Brian A. Dotson

Foster Elementary School
Ludington Area Schools
Ludington, Michigan

According to Brian Dotson, “at the heart of education is supporting people to be their very best.” This mantra perfectly characterizes Dotson’s leadership and impact as principal of Foster Elementary School for the last six years. Dotson finds joy in designing yearlong, integrated professional learning experiences that inspire and equip teachers to collaborate and innovate their craft. Noting changing demographics within the district, for example, Dotson chose to focus teacher learning in 2017 on trauma-informed approaches and supporting students living in poverty. The professional development series was so successful that it was later adopted by a local intermediate district. Dotson also led a complete overhaul of the student study team process, creating space to advocate, support, and brainstorm interventions. The program has since become a model at the district, regional, and state level. While intently focused on improving the internal life of Foster, Dotson is also committed to building positive, enduring community relationships. After the onset of the pandemic, for example, Dotson partnered with another principal to host a weekly segment on YouTube and Facebook called “Some Good News in Ludington” to showcase the town’s resilience and inspire hope during a daunting time. Dotson has served as an official and unofficial mentor for numerous aspiring administrators. He holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Baldwin-Wallace College and an M.A. in School Principalship from Central Michigan University.