Schools in District 3: Baldwin Middle Arts & Academics Magnet, Booker T. Washington Magnet High, Wares Ferry Elementary, Chisholm Elementary, Forest Avenue Academics Magnet, Highland Gardens Elementary, Highland Avenue Elementary, Loveless Academic Magnet Program High
Eleanor Lewis Dawkins knows that hard work pays dividends. She entered Fisk University in Nashville after completing the 10th grade at Alabama State Laboratory School and graduated from Tuskegee Institute with a bachelor's of science degree in education when she was just 19.
Ms. Dawkins left Alabama to head west and became an employee with Mountain Bell. She started as long distance operator, became a service representative, and began working her way up the corporate structure to employment office supervisor, training supervisor, customer service manager, and ultimately to the sales and marketing department. While working fulltime, she also managed to earn a second bachelor's in business administration from the University of Denver.
Hard work and excellence have been a part of her family for generations. "My grandparents and another family started a funeral home nearly 90 years ago. When I retired from the telephone company in Colorado, I knew I wanted to come back to Montgomery to continue the family business along side the descendents of my grandparents' partners."
Being involved in education and public service is also a family legacy for Ms. Dawkins. "My mother, father and grandmother were all teachers. My father was also a state representative and was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as the first African-American federal marshal for the middle district of Alabama. My parents were very active in the community. They encouraged people to take control of their own destiny and to get involved in the politics and in their own neighborhoods." Ms. Dawkins' father, Rufus A. Lewis, was honored for his service by having the Montgomery Public Library on Mobile Highway named in his honor.
Other educators have also had an influence on Ms. Dawkins. "Ms. Murillo Garner was my history and geography teacher. She was so interesting and her method of teaching was realistic. She made it seem like she was a witness to all those historical events, instead of just recounting something that she had read. Every teacher I had encouraged me to do my best. I was on the honor roll from 1st to 10th grade. When I got to college, I found out you have to motivate yourself."
Ms. Dawkins loves working with people and helping solve problems. "I decided to run for the board rather than complaining about the problems in our schools. Given the opportunity to work on an issue, I can find an answer. It may not be a popular one, but it will be accurate."
Ms. Dawkins has a daughter, two sons and one grandchild. She is a member of the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association, and past president of the Alabama Funeral Directors and Morticians Association, and a member of Leadership Montgomery Class 20.