Determination—becoming somebody through our creative, brilliant minds is the motto of Tajiri School of Performing Arts and Academics. After speaking with new executive director Peggy Nixon, anyone would be filled with inspiration and determination.
Nixon, born and raised in Knoxville, TN by her father and seven older siblings, knows that artistic experience is beneficial to the education of a child. As a child, Nixon took up dancing and immediately knew the arts would always be a part of her life. After receiving her Masters in Education from Nova University, Nixon went on to pursue a teaching career of almost 30 years, 21 of those years spent in Florida. But she never strayed far from her artistic background.
Now, two years after retiring from the Seminole County school system, Peggy Nixon travels 17 miles each day from Casselberry to Sanford on what she calls a "mission of love." Shortly after her first project with Tajiri (meaning "rich" in Swahili) School founder Patricia Whatley, Nixon began working with the school as artistic director. In her seven years at the school, she has also choreographed and directed many performances for Tajiri Arts.
In her life, Nixon has faced troubled times but prevailed with the encouragement from family and loved ones. She aims to bring that same sort of encouragement and support to Tajiri School.
Tajiri, a not-for-profit after school program, was designed to provide students age 3–17 confidence and motivation through the use of art. The school's motto and the school itself are meant to empower students. Nixon wants to show these students that they are beautiful and give them opportunities and hope.
"Inner beauty is important, I've always felt that way," says Nixon. "Maybe having these opportunities will inspire children." She goes on to praise her students, "They seldom think about what they don't know and focus on what they do know."
Along with being an after school program, Tajiri also offers outreach programs to schools around Seminole County. "There is tuition for the school," Nixon explains, "but we certainly don't want to close doors."
originally published in the May-June 2002 issue of Orlando Arts magazine.
Content on this site was originally written by Katharine Miller between 2000-2015. Many feature articles and interviews were published in print and on websites that no longer exist. Katharine is reproducing her written material here for portfolio and archival purposes only. Links and credits to clients and original publication will be included where possible.