LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Derrick Dixon

Position: Third Grade Additional Adult Assistant
School: Bedford Elementary School
School District: Baltimore County Public Schools
City, State: Baltimore, MD

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Music that Describes Derrick

Derrick Dixon was nominated by his principal, Christina Connelly.

"There is no one I can think of who exemplifies the title of LifeChanger of the Year more than Mr. Derrick Durrell Dixon," said Connelly. "To be around Mr. Dixon is to experience joy and peace. He moves through this world looking to support everyone around him while bringing a smile or laugh to their day."

Mr. Dixon was hired two years ago as an additional adult assistant at Bedford, which means he supports one or more special needs students to help them meet with success. Being an assistant is often a thankless job, as the pay has not historically been great, and the students' needs are often significant. 

To say Mr. Dixon has been instrumental in changing the trajectory of the students he supports is an understatement. His students present significant behavioral challenges, but Mr. Dixon is never flustered. He meets them with love, compassion, and understanding, regardless of their outside behavior. Mr. Dixon is always able to separate the child from the behavior. He has worked diligently to get to know his students outside of school. Mr. Dixon even signed his own son up to play on the football team with one of his students so they could build a relationship. By developing solid and supportive relationships with his students, he has helped them meet with more behavioral and academic success. 

Aside from his work with his Bedford students, Mr. Dixon is known and loved throughout the building for how fully vested he is in his school's culture and success. He stays for extra events at the school and goes above and beyond for every spirit day. Last year, Mr. Dixon volunteered to help coach and choreograph the dance team.

"Although I think Mr. Dixon deserves this award solely based on his work at Bedford, it is his work and life philosophy outside of school that just takes it to a new level," said Connelly. "I have known him for years as a Bedford Elementary Dad, and his parenting and zest for life have always impressed me. Only when I asked him recently to tell me a bit more about himself did I fully realize the extent of his commitment to changing lives." 

Mr. Dixon is the founder and CEO of a nonprofit, the 3D Foundation, which works to improve the lives of children with unique learning styles in the inner city through creative and innovative approaches. Mr. Dixon is a proud father of three sons, whom he adopted as a single father. Mr. Dixon is a model, playwright, director, producer, actor, singer, author, and host of the talk show "Talking with 3D" on Plushwork TV. He is also the founder of 3DDD Productions, 3D Gear, K.J.C Enterprise, and Helping Brothers out, a radio podcast show.

In 2006, Mr. Dixon adopted Kortez, and his life changed for the better. As Kortez began to mature, Mr. Dixon witnessed firsthand some of the challenges he experienced daily as a child with Autism. Faced with the desire to be more hands-on with Kortez, he decided to retire from the airline industry after 28 years. In 2014, Mr. Dixon released the book "Don't Call Me Different, I Just Do It Differently," which is based on his experience. The book offers a window into the mind of a functioning Autistic child and is good for children as well as adults interested in learning about autism and seizure disorders.

Mr. Dixon combined his passion for Autism awareness and his love of fashion to create "Stomp the Runway for Autism," a charity fashion show to support children with unique learning styles in the Baltimore City and Baltimore County Public School Systems. This endeavor led to the emergence of the 3D Foundation, which helps not only the students, but parents and families through an educational workshop, "The Superhero Within." The 3D Foundation has donated to students in the FALS (Functional Academic Learning Support) program within BCPS with different supplies to help with lifestyle skills. They have also provided Christmas Gifts and back-to-school giveaways. Mr. Dixon has also become an advocate, host, and guest speaker for other events in Atlanta, Georgia and Houston, Texas. After adopting Jayden and Caleb, his family was complete. Mr. Dixon has been a tireless advocate for all three of his boys and is always looking to help them be their best selves.

"Mr. Dixon has been a LifeChanger for the three boys he now calls his own, the two boys he supports daily here at Bedford, and the Neurodivergent community at large. He helps students and families alike with his work," said Connelly.

Comments (64)

Silvia Rodriguez Posted 10 months ago


Darlene Flagg Posted 10 months ago

Congratulations on being named the National Life Grand Prize LifeChanger of the Year Winner. We are excited to have you join the ranks of the many other educators who dedicate their lives to their students and the community. Derrick, you are a life changer.

Becky Wagner Posted 10 months ago

Congratulations, as the grandmother of a child who tests high on the autism spectrum, I thank you for your book. I can't count the number of times we have to tell coaches and others "he's got it, just gonna take him a second"...Bravo



Sharon Alford Posted 11 months ago

Derrick is a very wonderful person. He exudes excellence and positivity at all times. His outgoing personality demands respect. The children that have met him are truly blessed.

Andrea Flynn Posted 11 months ago

What an amazing person, educator, and life-changer! Thank you, Mr. Dixon, for all you do for all kids, especially those who have special needs! The world needs people like you, and your story will inspire the next generation of life-changers so that you will ultimately change lives for generations! Congratulations on a very well-deserved award!! Andrea Flynn, French teacher at Portage High School in Portage, IN

Crystal Goodman Posted 11 months ago

Derrick you are a great example to your sons and others. The goals you set for yourself you always conquer with the help of The Lord. Continue being the person you are; A Life Changer.

Joyce Morris Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Dixon is definitely deserving of this Life Changer Award! He is simply a joy to be around and will always put a smile on your face and make you laugh, whether you're up or down! That alone can be someone's life changing moment! He genuinely cares about the children he works with and goes above and beyond to build relationships! He is always willing to lend a helping hand; never looking to receive anything in return. I feel blessed to consider him my friend and I can't think of anyone more deserving of this award!

Lynaia Jordan Posted over a year ago

Derrick is a very giving person. He steps in when someone is needed to without asking for anything in return.. Genuinely and whole heartedly. He is helping change my life. I thank him.

Barry Page Posted over a year ago

Oh boy, where to start? Derrick is a one-of-a-kind individual. He is an energetic, talented, creative, very caring, adventurous and dedicated person. He is genuinely interested in everyone he meets. He is always willing to help and encourage people with their projects and offer advice to help people achieve their goals. On top of this he is also a wonderful, dedicated father to three very special boys. I am very privileged to call him friend.

Eileen Privett Posted over a year ago

Mr Dixon totally deserves this award! His light, compassion and generosity is unmatched! Congratulations Mr Dixon!

Pastor Troy Jones Posted over a year ago

I met Derrick in 2022. I must say that from the start, he was extremely transparent and inspirational. His insight and vulnerability is something most people desire various you take the path to achieve it. His desire to assist others is admirable. I am extremely grateful to have met him.

Kimberly Thomas Posted over a year ago

Mr. Dixon is truly a God sent from heaven. With all that Mr. Dixon does, you would think there are 72 hours in a day, not 24. He puts 110% in everything that he does. In a few words, this is Derrick. Committed, dedicated, dependable, delightful, unique, caring, gifted, giving, loving, talented, trustworthy, honorable, funny, devoted father and friend. Life Changer, we'll take it but he's so much more.. Everyone he comes in contact with, he makes them feel special. Congrats Derrick, I am very of you and like I told you before the sky is the limit !! I see you BIG things in your future...

Dan Posted over a year ago

Mr. Dixon is a one of a kind person. Truly selfless, compassionate and courageous. His work with children of all walks of life is astronomical. True change starts with the kids as they are our future. Life changer seems so small when Derrick is helping change the future!

Eric Smalls Posted over a year ago

D is a great guy. A true man of God with a heart of gold. I met D over 10 years ago and have always noticed his love for mankind and his spirit of giving more then he receives. He is a true deserver of this award. Congratulations D!

Dr Eric Holmes Posted over a year ago

I am super proud of you Mr. D you make a difference in the lives of all those who come in contact with you. This is just who you are and you are a treasured blessing. Keep making a difference and impact. Dr. E

Keith C Posted over a year ago

The courage and wisdom displayed by Derrick is in a class of his own. A constant reminder to raise the bar and believe it's possible.

Kristin Posted over a year ago

I am very proud of you, Derrick! You are a light for many and an excellent example.of perseverance. You absolutely deserve this award!

Angela Keaser Posted over a year ago

Derrick is super talented as a writer, director and host and overall entertainer. I met him in this field. The beautiful and heartwarming thing is that he is equally compassionate as a solo dad of children with special needs to include the medical challenges that come.with that. This spills over to the school system, his church and the gneral population. One encounter with him and you are forever changed in a positive way.

Denise Gaskins Posted over a year ago

Congratulations !!!!!!!

Sharon Wicks Posted over a year ago

No matter the problem or situation you can count on Derrick Dixon. Derrick will also continue to check on you to make sure you're ok.

Lynda Posted over a year ago

I Thank God for Bro. Derrick Dixon, he's such a beautiful instrument for God's Glory. He's never too business to give a helping hand to others in his community. Very creative, great Father, writer and director. So many people have learned to deal with their own lives, because of his dedication. Bless you Derrick may to be bless with all your endeavors.

Brian Nishimoto Posted over a year ago

Derrick is a incredible human being ! An amazing Father! Serves the community with all of his heart! Perfect example of a life changer!! I Love Derrick !

Shirley Morton Posted over a year ago

Mr. Dixon is a dedicated co-worker that enjoys working with children. He shows great patience with every student.

Terrell Lucas Posted over a year ago

Mr Dixon is an amazing individual! I appreciate how he goes above and beyond for everyone! He is delightful to be around and He truly is a LIFECHANGER!! Congratulations!!

Annie Dean Posted over a year ago

Not only the most fashionable person I have ever met but NICEST! Mr Dixon always puts the kids first! Hands down the best of the best!!!

Cynthia Williams Posted over a year ago

Derrick! Thank you for being lead to be a unique, fun, and outstanding leader! You have touched more lives than what you will ever know. Coming from a strong family to becoming a strong father, you exemplify what it means to “be“. Becoming anything you put your mind to in order to enrich the lives of so many surrounding you. Continue to be victorius! The victory has been spoken over you! Being the life changer that you are, it is an honor to be have a front row seat at your stage performance, called life! Love you!

Eva Queen Posted over a year ago

Mr. Dixon definitely deserves this recognition! I've had the absolute pleasure of working with him as he diligently serves on our African American family advisory board. Mr. Dixon's commitment to advocating for and improving the lives of African American autistic children is unwavering. He is a devoted father, mentor and the world is just a better place because of Mr. Dixon's presence. I wish him all the best! Warmly, Eva Queen EDI Outreach Coordinator Kennedy Krieger Institure

Ganita Posted over a year ago

There is absolutely no one I could think of more worthy than Mr. Derrick Dixon. He is an outstanding human being with a great personality, a great sense of humor and always kind to others. I am overwhelmed with joy just knowing that you, Mr. Dixon was chosen. A life changer indeed!

Kendra Nicole Posted over a year ago

Hello Derrick, I just want say thank you for all that you are doing for children with autism. My 3 year old has been diagnosed with autism and it has been a life changing journey for myself and my little Prince. Whatever I can do to support I’m there!! Thank you!!

Louis Dixon Posted over a year ago

Derrick Dixon, what can I say. Derrick is my brother, and I extremely proud of him. When you think about a LifeChanger, he truly embodies what it means to be a LifeChanger. It begin with him changing his own life and walking in the God given gifts and talents. He has the ability to impact peoples lives practicality and through encouragement. This is evident by his passion for building awareness and community about Autism as well as raising a young man with Autism for the last 14 years. He also has taken on the role as a father and adopted two additional boys. His love is deep and very transparent. Yes, he has changed the lives of these three boys more than they will over imagine, and he is a role model to others. This also bleeds into the impact he has at Bedford Elementary. There is no doubt in my mind that he loves those children as if they were his own. Derrick D. Dixon is very rewarding of this acknowledgement and a great example of a LifeChanger.

Fred Mitchell Posted over a year ago

Derrick is an outstanding Father and friend. He always goes the extra mile for those in need doing what ever he can to assist people. I’m surprised he hasn’t been nominated before now. He definitely deserves the honor.

Shawnie Posted over a year ago

An amazing father, activist, dresser, role model, and friend to many. No one is more deserving than you…….. Congratulating you in advance

Elwood Ingram Posted over a year ago

What can I really say. Derrick is just that a brother that I have never had. I came in counter with Bro. Derrick about 10 urea’s ago at a acting event and from that point on we became family. He has and is still helping me in so many ways. He has help me really bring out my acting talent and not staying within a box. We also came together on broader capacity with a podcast he also created. Helping Brothers Out on YouTube and Instagram and Facebook where we are tackling subjects from a man’s point of view. Brother Derrick is well respected and needed for our community. He is also a advocate for Autism and puts on a GRAND FASHION SHOW ALL OVER from Baltimore to Atlanta all the way back to his home town Denver Colorado. He always makes sure no voice is unheard. He sees life in such a positive aspect and is always willing to leans a helping hand. AND THAT IS BROTHER DERRICK EACH AMD EVERY SINGLE DAY ????????????

Siarra Posted over a year ago

Wow Derrick this is well deserved! #LCOY

Sharrie Posted over a year ago

May god continue to bless you ;) this was a great read :)

LaRay Posted over a year ago

This is an awesome write up! Derrick congratulations on the nomination. I have seen you over the years via Facebook showing your love and care for your sons and the various projects you have brought to life that year towards this very write up. It’s is such a blessing to see people such as yourself pouring back into special need children’s lives as you do. My mother was a special education teacher of both adults students in high school and early childhood students. And I saw the love and dedication that she poured into her students. Just as I see you do with your sons. It takes a special kind of person to open up their hearts to take on some of the challenges that comes with but it is so rewarding because the child/children gain more love, guidance and growth because of people like you! You deserve this nomination and the award that follows!

Nem Meabara Posted over a year ago

Wow this is very inspirational. Thank you for sharing and giving back. Congratulations on this!

Nina Partygirl Posted over a year ago

He’s a great guy filled with compassion

Amanda Schmidt Posted over a year ago

Mr. Dixon is a wonderful role model for our students at Bedford Elementary. He strives to encourage the students in his care each and every day. As a past teacher of one of Mr. Dixon's children, he had always been a constant supporter and advocate for his child's education. There was consistent communication and positive reinforcement. Mr. Dixon also works hard to be apart of his community, always sharing what he is currently up to with his ventures. I was invited to countless productions and books to read. Mr. Dixon is a true and honest person who whole-heartedly deserves this award.

Carolyn Phillips Posted over a year ago

You got this

Tae Posted over a year ago

Excellence and grace! #LCOY

Bob Heuisler Jr Posted over a year ago

The very first time that I met Derek and spoke with him I knew he was a special person. After reading his profile I realize exactly how amazing he is. Derek is a life changer. He brightens every room. His selfless compassion and generosity are only surpassed by his vision for greatness ??

Adrianne Brockington Posted over a year ago

If anyone is more deserving its Derrick Dixon .He believes in you more than you believe in yourself!!??He has changed my life more than he would ever know!!thks for always keeping the positive vibes flowing..encouraging so many ..spreading LOVE?and just being the Greattttest You that God created????

Octavia Puryear Posted over a year ago

There aren't enough words to express the kind of person Derrick Dixon is. To know him is to love him. He has always been an example of excellence and I love his sense of humor. He's an excellent father to his boys! Not only that, he's an excellent role model in the community. I admire him as a parent and a friend! If anyone deserves to win this award he is. He truly is a great person for all he does to make a difference not only in his family and the community, but in the world! Thank you!

Amie Posted over a year ago

No one deserves this more than Derrick!’

Jovonne Crawford Posted over a year ago

You are most deserving of this nomination. Thank you for all you do in your community to raise awareness for autism.

Olivia Flowers Posted over a year ago

Congratulations to you on your nomination, it’s so well deserved and befitting for such an amazing man! Many more blessings shall be bestowed upon you and your family!

Awsim Posted over a year ago

Derrick is a genuine human being with the heart of a giant. He goes above and beyond for everybody he knows! I really hope he wins the Life Changer of The Year Award because he is someone who deserves this title, every year. Good Luck Bro!

Dr. Brenda J. Thiam Posted over a year ago

Congratulations to my friend Derrick!! What a wonderful acknowledgement to be recognized for the work you do. Derrick has such a big heart and loves others boldly! May God continue to bless and keep you! Congratulations again.

Crystal Wortham-Goodman Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Friend, Derrick I am not surprised that you were nominated for LifeChanger of the Year Award. You are one of the best in doing what you do. You have Changed many people lives with what you do. One thing for sure you have changed Kortez, Jayden and Caleb lives. They are wonderful people because of you. Also you changed others lives by your many antics. You are helping people live longer because you bring much laughter to us on a daily basis. Derrick keep on doing what you are doing. Keep letting God use you. AND THE NOMINATION GOES TO DERRICK DURRELL DIXON!!!

Stephanie Posted over a year ago

Derrick thank you for all that you do for others. You are a blessing to everyone you meet

DEANNA CHERRY Posted over a year ago

I Met Derrick several months ago, Derrick Is one of the Most Kindess, Humble , Pleasant Man that I know. It' is Such an Honor To be Apart of his Presence. A man of God, he absolutely love the Children.. I believe that Derrick Is your Lifechargerof the year..

Adrian T Posted over a year ago

Congratulations on your nomination to such a well-deserving community activist, especially to the Autistic community. You’re also an under-cover comedian who always keeps us laughing. The sky is the limit.

Walter Parker Posted over a year ago

He deserves the award!

Dana Posted over a year ago

I cannot think of a better nominee. Great inspiration to all and an awesome example of a “family man” . Well deserved recognition !!

Keysha Horman Posted over a year ago

Mr. Dixon has been an inspiration in our community. During this year, Mr. Dixon has given back to the Baltimore City Community by way of back to school supplies, winter coats drive for the youth, and hosted a huge event for Christmas. We need more people like him in our city. #lcoy

DeVora Manigault lee Posted over a year ago

To my Brother Derrick Dixon, I have know me about 8 years joining HDCC our Pastor Bishop E. McDonald Wortham. I truly admire and adore Derrick as a Loving Father which love three beautiful sons ?? a true friend indeed ?? if you need someone in your life that would speak life into you ?? just ask Derrick ??

Neshell Posted over a year ago

So proud to see Derrick nominated! Much deserved and truly a blessed and loving individual.

Dr. E. McDonald Wortham Posted over a year ago

Derrick is indeed one of a kind. He is in fact a mover and shaker who always makes an impact wherever he is. Derrick has passion for helping to change the lives of people. He’s so unselfish and always seeks the best for others. I’m glad to call him son.

Nireka Johnson Posted over a year ago

There is no one more deserving of this award. Mr. Dixon, keep up the AMAZING job you do inside and outside of Bedford! We love you!!!

BJ Montgomery Posted over a year ago

You deserve it

Tonya Harris Posted over a year ago

This box is not big enough to hold or contain Mr. Dixon’s love for his sons, his passion and dreams, his vision for the art, his love and hard work for his community. When you meet Mr. Dixon you will understand why you have a purpose, he believes that out of you. He has and is a great system to me and those he comes in contact with. I would choose Mr. Dixon each year and each month for this award. I pray that you have an opportunity to someday meet Mr. Dixon in the matter that I have.

Christina Connolly Posted over a year ago

So we’ll deserved!!! We love you at BES!!