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Celebrating Local Black Heroes: Dana Calloway

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Michigan is proud to celebrate Local Black Heroes throughout the year. During Black History Month, we are highlighting several Local Black Heroes and businesses. Sign up for our to get updates in your inbox and learn more about the impact of local heroes in your community.

Dana Calloway is a 1st-grade teacher at Woodward Elementary in Kalamazoo Public Schools. She has dedicated her career to the academic success of her students. A passionate educator, Calloway has been teaching since 2008 and has changed the lives of hundreds of young students.


Calloway has been inspired throughout her life by teachers who poured into her. Their guidance and encouragement shaped her into the woman and educator she is today. She notes that her first-grade teacher Mrs. Burch, her 4th-grade teacher Mrs. Oderkirk, and her college professor Dr. Mary Anna Kruch all inspired her to be the teacher she is. Now, the impact they had on her is felt deeply by the students in Calloway’s classroom. She is able to pour into her students the way that she was poured into.

Calloway’s mother, Constance Calloway (1955-2016), was Calloway’s biggest inspiration. Constance mentored many students in Coloma Community Schools, as well as Benton Harbor Area Schools. Her devotion to caring for students personally and academically inspired Calloway to impact students in a similar way. Because of her mother’s influence, Calloway dedicates her days to making a positive impact in her own classroom.


Outside of the classroom, Calloway gives back to the community through coaching Girls on the Run. This after-school girl’s empowerment program teaches life skills through lessons and running. Each girl in the program participates in a non-competitive 5k as the program’s annual capstone.

“The greatest feeling is crossing that finish line after completing a 5k with the girls,” Calloway shares. Calloway, who integrated the Girls on the Run curriculum at Woodward Elementary, has been coaching the program for 12 years.


When asked what she would tell her younger self, if given the opportunity, Calloway shares, “Nothing is out of your reach. Let your light shine! Have faith and confidence in yourself because greatness is in you.”

The things Dana Calloway would tell her younger self are things she instills in the youth who are a part of her classroom today. She explains, “I want my students to see themselves as they look at me. I want my students years from now to remember me not only for the learning but that they were also a part of our classroom family … I hope my positivity will impact others.