Judy S. Dixson got into teaching because she enjoys working with children. She was one of the first teacher’s aides in Fresno County, California, and went on to teach in the county. Retiring in 2002, she taught grades 3 through 5 within the Fresno Unified School District from 1966 to 2002. Ms. Dixson began her professional career as a mentor teacher within the Fresno Unified School District in 1985, remaining in this position for one year before teaching at Manchester Gifted and Talented Education Elementary School in Fresno from 1983 to 2002. During this time, she became the lead teacher at the California Science Implementarion Network in Fresno from 1993 to 1994 and the California Elementary Mathematics Initiative in Sacramento from 1994 to 1995.
In addition to this tenure, Ms. Dixson was involved with the San Joaquin Valley Mathematics Project in Fresno in 1992. She also was a master teacher with the National Teacher Training Institute in Fresno from 1994 to 1995.
Prior to the start of her career, Ms. Dixson attended Norwalk High School in California until she was a junior, when her father’s company transferred him the Fresno area, where she finished high school at Roosevelt High School and graduated in 1962. She then pursued a formal education at Fresno State University, where she attained a Bachelor of Arts in biology with a minor in chemistry in 1966. She is also a certified teacher in the State of California. Active in her local community, Ms. Dixson is a deacon at her local church, the New Covenant Community Church, in Fresno, and volunteers regularly. She has also worked with women who were newly released from incarceration in a program that is now called the Lighthouse. She would see what they were lacking academically and helped them learn. Additionally, she has authored educational materials.
A member of the California Retired Teachers Association, Ms. Dixson was selected for inclusion in the fifth edition of Who’s Who in American Education. A highlight of her career is seeing her former students succeed. One of her former students is now a 60-year-old man who attends the same church as she does. She loved seeing the light in her students’ eyes when they understood what she was teaching. Moving forward, Ms. Dixson sees herself continuing quilting, knitting and other hobbies. She crouched bookmarks for her each of her students and has been able to give them second ones because she has been able to reconnect with them. Her church and friends continue to be very dear to her as well.
Growing up, Ms. Dixson was mentored by her eighth-grade teacher, Mr. Aguirre. He was an all-inclusive teacher and was very encouraging. She was also mentored by her high school gym teacher, Ms. Kamansky. The factors or attributes that she feels have played a role in her success is that she is willing to learn and that she is able to accept her kids for whoever they are, as well as her faith in God. What separates Ms. Dixson from other is that she does not judge quickly because she has to watch. She would like to be remembered by her peers as someone who loves people.
Ms. Dixson is married to her loving husband of 54 years, Michael Dennis Dixson, with whom she has raised two wonderful children, Tiffany Anne and the late Michael Bradley. She is also a doting grandmother to three beloved grandsons, Micah, Zackary Lasher and Hunter Lasher.