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From Local Advocate to State Assemblymember: EL Advocate, Dawn Addis

This month, we’d like to spotlight a champion of our English Learner Leadership and Legacy Initiative (ELLLI), a growing network of EL advocates who are committed to shaping policy and improving practice in the education of EL students across California. They serve at all levels in the educational system (school, district, county, and state).  

Meet Dawn Addis! Dawn began her career in education as a special education teacher and worked for the San Luis Coastal Unified School District for two decades. As a bilingual professional and advocate for English learners and multilingual education, she has worked to improve programs and services for students throughout her district.

Her passion for service to her community also led her to civic engagement as a member of her local Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club. In 2017, she was named “Woman of the Year” for the 24th Congressional District, and in 2018 she was selected to be part of the second cohort of ELLLI advocates at Californian Together’s English Learner Advocacy Institute and was elected that same year to the Morro Bay City Council.  

As a newly elected member of the California State Assembly, in her first month on the job, she says she is ready to get to work and has already stepped up to be a champion for multilingual learners and will introduce a State Seal of Biliteracy (SSB) bill. The bill, which is sponsored by Californians Together and the California Association for Bilingual Education, updates the criteria required to obtain the SSB in order to make it equitable for all students to obtain while creating a clear path for all participating Local Educational Agencies to implement. Assemblymember Addis understands that the current criteria can leave truly biliteral students without this recognition due to the rigid requirements. Thank you, Assemblymember Addis!  

For over 20 years, as a special education teacher and English learner program developer, Dawn has stood up for the most vulnerable children and those facing discrimination…Dawn is a champion for all of us…” – Dolores Huerta, Founder, National Farm Workers Association