Just four months removed from the start of a new three-year contract that was set to run through July 2025, Talisa Dixon is retiring from her position as head of the state's largest district.
The district's 21st superintendent since 1847, Dixon has been leading Columbus City Schools since March 2019.
During her time at the helm, Dixon steered the Columbus schools through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. But not every decision she made was met with praise.
The Columbus Education Association also went on strike for the first time since 1975 while Dixon was superintendent.
Columbus City Schools: Superintendent Talisa Dixon retirement letter
More recently, Columbus City Schools decided to update and change all bus routes starting Jan. 3, blaming the mid-year busing upheaval on the nationwide shortage of bus drivers as well as issues with a new $1.5 million software system the district purchased this year that was supposed to more efficiently and effectively develop bus routes. Instead, there were major busing problems for hundreds of students and their parents.
Here's a timeline of Talisa Dixon's tenure as Columbus City Schools superintendent:
Sept. 20, 2018: Dixon is named superintendent. She spends the next few months listening and learning about Columbus schools from teachers, parents and others.
March 11, 2019: Dixon officially begins her tenure as superintendent of Columbus City Schools. It marks a return to the district for Dixon, who worked as an administrator for CCS between 2001-2010, including six years as the principal at now-closed Brookhaven High School and Columbus Alternative High School.
March 16, 2020: CCS students begin remote learning after Gov. Mike DeWine declares a state of emergency in Ohio because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
May 2020: Dixon moves to cancel in-person graduations for the Class of 2020 when most neighboring districts do not. Dixon previously told The Dispatch that the decision was one of the toughest of her career.
Feb. 1, 2021: 18,000 or so total students return to classes. All of the preschool and grades K-3 students, select students in all grade levels with "complex needs," such as disabilities, and high school students in career-technical education programs at Columbus Downtown High School and the Fort Hayes Career Center.
The following week, grades 4-5 return to in-person learning. At that time, about half of the district's students — or 26,600 — were in "blended learning."
Sept. 23, 2021: Dixon helps announce the "STEAMM Rising Initiative," which is geared toward better preparing CCS students for careers in science, technology, engineering, art, math and medicine. The initiative is a collaboration between CCS, the city of Columbus, Ohio State University and Columbus State Community College.
Nov. 2021: CCAS rolls out Columbus Promise, a new initiative ensuring the next three classes of CCS graduates can attend Columbus State Community College for free.
Feb. 15, 2022: The Columbus City Schools Board of Education unanimously approves a new three-year contract for Dixon, to begin Aug. 1, 2022 and run through July 31, 2025. Dixon agreed to an annual salary of $262,520, a nearly 8.5% increase from her last.
Dixon at the time outlined a new strategic plan for the district and "Portraits of a Graduate," which spells out skills and traits students need to succeed and outlines the district's priorities for the next five years.
July 27, 2022: The Columbus Education Association rallies outside Columbus City Schools' main administration building Downtown twice, calling on the district to schedule more bargaining sessions because the two sides were "far apart" on a new contract.
July 28, 2022: Bargaining breaks off after the state's largest school district declared it had made its "final offer," which included increases to teaching salaries that it said exceeded the average of state and local teaching salaries, "new and innovative leave benefits," and "creative" career development opportunities for teachers.
Aug. 21, 2022: More than 94% of CEA members who attended a mass meeting at the Greater Columbus Convention Center vote to reject the Columbus City school board's last, best final offer and go on strike for the first time since 1975.
Aug. 24, 2022: Columbus City Schools begin districtwide classes online with substitute teachers.
Aug. 25, 2022: The CEA and Columbus City Schools announce that they had reached a "conceptual agreement" at about 2:45 a.m. The agreement ends the picketing at 19 schools and the Southland Center.
Aug. 29, 2022: Classes for Columbus City Schools students resume in-person for the first time this school year.
Monroe Trombly covers breaking and trending news.
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Talisa Dixon's time leading Columbus City Schools