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CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR FINALIST PROFILE: Meadowfield Instructional Assistant Helps Educate and Empower Students with Special Needs

Lakisha Dunn The motto of Richland One’s Meadowfield Elementary School is “Every Child, Every Day.” One way the school is able to ensure all students receive the individualized attention they need to be successful is through the work of people like Lakisha Dunn.

Dunn, a special education instructional assistant at Meadowfield, has served in her current position for three of the 15 years she has been with Richland One. She is one of six school-level Classified Employees of the Year who are in the running for the district-level distinction.

“Ms. Dunn is ethical, professional and consistently shows initiative. She is consistently exceeding the standards of all the characteristics of an effective employee,” said Meadowfield Principal Lisa Davis. “If she sees a need in the classroom, she is going to find a way to meet that need. From preparing daily calendars at home to getting donations for children’s snacks, there is no job Ms. Dunn does not give 150 percent.”

Davis adds that Dunn is uniquely gifted for the field of special education and behavior management. Dunn works closely with the classroom teacher regarding behavior management, self-care skills and academic requirements.

“Her behavior management provides classroom structure that assists in a well-run, highly organized classroom,” said Lisa Butler, a Meadowfield special education teacher.

Butler said Dunn works diligently with students on interpersonal interaction, even teaching them sign language.

“Due to my students being non-verbal, medically fragile or showing inappropriate behaviors, many on the outside looking in think that it is impossible to educate our students. I know and see differently,” said Dunn. “I get to see them blossom and soar to new heights daily.”

Dunn said although working with intellectually disabled students brings with it a host of challenges and opportunities, she considers it a privilege to be entrusted with making a positive impact on their lives.

“I have been fortunate to see students start out in a self-contained special education classroom and now they are in the workforce being productive citizens,” she said. “My role as an instructional assistant is a very important part of that successful transition.”

The new Richland One Classified Employee of the Year will be announced May 27 during the district’s Celebration 2022 employee recognition event.