On June 24, 2022, two of Middletown Public Schools’ (MPS) educators were honored at the 100 Women of Color Gala and Awards event held at The Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center. Ms. Karen Bernard, Coordinator of the 21st Century Afterschool Program at Beman Middle School and an MPS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Change Agent, and Dr. Dawn Brooks, an Assistant Principal at Middletown High School, were two of this year’s honorees. An annual awards ceremony, “the 100 Women of Color Gala & Awards recognizes the contributions that these women of color in business, education, entrepreneurship, entertainment, government, public service and the impact they have made on the lives of people throughout the State of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts communities” according to the event’s host, June Archer. Thrilled to have two honorees in the district, the Middletown Board of Education highlighted Ms. Bernard and Dr. Brooks in May 2022.
Prior to working with Middletown Public Schools, Ms. Bernard was a correctional administrator. During that career, she saw what can happen when one receives a poor education. When she retired, she knew she wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people. She is passionate about assisting our emerging young leaders to remain on the right path of their educational journey. Ms. Bernard credits her parents for her successes in life, saying “I am humbled by their steadfast love, their strength, their tenacity and determination to provide an amazing life for my sister and me. They emulated the notion of paying it forward and creating a path for their children that is greater than the path they have walked.”
Dr. Brooks, who earned her Ed.D. this spring, said “among the many members of a strong village of family, friends, and mentors who continue to uplift me, my mother has been a pillar of strength, tenacity, and perseverance, who has always inspired me to boldly pursue my dreams.” As a lifelong learner and educator, Dr. Brooks proudly identifies that she thrives “on the energy, insight, and wisdom of our youth and value the opportunity to teach and learn from them through my service. My life’s work is dedicated to cultivating meaningful and memorable experiences for all learners and removing unnecessary barriers that impede their success. I believe in the power of representation and deeply respect the privilege I have to represent our youth of color and to model an example of excellence for them.”