Voices

What those who know her say about Jeanette Dixon:

Jeanette Dixon had an extraordinary influence on my career and on my life; her impact reverberates still today, decades later. She entrusted me to design and implement an elective course on the American Civil Rights Movement for middle school students, the only course of its kind in the United States at the time. With her support, this course expanded in breadth and reach over time, creating opportunities for thousands of students to learn experientially and in depth about aspects of our nation’s history that often receive only cursory attention in the standard curriculum. Jeanette also encouraged and motivated me to complete my certification in secondary English, which enabled me to move on to high school when the opportunity arose. Jeanette took such keen interest in me as a person, and in my career as an educator. How blessed I was to have her on my side as mentor, sage, friend, and inspiration. To this day, I hear her voice coming through mine, communicating high expectations and rigor, along with compassion and unfailing belief in all children, in all families, and in all communities.

Deena Barlev
Retired English Teacher, Blake HS


Jeanette and I met in 1984 at Springbrook High School. We became close professional and personal friends and have lived through ups and downs in both of our lives for the last 32 years. We have been united in our belief that all students need opportunity to succeed, support, appreciation, caring, structure, and love. While we have not always agreed, we have not allowed differences to interfere with our friendship or to keep us from working for our students and our community. We come from different backgrounds but share respect for human potential.

Beatrice Newell
Retired Counselor, Paint Branch HS


I would like to share an experience of mine and recognize Jeanette Dixon for being a dedicated principal who supports her staff and promotes career opportunities. I started my career teaching Physical Education in another Montgomery County school, but transitioned to Paint Branch the first year Jeanette took office as Principal. I came to Paint Branch to teach the On the Job Training Program (OJT). The OJT program was exciting and new. It gave me several years of interacting with students on a different level. I worked with many students to help them find their first jobs, learn true life skills like balancing a check book, writing a resume, and preparing for an interview. I found this work very rewarding and it was nice to take a break from teaching Physical Education. But after eight years of working with OJT, my family dynamic changed when my mother went into the hospital for a routine battery change in her pacemaker and died. This was devastating and I wanted to spend more time with my new daughter. I considered leaving Montgomery County even if it meant giving up teaching since Paint Branch did not have any openings in the PE Department. Ms. Dixon and I talked and I shared my desire to return to teaching Physical Education. She always supported her staff and recognized the challenges of balancing a fulfilling career with the importance of family and being a mother. Ms. Dixon was always in tune with her staff and quickly identified another teacher that was looking for new opportunities. She facilitated the realignment of staffing to provide another teacher an opportunity to expand their career and allowed me to return to my first passion of Physical Education. I thank Ms. Dixon for her flexibility and support, and being willing to work with her staff to provide career opportunities because I was able to continue teaching at Paint Branch where I remain today.

Michelle Chesnut
PE Teacher, Paint Branch HS
MCEA Member


I first met Jeanette Dixon in 1993 when she was principal of White Oak MS.  Both of my daughters attended WOMS under her leadership. As a parent, I watched her work with her students and experienced her work with parents through the PTSA. She totally engaged with both. One of the things that impressed me most was how she was always available and took the time listen. My youngest daughter told me, “Ms. Dixon knows all of the students at school and she loves to talk to us.”

In 2001 I was working as a secretary at PBHS when Jeanette was selected as our principal. This gave me the opportunity to work with her directly and to know her in a new capacity –supervisor. Jeanette possesses an enviable work ethic and energy, and I watched as she worked to bring changes and improvements to PB. She involved all staff – administration, teachers, supporting services – as well as parents.She established a student leadership team and met with them regularly to gain the perspective of her students. All were asked for opinions, ideas and input and all input was valued. Under her leadership, new and challenging courses and programs were implemented, attendance improved, test scores went up, and the graduation rate increased.

In 2004 my youngest daughter, Rachel, came to Paint Branch as a freshman.  Over the next 4 years I watched as she was challenged in class, given opportunities to develop new interests and become a part of the positive PB culture. Political science had been her passion since MS and she worked hard and was accepted into American University.  However, during senior year she began considering a new path.  After she made her decision to pursue psychology and education, she withdrew from American University and planned to enroll in St. Mary’s College of Maryland. When she contacted the admissions office, there was no dorm space available.  All freshmen were required to live on campus which meant a delay in enrollment until the following year.  Needless to say, she was disappointed and discouraged. Jeanette actually took it upon herself to contact the president of St Mary’s and discuss the situation with him. Based on Jeanette’s support and recommendation, Rachel was allowed to live off campus while attending her freshman year. Today, Rachel is a proud special educator working for MCPS.

Through my association with Jeanette Dixon I have experienced her caring approach to her staff and students as well as her truly dedicated school leadership and stewardship of MCPS’s resources. I know that if we put Jeanette Dixon to work for our students, she will be a strong and valuable voice for parents and staff as well.

Laura Fary
Administrative Secretary to Jeanette Dixon
PBHS


When I was a student at Paint Branch, Ms. Dixon was more than just a figurehead and leader of the school; she was a mentor, great motivator, and now a friend. As principal she understood the importance of education, but also how to best prepare her students for the real world and life after high school. Outside of the phenomenal core curriculum, Ms. Dixon was a strong advocate of, and started many programs within the high school that helped students develop a career path, and guide them on their educational journey. Programs that helped students pursue involvement in media, science, the medical field, culinary arts, and education. These programs made Paint Branch stand out from other schools, and ultimately gave valuable opportunities for students to achieve and expand their potential. She challenged her students and staff to go above and beyond, and fostered a passion and drive for the people she led to succeed. She motivated me to expand my horizons, pursue opportunities, and to better myself not only as a student, but as a person as a whole. Her students and staff wanted to make her proud and give their best possible effort, an example of the great leader she is. At this point in my life I have achieved many goals and successes, and I am headed down a very promising path. I can say that much of that is a result of Ms. Dixon, her care for me as a student and person, as well as her support, encouragement, and aid in my educational and life journey. Ms. Dixon has never served in any of her positions for the prestige; she has served to fight for the best possible environment and opportunity for education, and most importantly the students. No one cares for, and knows education, better than Ms. Dixon. If given the chance she will take education in Montgomery County to unprecedented heights. If you truly care about the future of the students and education in Montgomery County, then there is no better candidate for School Board than Jeanette Dixon. She has had an extreme influence, change, and impact on my life, and I know she will do the same for the citizens, and most importantly the students of Montgomery County, all of who will contribute to the future of our great county and country. Thank you Ms. Dixon; you are an outstanding individual and woman.

Chris Skipper
Paint Branch HS Class of 2013
Virginia Tech Class of 2017


During my sophomore year at Paint Branch High School I started working on my Girl Scout Gold Award, and I quickly realized that I would need the support of a staff member. My project focused on the issue of hunger and included a take action portion with 80 students packing 10,000 meals for the hunger relief organization Stop Hunger Now. Ms. Dixon invited me to the Principal’s Student Leadership team meeting where I, as someone with no leadership experience at Paint Branch, was able to network and gather support from leaders of other clubs. Ms. Dixon supported me throughout my project and was always available to help me work through the logistics of reserving space, getting SSL forms signed, and involving clubs and organizations. Ms. Dixon’s support not only allowed me to successfully complete my Gold Award, but also helped me grow as leader.

Laura Van Demark
Paint Branch HS Class of 2015
James Madison University Class of 2019


I have known Jeanette Dixon for more than 15 years. One of the things I like the best about her is her willingness to listen. I think one of the best examples of this is when there was a proposal to extend open lunch privileges at Paint Branch HS to juniors. She engaged all the stakeholders – students, staff, and parents – and listened carefully to the ideas being expressed. In particular, she brought the question to a PTSA meeting that was very well attended and the issue caused quite a lively debate. At the meeting were not only parents, but some students. Everyone that wished was allowed to express their thoughts, and then the issue was put to a vote. The PTSA members present were overwhelmingly opposed to the extension of privileges, and Jeanette heard our collective voice and made the decision to not allow juniors to leave during lunch. Everyone present felt they had been heard and their opinions were important.

Patti Twigg
Former Paint Branch HS Parent, PTSA President and MCCPTA Cluster Coordinator
Community Activist
Treasurer, Paint Branch HS Educational Foundation


In 2012, when I first met Ms. Jeanette Dixon, former principal of Paint Branch HS, she introduced me to various student organizations. This gathering took place in an atmosphere of confidence, mutual respect and an expression of deep appreciation for education, educational initiatives, community service, and charitable giving, exhibited by both the principal and every student present at the time. I should note that I was left with an indelible profound feeling of appreciation for a caring leader such as Ms. Dixon, who had instill great values in the hearts and minds of the students under her guidance.

The organization I represented, Jean-Joseph Darbouze Foundation, Inc and its vision were well received by everyone present at the conference. As a result of this encounter, a fundraising campaign called “The Haiti Project” birthed. This initiative was spearheaded by Ms. Dixon and had brought together students and staff of Paint Branch to raise funds and collect supplies to support the Jean-Joseph Darbouze Academy in Arniquet, Haiti.

This campaign was a true success considering that a total of $5,872.16 was raised. Additionally, substantial quantities of school supplies such as pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, backpacks, and English language books were collected.

This help came at a very crucial moment where Haiti was still recovering from the 2010 earth quake. For many of the children attending the Jean-Joseph Darbouze Academy were amongst those displaced by this disaster. The funds were used primarily to expand the school building and to defray the costs of teachers’ salaries for 4 months. With regards to the supplies, all were distributed to our students. This was quite a great financial relief to the parents incapable of providing the required school supplies to their children.

Jean-Darbouze Foundation is very grateful not only to Ms. Dixon but also to all of the staff and students who partook in such a noble endeavor. We thank them and pray great blessings in their lives.

Allan Michel
Co-founder, Jean-Darbouze Foundation


Congratulations on your primary victory! I wanted to make sure I gave you my personal endorsement.

Lindsey Parsons