Dixon Won’t Seek Re-Election to School Board
'It’s just time for me to serve in other ways,' former principal says
Jeanette Dixon, an at-large member of the Montgomery County school board, announced on Saturday night she will not run for re-election in 2020.
Dixon, 70, who was elected to a four-year term in 2016, posted on Twitter that it has been an “honor” to serve on the board.
She made her announcement with exactly one year left in her term.
“I decided that it’s probably time to pass the torch to a new generation,” Dixon said in an interview on Saturday night. “I’ve had a long career in education and I really kind of realized … there are other ways you can serve. I certainly will continue to speak out and I will always, always be an advocate for the best education for all of our students.”
Exactly 1 year from today my term on the MCPS BOE will come 2 an end. It has been & will continue 2 be an honor & a privilege 2 serve the students, (families),teachers & staff. While I choose not be a candidate 4 re-election in 2020 there are other ways I will continue to serve.
— Jeanette Dixon (@dixon_jeanette) December 1, 2019
A Silver Spring resident, Dixon is the only school board member up for re-election who will not run. Board President Shebra Evans and District 2 board member Rebecca Smondrowski told Bethesda Beat in October they will seek another term in 2020.
No candidates had officially filed with the Montgomery County Board of Elections as of Saturday night.
Dixon on Saturday said “there are other ways” she will serve students and families, but declined to elaborate.
A former teacher and principal, Dixon worked for MCPS for 30 years before retiring in 2013. Her career, paired with four years on the school board, gives a “unique perspective” about “how the system works, and also how it doesn’t,” Dixon said, hinting at the possibility of someday writing a book.
Dixon highlighted work to update the MCPS school transfer policy to be more “family- and student-centered,” changing substitute teaching requirements to increase the number of fill-in teachers available for schools and pursuing more open and transparent data about student reading proficiency as some of her proudest moments on the board.
“While there’s still work to be done, I don’t think one should think only they can do that,” Dixon said. “There will be other people out there who will be progressive and have the same passion for students and I will be happy to continue mentoring a younger generation of leaders in MCPS and being available to help families when they need it.”
Dixon cautioned that she won’t be a “lame duck” in the next year and will continue to push for the board to be responsive to the public’s concerns, transparent and good stewards of its $2.68 billion budget.
Dixon ran against eight-year incumbent Philip Kauffman in 2016 and won. She had not run for election to the school board before.
Along with her duties on the school board, Dixon cares for her mother, who had a stroke four years ago and is partially paralyzed.
Dixon holds a history degree from American University and a master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from Loyola College. She is the chair of the board’s Fiscal Management Committee and a member of the Strategic Planning Committee.
“I don’t consider myself a lame duck in any way, and would caution those who might treat me as such,” Dixon said. “After this year, though, it’s just time for me to serve in other ways.”
Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org