Columbus City Schools paying $25,000 for Talisa Dixon to get executive coaching training

Talisa Dixon attends an event in December at Columbus State Community College. She became Columbus City Schools superintendent in March 2019 and will be retiring at the end of the current academic year. She's continuing to receive professional executive coaching sessions paid for by the district even though she is no longer acting superintendent.

Talisa Dixon is continuing to receive professional executive coaching sessions, even though she is no longer the Columbus City Schools superintendent.

Columbus City Schools has a 12-month, $25,000 executive coaching agreement covering 24-sessions for Dixon with the Pace Institute, which provides training, coaching and conflict management services. The coaching sessions started in May 2022 and will be completed by April 30, according to a Columbus City school board document.

Dixon will complete all 24 sessions and had completed 13 as of Jan. 19, said Jacqueline Bryant, Columbus City Schools spokesperson.

Dixon announced on Dec. 8 she will retire at the end of the current academic year that ends June 30. She became the superintendent of the state's largest district, which has 47,000 students, in March 2019.

Angela Chapman took over as the district's interim superintendent on Jan. 1. Dixon is remaining on with the district as an "educational administrator" to support and assist with the transition of leadership for the remainder of the current school year. The board’s goal is to have a new superintendent for the 2023-24 school year.

“Dixon is still an employee of Columbus City Schools and assisting with the leadership transition,” said district spokesperson Scott Wortman. “She’ll complete the remaining sessions as outlined in the contract. The district supports various professional development options for staff, whether one-on-one coaching, workshops, online seminars or conferences. It is important for all educators to model lifelong learning and continue to add to their knowledge base.”

Dixon's evaluation from the 2021-22 school year noted that Dixon was “securing an executive coach” and was “willing to complete a 360 evaluation” that the Columbus City Schools Board of Education would like to complete by the end of this year.

District public records manager Jonathan Schirg said the coach and the 360 evaluation are "tools to provide professional development and feedback."

What are Talisa Dixon's executive coaching sessions like?

Dixon is receiving executive coaching from Angela Dash, the founder and president of the Pace Institute, who has a Ph.D. in conflict analysis and resolution.

Dash "will provide executive coaching to support the ongoing executive leadership development of the superintendent,” according to the board document. “This will be a future-focused development process that will bring forth fresh perspective, enhanced decision-making skills, greater interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence and leadership acumen.”

The Dispatch obtained a copy of Dixon’s executive contract with the Pace Institute.

The coaching sessions have three phases. The first one is vision, goal-setting and planning that occurs in the first four to six coaching sessions. Phase two is the cultivation of learning and growth, and the third phase is "debriefing the coaching engagement," which takes place during the final two sessions.

Phase one and phase three are over Zoom, and phase two may be by videoconference or phone. The first session is 90 minutes and future sessions may be scheduled from anywhere between 45 to 90 minutes.

Dash wrote in the contract that she will not disclose their coaching relationship to anyone without Dixon’s permission.

“I will also not share with the Board of Education or anyone else, anything that you discuss with me during our coaching sessions including the reports that will result from the 360 process and any assessments provided,” according to the contract. “Anything that gets shared with the Board of Education will be agreed between you and them.”

The Pace Institute was founded in 2009 and Dash has more than 20 years of leadership experience and has helped leaders from The New York Times, Pinterest, Delta Airlines, Akron Children’s Hospital and Johnson and Johnson. 


This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Columbus City Schools paying $25K for Talisa Dixon's executive coaching