School, and also taught for 10 years at Washington Middle School and at Vista Magnet Middle School. 

She started teaching later in life, after raising two children, and after running a restaurant in New Mexico and working as a bakery manager at supermarkets in San Diego County. 

Her union leadership roots run deep. She served as president of the Vista Teachers Association for five years, and also on the chapter’s bargaining committee and executive board. For 12 years, she served as a delegate to the CTA State Council of Education, the union’s top governing body. She also is a past chair of State Council’s State Legislation Committee. 

She earned a bachelor’s in liberal studies from California State University, San Marcos, and a master’s in educational technology. 

Teaching is all in the family. Her husband, retired San Jose high school math teacher Don Dawson, served on the CTA Board for nine years. Her stepson, Nate Dawson, is a teacher in Alum Rock Union Elementary School District in San Jose, and her daughter, Kayla Franklin, is a teacher in Vista. 

Barbara Dawson lives in San Diego.


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