DeKalb School of the Arts teacher is Atlanta Families’ Award for Excellence in Education winner

Anna Dunn teaches dance

Photo: Vanecia Thompson

One DeKalb County School District (DCSD) educator has reaped the rewards of a career dedicated to service, community, and improving the lives of students.

DeKalb School of the Arts (DSA) teacher Anna Dunn was awarded the Atlanta Families’ 2019 Teach On Project Award for Educational Excellence on Monday, May 20, 2019. Dunn was selected for her work in improving student achievement, student self-esteem, and commitment to engaging with her community.

As a winner, Ms. Dunn—the school’s Ballet Mistress, Community Arts Liaison, and Dance teacher—received a check for $7,500 meant for new, innovative class projects, professional development opportunities, as well as a personal stipend.

DCSD Superintendent/CEO Dr. R. Stephen Green joined Ms. Dunn’s parents, a group of DSA students, Principal Susan McCauley, Atlanta Families’ Award for Educational Excellence (AFAEE) board members, the organization’s executive director, and other district personnel to surprise her with the check.

AFAEE worked behind the scenes with DCSD’s AFAEE liaison and Grants and Partnership Development Coordinator, Dr. Marcia Oglesby as well as DSA staff to surprise and present her with the award.

“It gives me great pleasure to congratulate yet another DeKalb County School District educator for obtaining such prestigious recognition,” said Superintendent/CEO Dr. R. Stephen Green. “Ms. Dunn epitomizes what the district stands for as a member of the DeKalb County community: service, innovation, and creating tomorrow’s change-makers. It is teachers like Ms. Dunn who are taking our school district to new heights in education. Congratulations and job well done!”

Ms. Dunn was appointed DSA’s Ballet Mistress since 2006. She is known as the school’s Nutcracker in a Nutshell director as well as the director of the Spring Ballet. Dunn’s responsibilities as the Community Arts Liaison helps connect DSA students with opportunities in the broader community.

Dunn plans to use the awarded $7,500 to take those opportunities further. Point Shoes Scholarships, residency programs, and bringing high-profile artists to classrooms at DSA are just a few things she plans to use the funds for.

“This is more of an opportunity to further my classroom more than anything,” Dunn said. “This is a team effort. I wouldn’t be where I am without the amazing team behind me. The administrative, family, friends, and student teams I have made this possible. We’re here 12 hours every day. We rehearse every night. I help connect DSA with the community at large. Our school motto is ‘The arts will save the world,’ and it’s has been phenomenal to watch the students out in the community truly changing where we live.”

Anna Dunn holds banner with previous winner

Photo: Vanecia Thompson

Dunn is known for her hard work and high achieving attitude. Her parents remarked that it’s not unusual for Dunn to come home around 9:30 p.m. or 10:00 p.m. Mr. and Mrs. Dunn are convinced the Top On Project Award is a great way for the community to show its thanks for her commitment to students.

“We’re grateful for Anna and all that the school represents,” said Mrs. Dunn, Anna’s mother. “All those years of dance have paid off. I hope she finds this rewarding, if in no other way than knowing that students appreciate her.”

“It was shocking, but any time your child does great is a blessing to the parents,” said Mr. Dunn, Anna’s father. “We hope she’s reminded of the fun of teaching. We’re mighty proud, but we’re always proud of her for going the extra mile.”

About the Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education

The Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education is a 501-(c)3 nonprofit with the mission of elevating public education by identifying excellent educators and empowering them to expand their impact. To learn more about the mission of the Atlanta Families’ Awards or to nominate an excellent educator, visit