• Jerry J. Dawson Civic Leadership Institute DPS Receives $2.3 Million Grant from Howard G. Buffett Foundation to Launch Jerry J. Dawson Civic Leadership Institute

    Leaders from Decatur Public Schools and the Decatur Public Schools Foundation accepted a gift totallying more than $2.3 million from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation to launch the Jerry J. Dawson Civic Leadership.

    The Jerry J. Dawson Civic Leadership Institute will offer DPS students a program designed to raise awareness and encourage the pursuit of careers in public service, including law enforcement, nursing, paramedic support, firefighting, government service, and legal professions. Read more...

  • Jerry J. Dawson Biography

    The Jerry J. Dawson Civic Leadership Institute is named for former Macon County Sheriff Jerry J. Dawson, who served the Sheriff’s Office for more than 30 years. Jerry Dawson not only embodies the spirit of those who serve their communities, he also represents a positive figure for young people to emulate, modeling essential behaviors for students to adopt as they become productive members of our society.

    Jerry first arrived in Decatur in 1964. He began his career with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office in 1977, serving as Deputy, Detective, Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain before ultimately serving as Sheriff from 2003 to 2008.

    Following his retirement, Sheriff Dawson served as an Adjunct Instructor of Criminal Justice at the Decatur Area Technical Academy and Richland Community College. In this role, his experience as a law enforcement professional provided significant credibility in the eyes of students. Building trust with young people is both the most challenging and imperative aspect of education, and one that came naturally to him.

    Jerry also served eight years as a City Councilman. When declaring his intent to seek a seat on the City Council, Jerry ran a campaign rooted in his personal investment in the city. “I believe in Decatur,” he said, noting that many other people he knew chose to move elsewhere in retirement. Instead, he said, “I have decided to stay here.”

    Jerry Dawson continues to live in and serve the Decatur community.