Jesse Dixon, formerly the special assistant to the superintendent of the St. Louis Public Schools, is the new director of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Center. Jerry Weinberg, associate provost for research and dean of the Graduate School, made the announcement.
“I feel both honored and thrilled to be taking on this director role for the SIUE East St. Louis Center,” Dixon said. “The center has demonstrated a decades-long commitment to providing quality educational services to students and families in and around East St. Louis. With the wide range of effective programs for students, from birth through college, I see tremendous opportunities to accelerate our impact and serve more families in the region.”
Dixon replaces Dr. Andrew Theising, former Institute Urban Research director. Theising was named director of the center in September 2012.
Dixon said his first order of business is to get to know the hardworking staff at the Center while also reaching out to the key stakeholders at the university and throughout the Metro East community.
“I was drawn to work at the center for several reasons. First, I am impressed with the quality of services being offered here. I applaud the partnership and backing of a premiere university to ensure that a wide range of opportunities exist for the community. The center is a place where infants, toddlers, teenagers and adults can get dental care, receive nursing services and have their future shaped by effective and committed educators,” Dixon said. “There are very few places in the country that offer this range of services.”
Dixon has served in a number of capacities during his professional career. He managed a range of special projects related to district-wide strategic planning efforts, intervention strategies for the lowest performing schools and teacher retention initiatives. Dixon oversaw a range of federal grant programs, including Title I, II and III and federal School Improvement Grant programs.
From 2009-2013, Dixon supported the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in the development of the state’s accountability and assistance system. He directed the launch and ongoing management of the state’s Office of District and School Turnaround – an office managing the Race to the Top turnaround initiatives, School Improvement Grant program and overall efforts to intervene in the state’s most struggling schools and districts.
Through his private consulting practice, Dixon provided strategic planning and implementation support to the U.S. Department of Education, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, University of Missouri St. Louis Charter School Office, Saint Louis University’s Charter School Office, Harvard Programs in Professional Education, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Illinois State Board of Education.
Dixon earned a master’s in education policy and management from Harvard Graduate School of Education.
The new director said he looks forward to applying his expertise and helping make the Center grow in the size of its scope, influence and services.
“The center is an inspiring and innovative place that is doing great things for thousands of people,” Dixon said. “But I believe there is significant opportunity to put in place a wider range of programming and serve even more.”