Waycross principal finalist for National Principal of the Year

Speaking of good principals earlier today on this blog: I just received this news release:

Timothy Dixon, principal of Waycross (GA) Middle School, has been named a finalist in the 2012 MetLife/NASSP National Principal of the Year Program for his significant contributions to student achievement.

In his four years as principal of Waycross, Dixon has earned a great deal of respect from colleagues, teachers, parents, and community members. Committed to collaborative leadership, he rallies his staff members to take accountability for student success and he ensures that they participate in the major decisions that impact the school. He also works closely with the PTA and forges strong relationships with local business leaders.

“Dixon is loved by the school community,” said Joseph Barrow Jr., superintendent of Ware County Schools. “He models values, beliefs, and attitudes that encourage others to high levels of performance.”

By supporting the development of programs that underscore equity and rigor, Dixon ensures that all 578 students’ needs are met. After taking stock of the school’s culture when he became principal, he met with the leadership team to revise Waycross’ vision, mission, and goals to more effectively reach its diverse student population.

Now, student-staff mentoring programs, teacher self-evaluations, faculty study groups, before- and in-school tutoring, and targeted interventions are commonplace in the middle school. Students and teachers are also required to participate in at least one of the school’s 29 clubs, and can choose from activities like debate, rodeo, skateboarding, and even a support group for students with incarcerated parents.

With Dixon’s help, Waycross has produced dramatic gains in state math and reading scores among all student subgroups. In math, the percentage of black students reaching the proficient and advanced levels jumped from 72 percent in 2007 to 81 percent in 2009. In reading, 82 percent of economically disadvantaged students reached the proficient and advanced benchmark in 2009, increasing from 74 percent in 2007. Discipline referrals also dropped from 912 to 631 in the span of three years — a true testament to the dedication of Dixon and his staff.

The search for the national principal of the year began in early 2011 as each state principal’s association selected its state principal of the year. From this pool of state award winners, a panel of judges selected three middle level and three high school finalists. The national middle level and high school winners will be named in September and recognized in Washington, DC, during the Principals’ Institute for State and National Principals of the Year, September 21-24.

Dixon and the other five finalists will each receive a $1,500 grant, and the two national award winners — one high school and one middle level — will receive additional grants of $3,500. The grants will be used to improve learning at the school (e.g. a special school project and/or professional development opportunities).

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

23 comments Add your comment

Jerry Eads

June 29th, 2011
12:23 pm

Okay, folks who know him, so where does Timothy fit in Peter’s system in the previous post?


June 29th, 2011
12:30 pm

Congratulations Mr. Dixon! I’m glad to hear of the good work going on in Ware County!

Perfect Principal

June 29th, 2011
12:52 pm

Way to go Mr. Dixon! I would love to work in your school! Best wishes as you compete for the top spot! Now, I have to go to your school’s website.


June 29th, 2011
2:12 pm

Just what we need… another education star. I’ll bet Beverly is so jealous. Americans love their saviors. They will tell us what to do so we won’t have to think and feel the pain of seeing ourselves as we are. Timothy Dixon has nothing we haven’t seen many times before. We all really know that but don’t want to think about it. No silver bullet. We could all start by stepping back and seeing what it is about us as a society that does not value education except as a trade school.


June 29th, 2011
2:16 pm

Congratulations to Timothy Dixon. Meanwhile, over in Dekalb County, school administrators are busy selling autobiographies of themselves.


June 29th, 2011
3:34 pm

No administrator from Clayco made the cut, LOL

Top School

June 29th, 2011
3:49 pm

Warren T Jackson and APS have received many awards and accolades…

Stack these awards to the ceiling.
Not sure how it can be measured any longer,
The administrators with APS made a mess out of the AWARDS in their system.


Jerry Eads

June 29th, 2011
4:57 pm

I was hopiing that someone might weigh in on Dixon’s qualities as a principal as discussed in the previous entry Maureen so thoughtfully provided us, penned by Peter Smagorinsky.

With a reasonable rise in pass rates from the low 70’s to low 80’s, it’s entirely possible that IF we had tests that produced meaningful scores, they might have actually gone up. Although it’s very easy to manipulate discipline reporting, it’s certainly possible that reducing infractions by a third over three years is both believable as well as VERY laudable. It’s the other stuff that’s mentioned yet so hard to measure – the support of clubs and other activities, the PTA, the working with teachers and so on – that are a potential mark of a good principal. Press releases notwithstanding, is there anyone here who can opine directly?


June 29th, 2011
5:43 pm

Can you share a little more detail about the disciplinary referral types (ISS/OSS/OSS w/Panel Proceedings) ? Thanks

David Sims

June 29th, 2011
7:09 pm

Yes, Mr. Dixon is a good principal from what I’ve head. And so is his county colleague Mrs. Kathy Stevens, the principal of Ruskin Elementary. Mrs. Stevens has actually gotten decent scholastic performance out of a mostly black student enrollment. I happen to know she was a cheerleader in high school in the 70s, so that might be where the picked up motivational skills.


June 29th, 2011
9:08 pm

Congratuations to Mr. Dixon!!! I wish there were more like him!!!!


June 29th, 2011
10:11 pm

“With Dixon’s help, Waycross has produced dramatic gains in state math and reading scores among all student subgroups. In math, the percentage of black students reaching the proficient and advanced levels jumped from 72 percent in 2007 to 81 percent in 2009.”

Congratulations and all that to Dixon and Co. Unfortunately, one of the aftershocks of the APS cheating scandal is that now, we become wary when we see statistics such as the above.

Courses in UK

June 30th, 2011
2:56 am

well keep it up,& congratulations Mr. Dixon
I wish to long live “EDUCATION” Everywhere in the World. Visit some Courses in UK here.

A Conservative Voice

June 30th, 2011
8:54 am

Discipline referrals also dropped from 912 to 631 in the span of three years —

Is that 631 in one year? WOW And the student population is 578? Nice going, Mr. Dixon and keep working on it.

top school 4 real

June 30th, 2011
9:10 am

Top School…we are very weary with your rants about W.T Jackson and the administration, staff, and parents. You are bitter, and those of us who know the real story behind your dismissal find it interesting that you are still obsessed 10 years after the fact. Why someone hasn’t sued YOU for slander and libel is beyond me, but you need to get on with your life. Jackson doesn’t need your approval while we earn Platinum status 3 years in a row and continue to win award after award for academic excellence. I don’t think you want anyone to publicly embarrass you over some of your actions while you were employed at Jackson, so time to give this gig up and go on to something more productive.


June 30th, 2011
9:36 am

Millions doled out to APS, ClayCo, Dekalb, Fulton yet where were they in this competition. Lettuce hope Shirley Franklin has an award, in her back pocket, for Bev.


June 30th, 2011
11:13 am


Your column has replaced the Vent that was previously on each counties’ News section of the AJC.


June 30th, 2011
11:15 am

BTW, my congratulations to Principal Dixon.


July 1st, 2011
1:06 am

That 631 referrals is more than 1 referral for every student. Good God – what in heck is going on down there in Waycross ?
I think that there should be a clarification on the OSS versus ISS versus office referrals. It makes a difference.

Top School

July 1st, 2011
1:58 am

@ top school for real…
I think Superintendent Beverly Hall is just now leaving her post after 10+ years…

Post anything you would like…slander???…from the horse’s mouth???

obviously you don’t know everything…I was not dismissed…I resigned.
I have excellent evaluations from the JACKSON PRINCIPAL.

I THINK EVERYONE in APS is looking for the TRUTH.

How would a system engage an entire SYSTEM to CHEAT?
You only know what you’ve been exposed to…and obviously that was manipulated by your leader.

So how would any APS teacher report wrong doing under the current leadership of APS???
My posts are for the record…and Warren T Jackson’s leadership is part of the unethical leadership that supported the falsification of records, misuse of public funds, and falsified records during an investigation….Plain and simple…it is recorded from the leadership’s mouth.

She slanders herself…I did not have any part of it. She explains her actions in her own words….

Hall’s 10 years of leadership with all her accolades are just as good as WARREN T JACKSON’S AWARDS…WORTHLESS…because the leadership was corrupt to the core.
Your platinum level???
Productive…this is all productive if it removes the facade of ethical leadership in APS.
You can’t see past your nose…and if you don’t drop it down a bit …you will drown in your own tears when the Jackson wall’s come a tumbling down…

I’ve moved on …this is entertainment.
And when the book is written…I’ll sign yours…Bitter in Buckhead…and laugh.
I find the entire APS situation all connected and just about ready to blow…
Let’s see what Governor Deal’s Investigation team comes out with…

And the beat goes on…Skip my post if it offends you…


Top School

July 1st, 2011
2:06 am

And for the record…Who are WE…”We” are weary…

I’ve posted my name…Post yours …if you are so brave and know so much…
Your name …IS WRITTEN PERFECTLY ON THE falsified records that recorded Reich’s attempts to cover-up during an investigation. Would you like a PDF FILE TO SHOW what was actually submitted in APS that was falsified?

As a teacher…you would have been dismissed for much less.
Should you not expect the same standards from your administrator?

I am happy to email you the documentation.


Top School

July 1st, 2011
2:38 am

I guess you consider all the publicized articles about the CHEATING IN APS a RANT…
anyone that attempts to uncover the unethical practices of APS is BITTER….

How many others have walked in those shoes when they attempted to tell the TRUTH???
My pleasure…to walk without you. My PLEASURE.

Top School

July 1st, 2011
10:15 pm

“Barely good enough is good enough.”