Principal Dixon’s year in review


This school year started a little differently with a new principal, Mr. Jamie Dixon. At first many people were unsure of how this year would look under a new principal, but Principal Dixon has changed the perception of much of the student body. Once of the first articles posted on The Red and Grey was an interview with Principal Dixon, so it is fitting that we revisit him for one of our last stories of the year. I sat down with him and some fellow journalists, Kaleigh Williams and Marissa West, to get his thoughts on the year as well as his plans for the 2021-2022 school year. Here is what he had to say: 

How was your first year at MCHS? 

There were challenges, there were successes, there were lots of things from a learning experience that I absolutely enjoyed. There are lots of things that we can be better at. I think the most important thing is that the kids are getting to know me and I am getting to know them. I want to be extraordinarily transparent with them, I want to be open to them. We have done a pretty decent job getting that message across. We have work to do but from an aspect of what I have done, that was my most important goal. Secondarily we have developed some good reputations with the staff and some good talking conversational pieces such as that. My philosophical points are to build relationships with kids, fill into their needs, and we want to be transparent. I think we have made a good, healthy start and we still have plenty of things to do. 

What is MCHS like compared to other schools you have been at? 

You know it is interesting because so many schools have their own culture, their own dynamics, and their own presence of mind. It is different, it is different in a way that I have inherited an organization that was already pretty dawg gone good, and then charged with making it better. So I think that is doable because I think you guys have a mindset of trying to be as good as you can be, with very little exception. There are always exceptions to every rule. However you guys are not only mindful of the changes that we want to make, but you have embraced most of what we talked about and that’s unique. I don’t want you to be compliant because I said so, I want you to do things because you trust me. It is my job to earn your trust and we have made some pretty good strides in that arena. I think that there is work to be done, I think that every year we get a new crop of kids. You guys did this from a student stand point, you guys have demonstrated that your willing to embrace change, you’re willing to help me put our culture in a view or way that is compatible with what you want to see, and what I want to see in the same breath.

What has been the biggest struggle/adjustment this year? 

The biggest struggle is the day to day things that I have to learn and still learning about, simple things like how we do our bookkeeping here, things that are completely different than I have done before. Specifically, I have to learn all the terminology that we use here from a vernacular standpoint that sometimes I have to raise my hand and go ‘What does that mean’. I am not afraid to ask questions but my toughest job is acclimating to you all, not you to me, I think that’s much easier. I just have to make sure that I am doing things that you all are comfortable with. Then we still work on the philosophical changes that I have to make.

What are some changes you plan on making next year? Why? 

I believe we struggle with many kids here to address the remediation. In other words if you’re in a pre-calc class and you don’t know what is going on, if I were sitting there I wouldn’t because I am terrible with math, but long story short I’ve got to build a schedule that reflects the needs of the population. I don’t believe our schedule does that. I am not fond of our schedule, I know it’s good for some and not for others. I have to build something that looks very compatible with what I believe is best for you all, and what you believe is good for you all. I want to have time where you can go to your clubs and I have to have time everyday for those kids that have an issue in class to go be able get some help, and I need that to happen everyday. We are working on that and that will be the biggest change, but that will be a change that will help you all. I have heard your concerns and I want to address them all. 

What has been the highlight of your year as a principle and why? 

The highlight is yet to come! I have to tell you, there have been a number of grand things that have happened. I love the way that you all conduct your business. The highlight is watching you guys because you have a very specific set of determinations to get to where you want to be, and I need to be able to assess that for everyone. That has been my highlight! The biggest highlight comes on May 28th, when I get to hand these kids that have earned a diploma. I have met with kids every single month since October that were failing a class required for graduation, and we have developed a bond. So many of them have turned it around and I got to tell you that thrills me! To get to hand them that piece of paper that says ‘This is what I have accomplished’ that is the highlight of my year, every year. Now that does not say that I only think about seniors. The truth is, we are trying to build an organization from the ground up, that starts and pushes the right ideas as ninth graders. We want to make sure that administrators bond with their kids, so we can handle problems, successes, and the whole end. That is what we want to be able to do. We have to do so with a smile, we have to be approachable, we have to be transparent and they have to trust us. We are building that. I am telling you, the highlight of my year will come on May 28th and it’s my favorite day of the year. When you get to hand a kid a piece of paper that says ‘You have done good’ and ‘the rest of your life you’re in charge of it now’ and give them that foundation that makes me so excited!