Degrees and Certifications:

University of Texas at Austin, Bachelor of Journalism Texas teacher certification in journalism, government, speech, biology, and middle school science

Ms. Leslie Sanderson




  • Conference Period: 7:15 am daily

    I am available to meet with parents online by appointment first period. Email me at to schedule a date. 


    W-Th -- First half of Eagle Hour only Rm 3117.

    About Me

    As a charter member of the Dawson faculty, I began my teaching career in 2007 when Dawson opened in the building that is now Turner. I have advised every yearbook stafff to date, as well as a few newspaper staffs. I have taught photojournalism since that first year, implementing last year's change from one-semester to full-year course. Some years, including this one, I teach government, which was my minor in college at the University of Texas, where I majored in journalism and completed my teacher certification. 

    I worked in journalism as a reporter, publication designer, science writer and publisher after college, always with the goal of moving into education later. (Journalism and education are in the family DNA.)

    My husband and I have three daughters, two Dawson graduates and one who is currently a senior and a percussionist in the Eagle Band. I hope the common experience of being Eagle parents allows me to help parents navigate the high school years with their students. 

    My Teaching Philosophy

    I see my journalism classroom as a lab for life experience. I expect students to be self-starters. I reward effort, improvement and product. But I also hold students accountable for making bad choices about their use of time and resources. I emphasize soft skills like planning, communicating, critique, leadership, collaboration, and meeting deadlines. While I hope for great photographs, yearbook pages, and relationships, I am most interested in the processes students go through. I want them to learn from the process. Sometimes this means letting students make mistakes. I clearly communicate the criteria for assignments and the deadlines. But I won't nag. If they don't finish, follow directions, or meet our standards, that is a natural consequences of their choices. Their grades are natural consequences of their actions in most cases. 

    I believe journalism classes are the perfect place for these lessons. While I hope some of my students will choose journalism careers, most will not. However, if they learn to be responsible, independent, collaborative, creative and innovative workers, that's a WIN. If we all have fun at the same time, that's an even bigger win. 


    I am most responsive to email ( Always feel free to remind me if I don't respond right away. During school picture season, senior ad season, and deadlines, when my email volume is high, I sometime miss messages. I try to answer parent emails dealing with instructional issues within 24 hours on school days. If it has been longer than that, feel free to reach out again!