Vienna High School superintendent Joshua W. Stafford presents the Illinois State Board of Education’s 2021 Award of Meritorious Service for Educational Service Personnel to Charlotte Dixon.

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Vienna High School are proud to announce that Charlotte Dixon has been awarded the Illinois State Board of Education’s 2021 Award of Meritorious Service for Educational Service Personnel.

“Mrs. Dixon’s service to the school and community is unmatched,” said school superintendent Joshua W. Stafford. “She goes above and beyond in every way to meet the needs of students, staff, community and everything else in between. If you have been to the high school building in recent years, she has either made an excellent meal for you or has helped you in some way. On behalf of all stakeholders in our communities, we are proud of Mrs. Dixon and all of her accomplishments and happy that she is a part of our team. Charlotte Dixon is truly one of the reasons that we have a great school!”

Dixon serves as the district food service director and has served in various positions in the school system over the last 20 years.

“Mrs. Dixon is selfless, hardworking and never gives up, even on the hardest tasks,” said high school principal John Giffin. “She has multiple responsibilities throughout the school year and throughout the summer. Most would agree she is one of the hardest working staff members at the high school. She is an exemplary role model for students and teachers.”

The Award of Meritorious Service from ISBE is similar to the ISBE Teacher of the Year Award, but instead recognizes those on school staffs who serve in non-teaching roles. The award recognizes “exceptional educators who make a difference in Illinois students’ lives and contribute positively to the culture of the school district in which they serve.”

“Charlotte goes above and beyond for our special needs students and even has student workers from the Life Skills class who come in and help her in the kitchen as she prepares the meals each day,” said Life Skills teacher Michelle Hunsaker. “This gives those students skills they can go out and use in society when it is time for them to leave school. We have already had one young man graduate, and he is now working at the local grocery store stocking shelves, a skill he learned from Mrs. Dixon. She has patience and kindness as she instructs them, and they respect her and enjoy working in the kitchen each day. Charlotte has a special place in her heart for these special needs students and helps teach them life skills, cooking skills and, most of all, is a great friend to them all. She takes time out of her day to visit with them and guide them in the skills they will need to live independently.”

Traditionally, those receiving the Those Who Excel Award recognition would be honored at a dinner event in Springfield hosted by ISBE; but due to current restrictions, the ISBE recognition will be hosted virtually.

Locally, Vienna High School will host a lunch to celebrate Dixon’s recognition at 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 21. Community members are welcome to attend and congratulate Dixon on this achievement. RSVP to Rosa Sparks at 618-658-4461, ext. 215, or

“Mrs. Dixon has great drive, passion and an obvious love for the school, students, staff and community,” said Sparks, the school librarian and guidance office support. “She touches the lives of many here at Vienna High School. She is involved in numerous events and activities that go on at the high school, and has the respect and admiration of all who work with her. Her service to our school does not stop in the kitchen, but extends out to many other areas.”

Beta Club sponsor Leslie Bradley provided an example.

“Mrs. Dixon is a huge asset to the Vienna Beta Club. She assists with countless projects throughout the year. I have to limit the number who can sign up because it’s always such a joy for them to spend time helping her,” Bradley said. “I can’t count the number of times during the year that I turn to her for advice on our set designs for Beta, meal ideas, scheduling of events and so much more. She is a beloved part of every day at the high school, and she is a dedicated member of our Beta Club team.”

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