Dear MCPS Support Staff:
I am a candidate for the At Large seat on the Board of Education. The education of our students is my passion, even in retirement. After a 30 year career (all in MCPS) I decided to run for the Board because while I love MCPS, I think we can do a better job addressing the challenges we face that have been brought about by increasing numbers of students impacted by economic inequality, limited English proficiency and special needs. We cannot continue to do things the same way we did 20 years ago and expect that we will be able to meet the needs of all of our students and their families.
I have been a teacher, parent and principal in MCPS, the last 12 years of which were as the principal of Paint Branch HS (2001-2013). My work at Paint Branch was recognized when I won the Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award in 2012. I believe I am the most qualified candidate running for the Board, and I know the inner workings of the school system best.
Our teachers do a phenomenal job educating, guiding and nurturing our students day in and day out and so do you. As principal I always considered that every staff member was a teacher no matter what their job, and I used to tell students at Paint Branch “Imagine if no breakfast or lunch was served, no classrooms were cleaned, no memos were written, no one helped you with a concept you didn’t understand, and you couldn’t take the bus to a school that was safe. We would be in a sorry state and that we needed to appreciate our support staff because our schools could not operate without you.”
To that end I want you to know that as someone who knows and appreciates what you do every day I am the only candidate for the BOE who has called for an end to cutting the hours of support staff once you have been hired for a specific number of hours. You have mortgages and rent to pay and children to educate too. You are the only employees who lose thousands of dollars in compensation that you never get back by these cuts and that impacts your pension as well. It is time to stop balancing the budget on your backs. This is my top priority that affects you directly along with two others. I want to work with the new superintendent to bring about a transformative change in MCPS culture where staff are afraid to speak their mind for fear of losing their job. This has the effect of stifling creativity and our students lose out. I also believe the Board should operate with complete transparency and cast a wide net in getting stakeholder input before making decisions like doing away with final exams and transferring your tax shelter account to one company.
I would support next year’s FY’18 budget being developed on a zero based basis so that we can do a complete review of programs to see what is working and what needs to be realigned or eliminated. We need to be good stewards of the financial resources provided by the taxpayers of our county.
If I am elected to the Board I will represent your interests and will not vote to go back on a signed contract. I will be an independent, progressive voice on the Board. I am known for speaking my mind, listening, being responsive and getting the job done. I have not asked any elected politicians to endorse me in this race because I believe it is inappropriate in a non-partisan race for the School Board for them to try to dictate who will serve on the Board. Politics has no place in the education of our students.
I invite you to visit my website www.jeanettedixon.org to learn more about who I am as a person and what my Top 10 Priorities Are For Service on The Board. Also please see the Voices section on the Menu which features testimonials from those who have worked with me and know me well.
Finally, thank you for all that you do day in and day out for our students. I ask for your consideration when you vote in the general election on November 8th.