Born and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina, Raleta Summers Dawkins has lived in Nevada, Texas, and Virginia, but always knew North Carolina would be her permanent home to raise a family. For as long as she remembers, she desired to become a kindergarten teacher because she has always had a passion for working with young learners and educators. To achieve her goals, she attended East Carolina University and UNC-Greensboro and additionally earned her bachelor of science and master of arts in education degrees in Elementary Education from North Carolina A&T State University. She is currently working on her doctor of philosophy degree from Old Dominion University (ODU) in Curriculum and Instruction and Early Childhood Education, with an anticipated finish date of December of this year.
Before her career with the University Instructors (UI) team, Raleta has worked as a community engagement specialist, public-school third-grade educator, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten teacher, and tenure-track professor, teaching university courses at North Carolina A&T State University, Elizabeth City State University, and ODU.
As her responsibilities with UI continued to grow, she has played many different roles in the organization, including instructor, site coordinator, program coordinator for the state of North Carolina, and program manager for the areas of North Carolina, Western South Carolina, and Southern Virginia. She takes pride in her position as program manager because she recognizes that she is often the face of UI that partners consistently see.
“Program managers are the magical force that guides the design and implementation of each program, while training and coaching UI instructors and counselors to execute the plan with fidelity,” she states.
What Raleta enjoys most about her role and being part of the field operations team is the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with diverse educators, students, and UI instructors. Her opinion is that UI’s greatest accomplishment has been the ability to sustain long-term partners. For example, a district that she works with first-hand has been a partner of UI’s since 2011. She notes that collaborating with partners year after year is accomplished in many ways, such as supporting the Human Resources team to help place the best instructors in the right programs and managing the programs to ensure we meet everyone’s overall goals.
“Being known as the EPIC lady who wears the green lanyard in one of the district’s I often work in makes me happy.”
She also says assisting students and teachers connect is a magical part of her role and believes all students can find their passion when they are given opportunities and support to discover their world around them. Once an individual identifies their passion, he or she gains the ability to hack their academic growth and effectively contribute to the global community. What she enjoys about K-12 education is being able to provide resources that support student and teacher growth simultaneously while helping to build connections.
Since Raleta’s start with the team over ten years ago, the company and field operations team has greatly matured, as it has evolved into a refined and cohesive team that follows standard operating procedures and is driven by meeting intentional goals. She has confidence the company will continue to expand and develop an instructional offering that includes curriculum and assessment resources for UI instructors.