Dr. James Dickson
Corsicana, Navarro County, Texas


Biography Index


5/26/2004 Looking back on career: Dickson provided outstanding leadership and direction

Dr. James Dickson has one of many laughs at a retirement reception in his honor held at the Cook Center Tuesday. Daily Sun photo/SCOTT HONEA


Outgoing superintendent Dr. Jim Dickson left his retirement reception Tuesday with little doubt of his positive impact on the community.

Don Denbow, who will take the reins as interim superintendent Tuesday, began the ceremony with a brief overview of Dickson's career in education.

"After more than 38 years in education, including the last 12 in CISD, Dr. Dickson is retiring, or as he says, rewiring," Denbow said. "He came to Corsicana more than a decade ago, and guided the district through the initial turbulent economic times while providing outstanding leadership and direction to raise the quality of education for every Corsicana child."

He went on to say Dickson served first in Plano ISD as an assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent during the 16 years he was there, before acting as superintendent of Farmersville ISD for 10 years.

"The one recurring theme in Dr. Dickson's accomplishments is his eagerness to do anything he can to help teachers and students succeed," Denbow said. "Thus, Corsicana ISD's pledge to students, 'Learning for all whatever it takes,' will remain a symbol of his ambition and the good job he has done in the district."

Newly-elected Mayor C.L. Brown followed, setting the day aside in the soon-to-retire superintendent's honor, and Rick Larkin, director of human resources, added his own take on Dickson's influence.
"One of the most needed things in the world is leadership ... and I can tell you we're standing in the shadow of a great leader today," he said. "We know that, to be successful, you have to reach your potential, and we're standing in the shadow of a man today who has reached his potential.

"When those two things come together ... it stands for greatness."

After Larkin presented a plaque, Assistant Superintendent Lana Orsak presented a framed copy of a plaque that will occupy a permanent spot of honor at the Sam Houston Staff Development Center.

"This is a fitting tribute to a person who has considered his primary role in life as that of a teacher," she said. "Dr. Dickson has set very high standards for all of us in professional development -- he truly epitomizes the term 'lifelong learner.'"

Assistant Superintendent Chip Curington quoted the words of a well-known song describing the end of a perfect day.

"You have given us many perfect days to remember over the years," he said. "Your leadership, guidance and care will always be remembered.

In addition, he presented a set of golf clubs as a parting gift from staff members at central administration.

Bill Denson, the transportation director, presented a mounted miniature school bus, and later in the ceremony, Dickson brought the gift's aptness into perspective.

"On the first day of my job as superintendent of schools in Farmersville, Texas, one of the first responsibilities I had was to go pull a bus out of the ditch," he said, adding that he was virtually the entire administrative staff. "The biggest adjustment I had to make when I moved to Corsicana was having all this help to get things done."

He went on the praise his staff and board members, and told of his own early ambitions to enter the seminary, and a surprise call to teach and coach.

"My minister told me I could do both," Dickson said. "You can be an influence for your faith, and you can work in the school system as well.

"Hopefully, I have done that."

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Copyright March, 2009
Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox