COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The superintendent for Columbus City Schools, Dr. Talisa Dixon, will retire from the district.
Dixon, who plans to retire at the end of the school year in June, is in her fourth year as CCS superintendent and chief executive officer after receiving the job in March 2019. In her latest three-year contract, agreed upon in February this year, Dixon earned a $262,000 salary.
“It is with mixed emotions that I am officially announcing my intention to retire at the end of this school year,” Dixon said in a statement. “It was not an easy decision, but I knew it was time, and I am leaving with a full heart and undeniable confidence in the CCS community moving forward.”
In a letter addressed to district families, Dixon highlighted a number of accomplishments the district achieved during her tenure, including:
- Navigating challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, like shifting from remote to hybrid to in-person learning
- Establishing Portrait of a Graduate, the district’s strategic plan to prepare students for success
- Revamping summer school to create the community-based Summer Experience program
- Launching the Columbus Promise, a program to provide free tuition for CCS seniors to attend Columbus State Community College
- Collaborating with the Ohio State University to bolster student talent in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics and medicine
“To all of our CCS students — you have always been my ‘why,'” Dixon said. “I will forever be proud of your passion, resilience, and fortitude. Keep lifting your voices and advocating for a better tomorrow. The future of this community is in great hands with you Leading the Way.”
Mayor Andrew Ginther applauded Dixon’s commitment to serving children and families across Columbus while directing the largest public school district in Ohio, which is home to about 47,000 students.
“The city and district have partnered on many efforts to improve our community, and I wish her well in all future endeavors,” Ginther said in a statement.
City Council President Shannon Hardin echoed Ginther’s praise, describing Dixon as an “invaluable partner” in securing free tuition for CCS graduates to attend Columbus State — doubling the district’s student enrollment to the community college. Dixon’s administration also oversaw a nearly 40% increase in student completion of the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, Hardin said.
“As a graduate of CCS, I wish her all the best as she continues her career as a leader in education,” Hardin said in a statement.
Before being the CCS superintendent, Dixon spent five years in Cleveland leading the Cleveland-Heights-University Heights school district for five years. She was an administrator for CCS from 2001 to 2010 before her move to northeast Ohio.
In Columbus, she was also an assistant principal for three years at Brookhaven High School and then became the principal at Columbus Alternative High School, serving as principal for both schools simultaneously.
The school district had a teachers’ strike in August as the Columbus Education Association and CCS could not come to a new labor contract after five months of negotiating. After three days of picketing from teachers, the union and school district agreed to a three-year contract that ended the district’s first strike since 1975.
In May, voters in the Columbus City Schools district decided to fund a new multimillion-dollar bond and levy plan for new schools. The revised general election ballot did not include the CCS bond and levy issue.
Last year, Gov. Mike DeWine put in place the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan that schools were to return to in-person learning by March 1, 2021, something Columbus City Schools did not plan on. Watch NBC4’s one-on-one interview with Dixon in February 2021 on meeting the deadline in the video player below.
Dixon said the district would not meet the March 1 deadline to get all students back in the classroom, citing issues regarding transportation on a limited number of buses while following CDC guidelines to keep them six feet apart as the roadblock.
CCS did have 24,000 elementary school students return to in-person learning while roughly 20,000 upper school students began hybrid learning in mid-to-late March.