Know the mission: Thatâ€™s what Columbus City Schools' new superintendent Talisa Dixon wants everyone to understand about some of her plans when she starts in the district.
Dixon will be taking over a failing district, with worries about a possible state takeover if they don't improve. There's also a divided school board and a city full of parents concerned about their children's education. But she isn't afraid. "It is a challenge, and I'm up for the opportunity," Dixon said in an interview with ABC 6's Lisa Rantala.
Dixon is currently leading Cleveland Heights Schools and will officially start in Columbus on March 4th. However, beginning in January, Dixon will user her vacation time to work for CCS one day a week.
A major issue she will need to immediately address is the F score the district received on its recent state report card. The district now teeters on the possibility of the state taking over which could force her and the school board out. Dixon says her goal is to work with the assessment team and make sure that the plan to improve grades first all of the districtâ€™s schools.
"I'm going to help the district change the narrative," said Dixon. She also addressed some of the most recent test scores at schools, specifically some that showed single digit percentage of elementary students able to meet criteria. While she says they need to understand what the scores don't mean and what teachers need to make sure they succeed, she also called them "unacceptable."
â€œSo it canâ€™t be school A had plan A or school B has a separate plan. We must have a clear understanding of what our kids need," Dixon said.
The incoming superintendent said she is glad the school board nixed the idea of closing schools saying it would have been a distraction. She also realizes that another one of her challenges is working with a divided school board that can be contentious. â€œIâ€™m excited to work with all 7 of them. I think people understand the sense of urgency.â€
Dixon spent nine years at Columbus City Schools, as a principal at Brookhaven and Columbus Alternative High Schools. She said she is very familiar with teachers and knows how she can get them to buy in on the importance of accepting a new way of improving childrenâ€™s grades.
â€œLetâ€™s pull up our sleeves, letâ€™s get to work letâ€™s roll in the same direction 'cause we have work to do. We cannot do it in isolation we must do it together,â€ she said.
Watch the full interview below: