Darcy Dixon - Professional Achievement Award, 2021

Darcy Dixon grew up on the University of Arizona campus, where her father was a professor in Systems and Industrial Engineering. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Home Economics in 1976, and a Master’s Degree in Home Economics in 1983. Darcy found her calling as a faculty member for over 35 years in Arizona Cooperative Extension! She was an Extension Agent in Family, Consumer and Health Sciences in Pinal County for 25 years and then in Santa Cruz County for 11 years. Recognizing her leadership skills, Darcy was appointed to several administrative positions including County Extension Director and the Associate Director of Arizona Extension for Family, Consumer, and Health Sciences.  Her primary areas of programming included community resource development, childcare provider training, parenting skills training, early care and education, including brain development, and nutrition education.

One of her proudest achievements, was founding the Santa Cruz County Family Resource Center Program, through a long-term partnership with First Things First Arizona early childhood development health board. Since its founding, the Family Resource Center has grown into an essential source of support, helping prepare children to enter Kindergarten and serving hundreds of families in the community. Her many program partnerships include school districts, childcare providers, community non-profit organizations, and state and local government agencies. Throughout her career with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Darcy successfully funded many projects through grants and contracts from external funding sources, in excess of $15,000,000. She received numerous awards from her professional associations including a national award for the Mind Matters Training Program in 2005, and the Continuing Excellence awards in 2001 and 2006. Darcy retired in 2019. As her nominators wrote, “she embodies Extension’s mission of bringing the science of the University to the families in Arizona.”

Darcy currently serves as a member of the First Things First Santa Cruz Regional Partnership Council.  She and her husband Chris are also waiting for COVID-19 to diminish so that the doors to the world open for travel and new adventures!