Richard Dixon left Cy Ridge on April 12 as an associate principal to become a principal at Goodson Middle school after working at Ridge for 15 years.
When Dixon first came to Ridge in 2003, he first started off as a U.S History teacher and team leader. After that, he became an assistant principal for eight years, then the director of instruction for two years, and finally he eventually escalated his way up to the associate principal. Even though Dixon is eager to be a new principal for the first time, it can always be scary to do something new, even if you’ve practiced it for years.
“I’m excited, but it’s kind of mixed feelings about moving, after being here for 15 years it’s kind of hard to pick up and leave because you guys are like a huge family to me, but I’m excited about getting the opportunity to be a principal and on my own campus,” Dixon said .
Fifteen years in one place builds up a lot of memories, making it difficult for Dixon to choose a particular favorite one.
“But everything from the talent shows, myself, and Mr.Grigsby, who was an assistant principal, would perform the line dance, we used to do kiss the pig so I’ve kissed several pigs,” Dixon said. “One year I was bought for senior auction and I dressed up like Pinocchio, and I wore a kilt. I’ve done lots of different things, 15 years worth of memories held wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Even though the staff here is going to miss Dixon, they will never forget some of the memories they have made together throughout all the years of him being here, everything from memories to memorable words that have touched them.
James Core, SMSgt, who has worked here for since 2013, was in the Air Force for 28 years and hopes to make an impact on kids the way Dixon did.
”For me, it’s an achievement to be able to groom kids as in help them become better adults as they get older and after all our motto is to help our young people become better citizens,” Core said.
With years of the assistant principals working here and getting to knowing Dixon, the first time they met is a thing to keep forever and last forever.
Assistant Principal Joe Hartley who has worked at Ridge for 13 years, starting his career as a cop then eventually became a co-ed teacher and transitioned to assistant principal, and he keeps the first time they met memorable.
“He was my appraiser as my teacher in my first four years then after that we’ve been more of colleagues. He was one of the only ones here who knew more about special needs than I did so I always went to him for help or advice,” Hartley said.
Many things can help us grow as a person mentally, Hartley has been grateful enough that Dixon has taught him many things about working in the education field, but an impact that Dixon has made on Hartley is important and going to stick with Hartley even though Dixon has moved away.
“Yeah, Mr.Dixon did have a pretty big impact on me. As him being the associate principal and my supervisor has helped me in one way or another, and through him, I’ve really got exposed to and learned a lot of different things about him and parents kind of dealing with interpersonal relationships and having appropriate responses to every situation we were in,” Hartley said. “As APs there are never two days where kids do the same thing, it’s always different. We’ve got 250 teachers on this campus so it’s very different, he taught me about the importance of being able to interact with a whole variety of people.”.
Not only people can make an impact on a person, but a place can also make an impact on yourself. Dixon did not see Ridge as just a school or a place where kids just want to sit in a desk for almost eight hours; he saw it as a place where he would meet the biggest family of all.
”There’s been a big change I mean we first opened you’re bringing in kids from five different schools that originally zoned to different high schools and throwing them into a whole new school were trying to develop a tradition in an atmosphere but I think we’re a hidden gem,” Dixon said. “Sometimes we get a bad rep but those who were here know that that’s not really true in the old days there were some issues that we had and there was justification for the negative aspects of people but I think we’ve created a place that I’m proud that my daughter goes here I would definitely recommend that anyone goes here.”
While Dixon was an associate principal here, he would hopefully like to believe that he’s helped kids here become better people and helped them in a way.
“I think I’ve helped more than a few students along the way who’ve had a hard time doing things and helping them get across the finish line to get a diploma and when I see a lot of them in the community who now have a family and kids it’s really cool to see the impact that I’ve made here,” Dixon said.
“Definitely Ridge is a really good snapshot of society we have a lot of different ethnic backgrounds and a lot of different economic backgrounds and a lot of different languages being spoken, different cultures and it really has opened my eyes to be able to work and create a place that no matter who you are, you feel like you belong somewhere and that challenging is really been a huge part of my group,” Dixon said.
Not only has Dixon impacted the kids here but he would like to believe that the kids have made an impact on him too.
“Everybody from the kids to the staff they have impacted me by challenging me, they’ve asked me questions that had reflected on me by looking at my views differently and the decisions I make in a good way it’s not a challenge unless I have a hard time getting over it and I see they why, like why are we doing things and it’s what we’re doing and everybody it’s not a day unless I’m not challenged,” Dixon said.
In life we have surprises, we have things that happen unexpectedly, but it can also mean that it’s meant to be. When Hartley first started his career as a police officer he never expected he would be working in the education field.
”I don’t know that I’ve ever thought that it would be so important to be an AP and once I got into it I fell in love with it and i really enjoy working with young people and I like to think that I have made an impact in some way or another I have some kind of impact in their life as an AP we deal with a lot of discipline and a lot of students that get into trouble but I’ve been fortunate enough that over the years I’ve had a number of students who have come back to campus and said Mr.Hatley I remember when you used to be a little hard on me when I was a student here but now I have an appreciation for what you did and I just and to say thank you and that’s really rewarding for us,” Hartley said.
Dixon will continue to take steps to further his career in education and eventually come back to the high school setting.
“I would like to come back to high school eventually and when all is over and I’m retired and I’m an old grumpy principal I’d like to come back,” Dixon said.
Before Dixon left he had a couple words to the kids and staff that he wanted to say, even if he couldn’t say it to each and every person here.
“Thank you, everyone, for the years of giving me opportunities and for growing with me, it’s been a really great experience I will miss each and every one of y’all dearly,” Dixon said.