- Falmouth Public Schools
Clipper Corner Alumni Edition
Dawn Williamson: Teaticket for Life
By Sarah E. Murphy
Summer vacation isn’t over yet, but for Dawn (Labossiere) Williamson, Secretary to Teaticket Elementary School Principal Sandy Kapsambelis, the 2023-2024 school year has already begun.
A 1989 graduate of Falmouth High School, Dawn returned to Teaticket during the second week of August to kick off her second year in the Main Office. And while she has been employed at Teaticket in various capacities since 1990, her connection dates back to her childhood, when she attended the school from kindergarten through fourth grade. For Dawn, Teaticket was a place to which she naturally gravitated. It was also close to home, so she was able to walk to school.
“The crossing guard was always looking for me at the end of the day, because I was the kid who would hug all the teachers goodbye as I made my way down the hall,” she said with a laugh.
Dawn got her first experience in special education at 15, working as a counselor at Camp Happy at Morse Pond School. Upon graduating from FHS, she returned to Teaticket, working in the Latch Key Kids’ Club, an after-school enrichment program. At the request of Michael Arth, who was then principal of Teaticket, Dawn started a Kids’ Club morning session and soon became director of both programs. She also juggled other day jobs, including respite care for Arc of Cape Cod, which provides services and support to individuals with disabilities and their families.
After one season working at the North Falmouth Elementary School summer camp in 2001, Dawn approached FPS administration about starting a camp at Teaticket so parents in East Falmouth could have easier geographical access, which she directed for nearly two decades. Boasting a schedule of daily excursions and field trips, the program introduced campers to places such as the Cape Playhouse, Water Wizz, Fenway Park, and Gillette Stadium, in addition to local beaches.
“I think we gave the children a good experience, even culturally,” Dawn said.
“The parents really appreciated it because they were busy working, so they never would have been able to take their children to so many places in the summer.”
Dawn took a brief hiatus from Teaticket in 2018, when she decided to try working in a different industry, however, the experience only reaffirmed her love of education. During that fortuitous time, she fell in love with her co-worker, now her husband, musician Charles "Chuck" Williamson. Chuck is a member of the Half Shells, the Soft Shells, and On The Rocks, the latter of which hosts the Souzapalooza charity music festival at the Fresh Pond Holy Ghost Society in East Falmouth to benefit local families facing a medical crisis.
“We're very similar, and we both have a strong work ethic. We just clicked,” she said with a smile.
Dawn returned to her alma mater for the 2020-2021 school year, at the height of the pandemic, initially as a building substitute, and halfway through the year she became a one-to-one special education teaching assistant. She then spent a year as a kindergarten TA, and the following year, when longtime Secretary to the Principal Lucia Conlon announced her retirement, Dawn decided to switch gears to pursue a new career at Teaticket.
Now in her second year in the Main Office, Dawn is joined by Special Education Secretary Lisa (Conlon) Gauthier, following the retirement of Brooke McCarthy. Lisa and Dawn first met when Lisa was a teenager and worked with Dawn in the Kids’ Program. Like Dawn, she has served in various capacities at Teaticket since. She is also Lucia Conlon’s daughter, further illustrating the longtime connections that are established at Teaticket.
“A lot of us consider Teaticket to be our home, and we’re protective of it. It’s a very happy place,” Dawn said.
Initially, Dawn had reservations about leaving the classroom environment, for she was afraid she’d miss the students, but instead, she now has the opportunity to interact with the entire school on a regular basis.
“I absolutely love that the children start their day walking by my desk, and I can greet them with a smile,” she said.
Principal Sandy Kapsambelis underscored Dawn’s dedication and impact.
“Dawn has a deep commitment to the Teaticket community. She loves the students, the staff, and the families, and she works really hard to welcome everyone into the school,” she said.
“For Dawn, this isn’t just a job. This is home.”