NECC Administrator Honored with Service Award
Dawna M. Perez, PhD, associate dean of access & community building at Northern Essex Community College, recently received the Annual Community Service Award from Community Teamwork, Inc.
A native of North Andover, currently living with her husband and four sons in Haverhill, Perez was selected from 12 nominees for the honor, which recognizes exceptional community service.
Community Teamwork Inc. is a private, non-profit Community Action Agency and regional non-profit housing agency that serves Greater Lowell.
In nominating Perez for the award, Lane Glenn, president of Northern Essex, wrote “From serving meals at Lazarus House, to knocking on doors throughout Lawrence to tell families about their opportunity to participate in the “I Have a Dream” project, to creating a multi-sectorial community partnership for literacy, Dawna has always been about communication, connecting, and consistency. For the past 26 years, every choice she has made has centered on community and the value of providing opportunity and support for success.”
Perez has been working in youth development, education and workforce development programs in Lawrence for over 25 years. She has played leadership roles at various not-for-profits in Lawrence, most recently as project coordinator for “I Have A Dream”-Lawrence, literacy entrepreneur for Lawrence Literacy Works, and currently at Northern Essex Community College.
At Northern Essex, she has spearheaded an “Early Alert” design initiative to find the best way to serve struggling students proactively and link them to the help they need. Her department was awarded a Title V grant for Hispanic Serving Institutions that along with private funds allowed for the opening of the new Student Success Center on the Lawrence campus. She is co-leading a team for the institutional strategic goal of “Improving Student Career Preparation” and is a point person for Merrimack Valley Sandbox Initiative activities such as Campus Catalyst, and the Sandbox Leadership Institute.
Perez received her BA from Colby College in Spanish and Sociology, MBA in Human Services from the Heller School at Brandeis University and her doctorate in Organizational Systems from Saybrook University. She has been a member of the Exchange Club of Lawrence for seven years and is a past president. She has served on numerous boards and led grants research and grant writing workshops at NECC for nonprofits across the Merrimack Valley and beyond.