Getting To Know Our Faculty and Staff – Dawn Shepherd

Dawn Shepherd is a teacher at Canyonville Academy.

Dawn Shepherd is an invaluable part of our campus here at Canyonville Academy. Over the years she’s been working with us, she’s taught many students and worn many different hats, both teaching multiple classes, and helping with many other activities around the campus. Please enjoy this interview with Mrs. Shepherd!


What’s your name?

Dawn Shepherd

How long have you worked at Canyonville Academy?

This is starting my 18th year, I started in 2001.

What do you do here at Canyonville Academy, and what have you done in the past?

The whole time I’ve done some health and PE, I used to teach middle school classes, I do an ESL Bible, which I started sometime… around 10 years ago. Earlier on, I did college and career counseling when I worked part time. My first year teaching, I did an Algebra class, and… my schedule has gotten a lot better, but starting out you teach whatever they need you to teach!

Was Canyonville Academy your first teaching job?

It was, I was straight out of college to Canyonville Academy.

What is your degree in? 

My bachelors is in Health and PE, and I have a Masters in Teaching.

During college, did you work?

I worked at the pizza place in Canyonville for a few years, and then the last year of college I did student teaching.

Where did you go to college?

Started out in George Fox University for freshman year, in Portland, and then I got married down here and I went to the community college (Umpqua Community College) for another. I did 2/3rds a year in nursing, and realized that it wasn’t for me, then did another year of community college. Then I did two years at Southern Oregon University to finish my bachelor, and then a third year for teaching.

Did you grow up in this area?

No, I grew up in California, then came to Canyonville Academy and boarded as a student.

Do you still visit California?

Yeah, my parents still have the house I grew up in, and so I go down there some, but they also bought a house up here so they can be close to us and the grand kids.

Tell us about your family. 

I met my husband at Canyonville Academy, which used to be called Canyonville Bible Academy. We got married one year out of high school, for me, in 1996. We have five children, daughter who is 15 and on her second year attending Canyonville Academy, a 12 year old son, a 8 year old son, a 6 year old son and a almost 2 year old daughter.

What is your favorite movie or TV show?

I like the HGTV (Home and Garden TV) design shows. I love those. My favorite probably would be Fixer Upper, which just went off the air this year. I really like the host, I like her style, she’s a Christian, and they take some really rundown stuff and give it the style the owners want and it still has character. My dad is in construction, so is my father-in-law and my husband, so I’ve grown up around that and I’ve always been interested in houses and real estate.

What is your favorite book? 

I don’t read that much anymore, if I read, it’s usually autobiographies. A lot of the latest autobiographies are about other moms, or Christian moms. One was by the Fixer Upper host, she wrote one. I’ve read one about a lady who’s husband I went to school with here at Canyonville Academy. They wrote one about adopting a son from South Korea. Read another one about [Steven Curtis Chapman], written by his wife. Any kind of autobiography, books about people’s life and inspirational stories.

So besides work, kids and your family, what would you consider your hobby? 

I like doing any kind of crafting, sewing, making signs. I like refinishing old furniture, to make it look new again and repurposed. I’m going show you the one I’m trying to buy today (Writer’s note: See picture below!) that my husband said it looks like a disaster! For this, I’ll sand it down and then use paint stripper, and then sand some more. I bought an old sink I’m going to sand blast and repaint. A lot of the stuff for our house I’ve repurposed. I bought a bowling alley lane that will be a bench in our mud room! So I like doing that. And then any kind of sporting activity, like I’m just learning how to do Pickle Ball with my friend, which I hadn’t done before.

Pickle ball? 

It’s kind of like tennis, it’s a paddle sport and the ball looks like a wiffle ball. It’s a harder paddle like a ping pong paddle, but it’s bigger. I’ve played for the last three or four weeks with my friends learning it.

I’ll have to google it! 

But yeah, any kind of activity involving sports with friends, like riding bikes, hiking. Running is one thing that I’ve done probably every year. I did track, and sprinting in high school and my freshman year of college. A few years ago, a student’s mom asked if I wanted to do a half marathon with me, and I hadn’t ever run more than maybe four miles. So we started to train for that. A half marathon is 12.1 miles. And then after we did that, she said let’s keep on training, and that fall we did a full marathon and a triathlon.

What is something you want everyone to know about you?

One thing I would say is: I try to learn, and my parents set a good example, to be hard working. That was extremely important to my father. I also think the nearest and dearest thing to my heart is my family, and being a role as a mother and a wife. To try to live by setting good examples for my Christian faith.

What would you like to say to students or parents reading this? 

As a teacher, I know for myself and a lot of the teachers, we feel called to be here. In general, as a health and PE teacher, I’m trying to develop a knowledge and interest that can follow the kids through their lifetime, with an attitude of wanting to be active and healthy. And to develop skills that they can use throughout their life, ingraining discipline, hard work, those type of things that they can grow with, not exclusively book knowledge. And to be able to apply this knowledge not just in the subjects I teach, but in life in general.

 Anything else you’d like to say? 

Just that I love being here, it’s been a special place to me since I’ve went to school here. Now I hope for my children to be here, and I love being around kids whose lives are full of hopes and dreams and promise. I like feeding that, and being around that. It’s much more important to me to follow your dream and calling then just to find something that works.


Writer’s Note: The interview took place in person, and was transcribed to either match word for word what was said, or changed slightly to condense sentences or thoughts and ideas.

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