Dawson currently serves as the principal of Branson Elementary West, a position he held for the past nine years. Dawson previously served four years in the Los Angeles, Calif., area as both an elementary teacher and principal.
"Mike brings a wealth of experience to Monett R-1 at the elementary level," said Hanson. "He is a visionary leader that has moved his building forward in a very successful manner during his tenure at Branson. His skills and experience will certainly provide a great complement to me at the central office level."
Dawson has served on the southwest region Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals (MAESP) executive board since 2005, and he is currently serving as the president-elect for that organization. He is well respected as an education leader around the state, Hanson said.
In 2010, Dawson was named Missouri's National Distinguished Principal by members of the MAESP. According to Dr. Brad Swofford, assistant superintendent in the Branson School District, Dawson earned the recognition "due to his ability to create high expectations and lead his building with great culture and climate."
Dawson's building was designated as a National School of Character in 2011.
A 1993 graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, Dawson completed his masters degree in educational administration at California State University in 1999 and is a doctoral candidate in educational leadership at the University of Arkansas.
Dawson was one of 25 applicants for the position. The field was narrowed to seven candidates who were interviewed by a panel of Monett teachers, administrators and classified staff. The R-1 Board of Education interviewed two finalists.
"Monett is a progressive district with innovative ideas that are helping to shape 21st Century learners," Dawson said. "I look forward to partnering with teachers, staff, students and the Monett community to ensure the success of all students.
"Monett has made tremendous strides in the past few years to increase student achievement, upgrade facilitates and to create community partnerships to ensure successful students for the future," Dawson continued. "I'm honored and humbled to join the district as assistant superintendent to support the district mission, vision and values."
"I have complete confidence that Mike's expertise in curriculum, assessment and instruction will enable us to maintain high expectations for student performance that we have grown accustomed to in the past," Hanson added.