Youth Advocate Che Dawson Appointed to BOE

December 13, 2012
Abbe Smith
NHPS Director of Communications
Mayor John DeStefano Jr. has appointed youth advocate Che Dawson to the New Haven Board of Education. Dawson was sworn in by Mayor DeStefano at Monday evening’s Board of Education meeting
“Che Dawson’s commitment to youth in New Haven goes back years to his time mentoring youth and coordinating after-school programs at LEAP. Over the years, Mr. Dawson has served the community as a tutor in our schools, a coach and a leader in efforts to empower young people. He brings a fresh perspective and valuable experience to the Board of Education and he will be an asset as we move forward on our School Change goals,” said Mayor DeStefano.
Members of the New Haven Board of Education serve four-year terms and are appointed by the Mayor. Information on the existing board members can be found at
“Che Dawson brings the voice of New Haven youth to the Board of Education, but he also brings the valuable perspective of a parent. As we continue on our mission of engaging youth, parents and the community around School Change, Dawson will play an important role in ensuring all voices are heard. I congratulate Mr. Dawson on his appointment and I look forward to working with him to improve education in New Haven,” said Superintendent of Schools Reginald Mayo.
Dawson is the director of operations for Amistad Elementary School in New Haven. Previously, he worked as assistant director of operations at Success Charter Network, a New York-based public charter school organization. He served as Youth Services Director for the city of New Haven, where he oversaw youth programs and policy development. As Youth Services Director, he led development of the city’s Comprehensive Youth Plan and implemented job-readiness and financial literacy training for youth. Dawson also helped develop the Street Outreach Worker Program and the Open Schools Initiative.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to join the Board of Education. I have been working on behalf of New Haven children and youth for many years. In this new capacity, I look forward to advancing the good work New Haven Public Schools and the city are already doing in the area of education and youth empowerment,” Dawson said.
Prior to joining the city, Dawson was Executive Director of Leadership, Education and Athletics in Partnership (LEAP), a youth advocacy organization based in New Haven. Dawson started at LEAP as a site coordinator, mentoring at-risk youth and coordinating after-school programs. He moved up the ranks, serving various positions in the organization before being named director.
Dawson was named a National Urban Fellow in 2002 and provided guidance to Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan and his chief of staff on administrative matters. He also designed youth enrichment programming, analyzed academic programming in schools, raised funds for visually impaired students and communicated to 1,200 central staff in the school district.
Dawson earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Baruch College, School of Public Affairs in New York and he has a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics from Adelphi University in New York.
Dawson volunteers with the Farnam Neighborhood House. He has also served as a tutor and mentor in New Haven Public Schools, as boys’ basketball coach for Platt Regional Vocational Technical School in Milford, and as co-chairman of the Mayor’s Youth Initiative in New Haven.