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Dixon aims to make class fun
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Kennette Dixon describes teaching choir at WCHS as the best job on the planet. When not at school, she’s taken an active role with Warren Arts, among her hobbies.

Kennette Dixon, choir teacher at Warren County High School, tries to interact with her students the same way her favorite teacher, Jimmy Haley, interacted with her and her classmates when she was in high school.

She tries to be personable and authentic, and she strives to make her class fun. 

That formula seems to have worked for Dixon, called Kennette by her students. She was named Teacher of the Year for Warren County Schools in 2018 as one of the most beloved teachers at the high school and she produces high-quality musical events that showcase the rich abundance of student body talent.

Growing up as an only child to musical parents (her mother played piano and sang, and her father sang as well), Dixon came to love music early. She played piano and sang throughout her years in the Warren County School System. She attended Dibrell from kindergarten through eighth grade, the junior high for ninth grade, and the high school for 10th-12th grades, graduating in the class of 1989.

Dixon continued her education at Belmont University, eventually earning a bachelor’s degree in piano pedagogy. She remained in Nashville for several years before moving back to Warren County in 2007.

Subsequently, for three school years, from 2008-09 through 2010-11, Dixon served as an itinerant music teacher in the school system, teaching music to elementary students at Dibrell, Centertown, and Morrison. Then, in 2011, Dixon got the call to come to the high school and start a choir program.

“I think I have the coolest job on the planet,” Dixon says of teaching at the high school, adding it’s fun to collaborate with students in the stress-free environment that is the choir classroom, devoid of tests, quizzes, homework, and other stress-inducing elements of the academic milieu. 

She says it is fulfilling to see students progress from uncertainty and diffidence at the outset (due to the challenging nature of a new musical piece or pieces) to, weeks or months later, confidence and a sense of accomplishment after they have mastered the music.

Each year, Dixon’s choir students put on several shows: the select choir (50-60 students) performs a Halloween-themed show in October; the entire choir (250-300 kids) does its “Sounds of the Season” holiday show in December; and for four consecutive Decembers the select choir has been chosen to sing at the “Candlelight Processional” at the Epcot Theme Park at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

The two WCHS shows are known to sell out the high school auditorium, and the Disney shows, which interweave holiday songs with reading of the Christmas story by a guest narrator (such as Chandra Wilson from “Grey’s Anatomy” or the actor Gary Sinise), are a hot ticket as well.

On top of those shows is the occasional side venture, like the choir’s singing with the band Foreigner or the choir’s “Performance Fridays” class performances blossoming into a special soon to appear on Warren County Schools TV (channel 180) in the near future.

Outside of school, Dixon is active with Warren Arts, plays piano for First Baptist Church, teaches piano to young students through the school system’s Little Kids Rock program, and likes spending time with her daughters, Allie and McKenna.

Dixon says she cries at graduation every year, knowing her senior students are moving on with their lives. She, however, finds solace in one of her favorite quotations: “We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little bit of each other everywhere.”