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Highlander Institute is excited to welcome Dawn Manchester to our team as an Educational Strategies Specialist. Dawn is known for her work ethic, strong skill set, and personable nature, all important traits for the Institute’s growing team.


Describe the work you’ll be doing with Highlander:

First of all, I will be trying to keep my head above water while keeping up with some of the most amazing minds in education. Having the opportunity to join this team, and be a part of the mission, is a dream come true! After two decades in the classroom, I will be leaving Warwick and joining the Highlander Institute as an Educational Strategies Specialist, where I will be providing supports to classrooms and districts through the transformative consulting program. This project will take me mostly into Providence’s schools. However, like all other HI team members, no one ever does only one thing. I will also continue my involvement with the Fuse RI fellowship, as a fellow in Warwick and a team partner in Johnston.


Describe the work you’ve already been doing with Highlander (as a Fuse fellow and more!):

Through Highlander’s Fuse RI fellowship I have been lucky enough to collaborate with amazing and  innovative educators, from around the state. Sharing ideas with this amazing group and the HI staff, has allowed me to develop a plan for sharing the concept of blended learning and deliver it to my own district, as well as my Fuse district, Johnston. The Fuse RI fellowship has been a life changing opportunity. It has pushed me in ways that I never thought possible. I have built and developed skill sets that I am able to not only pass on to my students, but fellow colleagues as well. Having the opportunity to plant the seed of change and share my passion has been exhilarating.


What are you most looking forward to with this new position?

Feeling like a square peg in a round hole has never been an uncomfortable feeling for me. If you ask my family, friends and co-workers I have always pushed the envelope. However, during the past few years that feeling became more and more prominent in my professional life.  I began seeking out opportunities that fit my need for change. I feel like I will find that here at the Highlander Institute. What I look forward to the most – being an agent of change! Working with the HI staff in the capacity that I have, has been so rewarding. Collaborating daily, experiencing the brain power emitted, learning from everyone, and bringing about change in RI’s education excites me more than words could ever express.


Any other thoughts you’d like to share?

Three years ago my professional life took a drastic shift through one experience – I met Shawn Rubin at the RIDE Innovation Powered by Technology conference. I was drawn to his energy, his excitement and his love of educational innovation. He lit a fire in my professional life for which I will be forever grateful. Through my connection with Shawn, I found TD4Ed, the people at BIF and many other educators who continue to influence me daily. Between this and the Fuse RI fellowship my eyes were opened wider than ever. My dreams began to become reality. And the love I had for educational innovation began to develop and grow in ways I wasn’t expecting. I am looking forward to the opportunity!

Written By: Lilian Smith