Desa Dawson
2014 State Supervisor of the Year

Desa Dawson, Director of World Language Education for the Oklahoma State Department of Education, was recognized as the 2014 State Supervisor of the Year at the Annual Meeting of the National Council of State Supervisors for Languages (NCSSFL) in San Antonio, Texas, on November 18, 2014. Desa served as Secretary and then President of NCSSFL from 2012-2013 and currently serves as Past President. She served on the ACTFL Board of Directors from 2006-2010.

Desa Dawson has made valuable contributions to world language education throughout her career and is a constant advocate for the teaching of languages in public schools at the state, regional, and national levels. She very much values the work of professional language organizations and strives to be an active member. While describing her tireless work, one of her colleagues writes, “Desa wears many hats – organizer, defender, inspirational leader, protector, visionary and mediator to name just a few – but she does it with a personal touch.” That same colleague goes on to say that Desa “does all that she does because of her love for languages and for the people who teach languages.”

Since becoming Director of World Languages in 2006, Desa has forged partnerships with France and Spain and also worked with the Confucius Institute at the University of Oklahoma to bring much needed teachers to the state. She was honored by the French government with the Ordre des Palmes Académiques in 2008 recognizing the state’s unique partnership with the Académie d’Amiens. Desa has also strived to revitalize the languages of the 39 Tribes in Oklahoma as an important legacy to the state’s population by creating an alternative pathway to certification for speakers of those languages. Another colleague points out that Desa “has never failed to remember WHY we do this” because, as the lapel pin she wears every single day states, our focus should be “Kids First.” .