Diane Dixon named to Educator Hall of Fame

posted Mar 24, 2018, 5:40 PM by Granger Meador   [ updated Mar 24, 2018, 5:41 PM ]
Annually the Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation recognizes outstanding former educators in the Bartlesville Public Schools by inducting them into their Educator Hall of Fame

Diane Dixon, Carol Ann Cone (posthumously), and Gerald Thompson will be inducted as the ninth class in the Hall of Fame on April 5, 2018. Each of these outstanding educators will be profiled in a news post before the event.

”Diane Dixon is a force to be reckoned with. She is perhaps short in stature, but a giant in personality and vitality. She has the energy of a buzz saw, the humor of a clown, and the tenacity of a bulldog.” So read one of the over two dozen nominations which ensured Diane’s entry into the ninth class of the Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation’s Educator Hall of Fame, along with two other former teachers in the school district.

When you meet Diane, while you would agree she has the energy of a power tool, you need not fear getting hurt. Her infectious enthusiasm and passion for teaching will sweep you along, just as it took her from Louisiana to Texas and California, finally to land in Bartlesville, where she became a renowned teacher of gifted and talented elementary school students.

Diane earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Louisiana State University. After her entry year of teaching in Louisiana, she moved to Texas with her husband Tom, where she taught second graders. The first unit was on farming, so her students asked if they could bring their pets. Little did Diane realize they would bring two cows, three horses, a pig, and a parent driving up on a tractor to the school.

Diane earned her master’s degree in early childhood education from the University of North Texas at Dallas, eagerly absorbing and putting into action the theories of Piaget and practices of Sylvia Ashton-Warner. When she and Tom came to Bartlesville, she taught at Lincoln Elementary, but soon leapt at an opportunity to teach gifted and talented students at different district schools. The new program would need her bulldog tenacity.

Leonard Brock, one of last year’s Educator Hall of Fame inductees, was dismayed when she appeared at his school to pull students out of their regular classes for enrichment. Leonard said, “So you’re going to be another problem.” Diane assured him, “No, I’m going to be your best solution.” She kept her word by taking classes at Oklahoma Wesleyan from Harriet Guthrie, absorbing teaching techniques and a holistic approach, and using those to craft a program that included math patterns, cycles, and systems. When Diane’s eyes flash as she tells you, “Fibonacci sequences are exciting!”, eagerly demonstrates numerical palindromes, or explains story matrices, you quickly grasp how she drew in and inspired gifted youngsters.

Over the years in her own classroom or when rotating among sites, she was inspired by former administrator Bill Beierschmitt to make her students’ weekly two hours with her a “peak experience”. She had centers for the students to keep them engaged and learning, having them master a skill, make it their own, and then pass it along to others. She also spent a decade helping conduct a summer program at Camp Wah-Sha-She, where she admits an electric pickle experiment once blew out an air conditioner.

It is no surprise that this tiny but powerful dynamo has remained active after retiring in 2001, having taught for 27 years, with 16 of those in the Gifted Education program in Bartlesville. Diane is a frequent volunteer, offers senior classes as part of a lifelong learning institute, is part of the Senior Salties theater troupe, and much more. She and Tom enjoy visits with their son Scott in Oregon and daughter Amy, who lives in Broken Arrow, and their five grandchildren.

The Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation has been investing in students and staff members within the district since 1985. Over the decades, the non-profit organization has funded more than $2 million in creative projects outside of the traditional state, local and federal sources to support state-of-the-art instruction. The money generated by the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies helps to fund the organization’s programs. Diane has asked that a $1,000 grant in her name go toward the district’s Gifted and Talented Education program.

Diane Dixon
Diane Dixon will be inducted into the Educator Hall of Fame of the Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation on April 5, 2018