Carol Dixonphoto by Jim Corneliusixon.
Carol Dixonphoto by Jim Cornelius

Carol Dixon is a beloved teacher - a career and a calling she loves and has had every success in pursuing. She is not, however, very successful at retiring.

She did it once, from the Sisters School District, and very soon found herself as head teacher at Black Butte School. Now she's retiring from that position. Maybe this time it will stick.

"I don't think I was ever really out," she said of her 2002 retirement from Sisters School District. "I knew I wasn't ready to retire... I think I'll always be a teacher in some capacity. It's my identity. It's what I love."

Dixon always knew she wanted to teach. Education was inculcated in her and her sister from childhood, and no other career path beckoned so strongly as teaching English. Leaving it wasn't really an option, so she was ready when the late Toni Foster, the sparkplug of the one-room, multigrade Black Butte School put out the call.

"Toni Foster called me and wanted me to come out and do some writing with the kids," Dixon explained. "That started it."

She was soon immersed in the small but vibrant program, doing what she loves most, which she describes as learning while her students learn. The new and unusual environment was appealing.

"It was enjoyable having the kids year-to-year as a single group," she said, "because you become like family and you get to see them grow up."

Dixon will stick around for a bit to help with the transition to a new head teacher at BBS. Then she's going to act like a real retired person and travel to Southern Africa for an extended tour to see the African wildlife and culture that has long fascinated her.

She and her husband, Steve, will stay in Sisters.

"I enjoy this community very much," she said. "I really appreciate the emphasis on the arts. It's very important to me."

And, most assuredly, she will be engaged somehow, somewhere in doing what she loves, what she is - teaching and learning.