Dawn is an amazing woman. She runs a successful business, is a community leader and volunteer and keeps her family organized and happy. She loves the sport of gymnastics and wants every child to have the opportunity to enjoy the pride of accomplishment that the sport can bring. Her philosophy is to use the sport of gymnastics to teach life skills to students and allow them to achieve their individual goals. She believes that the sport is not just for the elite level gymnasts but can benefit all children regardless of their skill level or natural ability. Dawn is as proud of her special needs student's accomplishments as she is of her highest level competitive gymnast's.
Dawn Kocher is the owner and president of Jump Start Gymnastics, which she opened in September 2005. As somebody who has been involved in gymnastics nearly her whole life, Dawn's list of credentials and accomplishments is long and impressive. She graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in psychology from Augustana College. A former competitive gymnast she has more than 30 years experience teaching gymnasts from preschool to competitive levels. She stays current in the sport by attending numerous national and regional congresses, workshops, training sessions and certification courses. She has worked with and learned from the national team coaches of Romania and Peru.
Dawn started teaching gymnastics when she was still in junior high school and has coached and managed programs in the Quad Cities, Mundelein and Peoria. As a coach, Dawn has seen many of her athletes win state, regional and national titles in gymnastics and tumbling. Many have gone on to receive scholarships and compete in college. She was elected to and served 10 years on the USA Gymnastics Illinois State Committee and co-founded the St. Jude Benefit Meet which donated more than a million dollars to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital over 20 years. The St, Jude Meet is still held every January in the Chicago area and Dawn remains an active volunteer for St. Jude. Personal awards include the Juanita and Dan Deeb Volunteer Service Award, the 25 Women in Leadership Award and the Volunteer Advocacy Award.
Dawn and her husband John have three children, Ryan, Katelyn and Rachel. Their dog Ozzie is named after Ozzie Smith, the former St. Louis Cardinals shortstop known for doing a backflip before the start of each game.