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Liberty's Break Dancing AP Dresses Up, Mows Lawns

Rad Dixon does a lot of things that aren't in his job description.

It’s not his job to mow the grass.

Or to dress up as the lion from The Wizard of Oz.

Or to spread salt in the school parking lot when a wintry mix glazes roads and makes travel unsafe.

Everybody at knows as much.

Everybody except Rad Dixon, the school's break dancing assistant principal.

"I don’t mind getting out and getting involved in anyway that I can,” he said. “That’s kind of what I’m here for. To be of service.”

* * *

Dixon, 42, said he doesn't do anything extraordinary. His colleagues think otherwise.

Dixon does the landscaping around the school courtyard.

“Just something I took on myself,” he said. “You know how that is? You don’t want to ask somebody to do something you wouldn’t do yourself. Grass has to get mowed.”

When icy conditions surprised evening commuters on Dec. 15, 2010, he spread salt on the school walkway and throughout the parking lot.

“I didn’t think anybody was noticing,” he said. “Needed to be done to keep the kids and the parents coming in and out safe.”

And sometimes, as Kool & the Gang's Celebration blares through the lunchroom on the last Friday of the month, he shakes his groove thing to entertain students.

“I try to avoid that when I can," he said. "But I do do it every once in a while."

* * *

Dixon always wanted to be an educator, just like his middle school coach in Vidalia, GA.

“Didn’t consider anything else,” he said. “I love teaching and coaching and being around kids. I just like to make a difference, to see a smile on their face, to know that you're a part of them growing up and obviously having a positive impact on their lives."

The coach, Bill James, made a lasting impression on Dixon at J.R. Trippe Middle School.

“He was a great coach, a great motivator,” Dixon said. “I just really looked up to (him). He was actively involved with kids. He just encouraged me.”

After Dixon graduated from Georgia Southern University in 1990, he returned to Trippe Middle to teach. James was still there. For seven years, the protege observed the mentor and "learned how to treat people the way you want to be treated," Dixon said.

It's a lesson that he lives at Liberty, said Dr. Nicole Holmes, the school's principal.

"He's a big caregiver, real protective," she said. "If I have to be here late at night, or the other assistant principal, he's the first to say, 'You all go home. I'll stay here and close up the building.' "

* * *

Dixon doesn’t tell anybody about any of his extra chores around the school.

“He’s just been caught,” kindergarten teacher Suzy Stark said. "He does it incognito. Way after school."

“Evenings,” said head custodian Doris Wallace.

Stark has been on the receiving end of Dixon's generosity. She runs Liberty’s recycling committee as part of the school's green initiative. When Dixon saw her and two other students hauling recycled items, he approached her.

“He said, ‘I have no problem doing this. I got a truck. You don’t need to be hauling this stuff off every week,’ ” Stark said. "He hauls all of that to the recycling center every other Friday so I don’t have to do it."

Stark said Dixon just bought a trailer for the recycling team.

"It doesn’t matter what happens in this building," she said.

“He’s right there,” Wallace said.

ABOUT RAD DIXON

Born in: Vidalia, GA

Lives in: Woodstock (Bradshaw Farm)

Years with the Cherokee County School District: 14

Resume: J.R. Trippe Middle, Vidalia, 1990-97; Sixes Elementary, Canton, 1997-2009; Liberty Elementary, Canton, 2009-present.

Personal: Married to Deidre, the director of radiology at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. Father of Landon, 10, and Sutton, 7. Both attend Sixes Elementary.

April Moss March 07, 2011 at 05:25 PM
Rad was the assistant principle at my girls' school (Sixes Elementary), the 1st 4 years we were there. We know 1st hand, that he is an upstanding person inside the school and out. We were not only fortunate enough to have him be a part of our children's lives during the school day, but also outside of school! We are proud to call Rad, Deidre, Landon & Sutton personal friends! Any school is lucky to have him on their staff! Mr. Dixon is definitely dearly missed around Sixes Elementary!! ~April Moss
Rodney Thrash March 07, 2011 at 05:46 PM
April: Thanks for sharing! Mr. Dixon is a valuable asset to our community. If you know of other Cherokee County educators, support staff and parents who are worthy of this occasional honor, please e-mail me at rodney.thrash@patch.com. Or, you can simply leave another comment with all of the pertinent information.

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