COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus City Schools superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon announced Thursday afternoon she would retire from the district, after a tenure defined by remote learning amid the pandemic and a brief teachers’ labor strike. 

In Dixon’s first interview since her statement Thursday, she told NBC4’s Colleen Marshall on Friday morning that the decision was a personal one, after more than 30 years in the education field. 

“The last four years — especially the last two years, three years — have been so tough, and I just came to the conclusion, I said: ‘You know Talisa, you have enough time, it’s time to think about some other opportunities,’” Dixon said. 

Watch the full, uncut interview between Marshall and Dixon below:

Dixon, 53, plans to retire at the end of the school year, in early June 2023. It will come after four years in charge of the district — she signed a three-year contract in February of this year, in which she would earn a $262,000 salary per year. She first took the helm in March 2019. 

Less than a year into her recently-inked contract, Dixon said “no time is ever a good time” to leave, and she wrestled with the decision. She said, however, she feels the district is in a place for her to pass the torch on.

“It’s time now to allow someone else to take the next leg of the race,” Dixon said. 

Navigating online learning for the biggest school district in the state, a three-day strike after five months of contract negotiations, and concerns about infrastructure and funding have not been easy, Dixon said. But during her tenure, Dixon believes CCS has made “some great strides.”

“We know, nationally, urban school districts are not where we want to be, but we have seen some growth in Columbus City Schools,” Dixon said. 

Before her time as superintendent and chief executive officer at CCS, she also led Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District in northeast Ohio for five years, worked as an administrator at CCS, and served as a principal and assistant principal at two schools within the district. 

In retirement, Dixon said she plans on heading back to the south — which is where she is originally from — to spend time with family. Dixon has also considered pursuing some consultant work or writing a book, she said.