We have African Americans making Pearland ISD history EVERY month. Their works are indelibly printed on the minds and hearts of thousands.

MLK had a dream in which future generations will be judged “by the content of their character” rather than “the color of their skin.” So the reader can judge, I’ll share some information on just two of our school district’s distinguished African American leaders:

Dana Miles grew up in California and Mississippi. She was the valedictorian of her high school. Before her distinguished tenure as an educator, she spent 13 years in the U.S. Army and is a veteran of Desert Storm where she was a flight coordinator for a medical evacuation unit. Her loving husband is also a U.S. Army Veteran. She began her teaching career in Louisiana before coming to Pearland ISD in 2005 as a middle school teacher. She advanced to Assistant Principal, then Principal at Rogers Middle School. As but one measure of historical success, she was selected as Pearland ISD Principal of the Year in 2013.  Now she is the outstanding Principal of Junior High West.    In 2018, she became Doctor Dana Miles. And in the midst of all these things she is raising three children attending Pearland ISD. Her school’s latest accolades include a phenomenal string of state distinctions for campus performance in reading, math, science, academic growth, and the academic (test) performance of different sub-populations within her school.

Yet a mini-biography fails to capture her spirit. She is full of a love for ALL God’s children. She preaches and exemplifies grit and a growth mindset. She has the energy and passion of five people. When her students win acclamation she is leading the parade. (We just witnessed this again at a Board meeting last week!) And neither her personal nor her school’s history are yet fully written…

Another star among us grew up in New Orleans. Tanya Dawson graduated from Emory University in Atlanta with a BA in Psychology. She went on to get her J.D. degree. Both she and her husband are attorneys.   She is the proud Mom of five boys – with two of them near graduation from college and another born just a short time ago. In the midst of her personal “history” she taught a year of 7th grade Math before serving as an Attorney for the United Educators Association and then for Fort Worth ISD. Fortunately, we hired her in 2012 as our in-house attorney. She proactively guides and represents us in everything from business contracts to personnel matters.   Her work has been amazing and uniformly appreciated. And each year she has saved the district tens of thousands of dollars.

As with Dr. Miles, a mini-biography fails to capture Tanya Dawson’s spirit. Granted that when I’m in a meeting with her, she is definitely the smartest person in the room.  But it is her faith and the obligations she places on herself that set her apart. She has the rare ability to understand, appreciate, and defend the views of all sides in many disputes. (Just don’t say anything against the New Orleans Saints or Drew Brees!)

The Pearland ISD family is so proud of these two distinguished leaders, the others they typify, and the staff and students they serve. Personal biography and collective history is in the making here – and in EVERY month of the year!


  1. 1 Wayne Dawson February 20, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    What amazing recognition from a smart dynamic comitted leader! Thank you Dr. Kelly for recognizing these two stars Dana Miles and Tanya Dawson of our beloved PISD during BHM! We all know that PISD is an exemplary School District! Keep up the excellent work!


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