Dr. Talisa L. Dixon has dedicated her professional career to helping students from every walk of life learn, grow, and achieve to the best of their abilities. She is a widely recognized educational leader and innovator who couples numerous academic credentials with extensive real-world educational experience.
Dr. Dixon became Superintendent of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District in July 2014. Since taking over as superintendent, Dr. Dixon has launched numerous initiatives and efforts, all designed to better align District practices with the needs and expectations of the community. Among her first major steps was leading students, parents, staff, the Board of Education and community leaders on a yearlong process to develop a comprehensive Five-Year Strategic Plan. The ultimate goal of this plan is to ensure that students are prepared for educational and career pursuits upon graduation. This plan, now completed and being implemented by all District employees, demands accountability and sets high expectations for everyone connected with our schools, from teachers and staff to students, parents, and community members.
Dr. Dixon currently serves on the Cleveland Metro American Heart Association Board of Directors, the Governing Board and Executive Committee for MSAN (Minority Student Achievement Network), of which CH-UH is a founding district, and the Board of Directors for the Positive Education Program (PEP) of Cleveland. Dr. Dixon is a member of the 10th class of the Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).
Prior to joining the CH-UH School District, Dr. Dixon served in the Saginaw Public Schools as Deputy Superintendent for Teaching & Learning from 2010 to 2014. She designed and facilitated a comprehensive redesign of the school district as the head of the superintendent’s Academic Task Force. She was responsible for the redesigning and implementing of the district’s Title I program, Current Instructional Design, School Improvement Process, and strategic planning process. Additionally, she developed a new administrator evaluation system, and spearheaded the district’s plan to gain authorization of its International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program.
Before her work in Saginaw, Dr. Dixon was an administrator in the Columbus (OH) City Schools from 2001 to 2010. As principal for Columbus Alternative High School, she focused on increasing educational access and achievement, particularly among minority students. She substantially increased minority enrollment in the International Baccalaureate Diploma program and Advanced Placement courses, while also overhauling the school’s discipline plan, reducing student referrals by 20%. Under her leadership, CAHS was named a U.S. News & World Report Best High School from 2008 to 2010. Earlier, as an assistant principal in the district, she was responsible for facilitating professional development, grant writing, and administering literacy and numeracy programs.
She began her professional career as an instructor at the University of Akron, before becoming an assistant principal with the Akron City Schools.
Dr. Dixon grew up in Oxford, Mississippi, and she graduated from Oxford High School, after which she attended Mississippi Valley State University, in Itta Bena, Mississippi. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology.
After college, she pursued graduate studies in education at the University of Akron, from which she received three Master of Arts degrees (Sociology, Educational Administration, and Secondary Education), and a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Administration. Her doctoral thesis was an analysis of the impact of middle school teacher beliefs.
In her career, Dr. Dixon has been named: one of the University of Akron’s Outstanding Women in Higher Education (1998); an Ohio Reads Educator (2005/2006); The Ohio Transformation Champion of Change (2008); winner of the Ingram Award for Excellence in Leadership (2009/2010); and a Gerstacker Program Fellow (2013). She was selected for the Summer Leadership Institute and the Future of Learning Institute, both held by Harvard University in 2010. She has made numerous keynote presentations to national conferences on the subject of high school transformation and small school implementation.