By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The A+ Education Partnership has hired Mark Dixon as its new president.
A native of Birmingham, Dixon currently works as a senior manager with General Electric based in Washington, D.C. Before moving to Washington, Dixon served as Education Policy Advisor to former Alabama Gov. Bob Riley.
Dixon succeeds Caroline Novak, who co-founded A+ in 1991 and built the organization to become a driver for improving student performance and a key influencer on education reform policies. A+ is home to the Alabama Best Practices Center, which helps teachers develop core competencies, and A+ College Ready, which aims to drive student performance through promoting rigorous coursework, including Advanced Placement.
The group’s efforts helped Alabama lead the nation in the number of new students taking Advanced Placement classes for six straight years.
“I have had a deep respect for A+ and its impact on Alabama students for many years,” Dixon said.
“Caroline Novak has been a tireless advocate for innovations that benefit students for nearly three decades, and I am humbled to be chosen by the board to continue the important work she and her colleagues have championed so well. The A+ team is made up of highly effective leaders in both the policy and practice areas, and I am honored to join their efforts. It is truly exciting to be given the opportunity to lead a team that I respect so much.”
Gordon Martin, A+ Board Chairman and Senior Vice President of Alabama Power, said Dixon’s combination of work in education policy and experience with a major corporation was the right mix to lead the Partnership after Novak’s retirement.
“Dixon’s passion for the mission of A+ was fully evident during his time in state government. His experience since—earning his MBA and working for over six years in the US and abroad for General Electric—has added to the value he can bring to what is already the most respected and influential driver of public education transformation across the state. The board is confident he will make a wonderful champion for the mission and will chart a successful course for expanding the impact of A+.”
Novak said Dixon was “instrumental” in education reform efforts during the Riley administration, including First Class Pre-K and bringing Teach for America to Alabama.
“Mark Dixon is uniquely prepared to lead A+,” Novak said. “He was instrumental in state efforts to develop or expand major initiatives with lasting impact, including organizing a teacher-led commission focused on improving teaching quality, leading the effort to establish A+ College Ready, and establishing Teach for America, Alabama. I am thrilled he is returning to take on a new role that will benefit from his passion and newly acquired skills and experience.”
Dixon spent the past six years at General Electric, holding both corporate and business roles. A graduate of GE’s Experienced Commercial Leadership Program, Dixon helped build a commercial consulting organization, and led teams on strategic projects for senior leaders on five continents. Most recently, Dixon led market development efforts for GE Power’s steam unit in North and South America to develop projects and drive value creation for customers.
Dixon will begin February 1 in Montgomery ahead of the Alabama Legislature’s 2019 Regular Session.