English teacher Lea Dixon recognized for hard work, dedication to profession

English teacher Lea Dixon recognized for hard work, dedication to profession

Lara Cate Wright, Staff Writer

Before the sound of the eight o’clock bell, English teacher Lea Dixon’s day of teaching has already started.

Dixon arrives to school everyday in between 7:15 and 7:30 to tutor students in the morning. After a full day of teaching, Dixon can also be found helping students after school.  Dixon sets a high bar for her students and leads by example. She spends her weekends grading and commenting on the work her students turn in. She considers herself to put in the same amount of work as her students.

Her hard work and dedication to her craft led Dixon, selected by her peers, to be named Manteo High School’s Teacher of The Year for 2017-2018 school year. The process to be considered was not daunting for Dixon. In contrast with her large personality, being seen by the public was what Dixon feared most.

“I was not scared of the portfolio or the interview, but I did not want to be in the parade!” Dixon said.

This fall marked Dixon’s 17th year teaching English, with five of those years at Manteo.  To be nominated for teacher of the year, the teacher has to inspire the students to learn and be successful, engage with students and parents, play an active role in the community and school, and overall have fun teaching students and watching them be successful.

Dixon graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. That same year, Dixon started teaching 10th grade English and communication skills for Burke County Schools. Dixon continued teaching English for Moore County Schools from 2002-2012. In those 10 years, Dixon taught 9-12th grade honors and regular English.

“Those schools were both 4A and 2000+ student high schools. Manteo was a big change [for me] but it was more appealing. The school systems were so much better with smaller class sizes. These are things I don’t think students [in Manteo] know, like how good they have it here,” Dixon said.

Dixon never imagined that one day she would be a teacher. Dixon was not a perfect child in high school and saw her fair share of the principal. Dixon was encouraged to be the person she is today because of her teachers who listened to her and who respected her.

“There was not a particular moment when I realized I wanted to be a teacher,” Dixon said. “What I did know is that I needed a career that made a difference in the world – that provided a necessary service that made me feel pride.”

Dixon is currently teaching English 1 and English 3. In previous years she has also taught AP Language and Composition. Dixon is the freshman class teacher representative and sometimes helps out with the softball team in the spring.

Dixon is highly skilled and dedicated to her students, as a Teacher of the Year should be. Watching students become successful outside of her classroom and throughout their careers is a part of the job she looks forward to.  No matter the student, nor the time of day, she takes time out of her schedule to help a student learn.