New Columbus City Schools superintendent Talisa Dixon spent her first morning on the job touring two elementary schools and sharing her priorities for the future.
Dixon previously served as superintendent of Cleveland Heights-University Heights City Schools in Cleveland, and before that as a Columbus school principal. Speaking at Trevitt Elementary in King-Lincoln, Dixon says the district’s struggle to meet achievement benchmarks keeps her up at night.
She says she recognizes that the district needs to change.
“I am relentless about making sure that our kids are served and served well,” Dixon said. “Those that do not align with that will have to move out of the way.”
Columbus City Schools received an F on the district’s state report card last year. Dixon said her first steps will be meeting with teachers and school employees to learn more about the challenges facing local schools.
She said she believes more effective partnerships within the community can help provide a school setting more conducive to learning. After talking with teachers, Dixon hopes to work with the Columbus Board of Education to make tough decisions about what the district’s schools need.
“This is difficult work, and so if we think that we’re going to get people who are just going to be 'yes sirs' and 'yes ma'ams,' it’s not what this work is about,” Dixon said. “It’s about making tough decisions for our students and our community, but it’s about doing it together.”
Dixon also visited Watkins Elementary on the South Side on Monday.
Dixon took the job shortly after board members passed a watered-down school realignment proposal. Plans to close several schools were reeled in after pushback from parents and alumni.