By Celeste Armon, Elise Bilodeau, Tillie Davies, and Kristy Kocot
“My thought is regardless of where you’ve been, regardless of who told you that you cannot, I’m telling you that you can and I am going to ensure that you will,” said Dr. Frednardo Davis, Academy 2 Administrator and Special Education Advisor. Davis plans to improve T.C.’s graduation rates and special education program.
Davis is originally from Clarksdale, Mississippi–the Delta where Robert Johnson, legendary American blues guitarist, allegedly sold his soul to the Devil. He attended LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis, Tennessee for both undergraduate and graduate school. He then worked as a teacher and eventually rose to become an administrator in a Memphis area school, where Davis lived for 16 years before moving to the D.C. area.
“I was always telling my kids to take risks, so when I heard myself say that, I said ‘Wow, you’re telling your kids to take risks but are you taking risks?’… I decided that my time in Memphis had come and gone, and that I needed to start a new journey for myself. [So I] came here, into this area one summer and I loved it, and decided one day that I was going to move. I sold my house … and came over here to the East,” Davis said.
Davis is an accomplished educator. In 2010 and 2011, he taught in an impoverished, high crime area. The school he taught at had a high Special Education population with which he worked. “It was with these kids I was able, as a teacher, to get the highest growth scores, roughly 8.3 percent, in eighth grade ELA [English Language Arts],” he said. “These were kids who had a 0.01 percent chance of passing the state exam. It was because they knew how passionate I was about my content area. I think that was huge. I was very no nonsense about it.”
Davis wants to “connect with [his Academy students], to monitor them and track them, monitor their attendance, behavior, socioemotional and any type of support that they need.”
Davis will support students with special needs by “focusing on the different needs and supports of our students who have IEPs [Individualized Education Program] and just making sure that we are pushing ourselves to make sure that they are getting those accommodations at a high level… so that they can achieve as well. A lot of times they are those kids who are left behind … I want to make sure that we, as adults, are doing what we need to do for them.”
Davis also plans to raise graduation rates by “ensuring that our special education population… [is] getting all of the courses that they need and that they are getting the type of instruction that they need; specialized design instruction so that they will also be successful on those SOLs and in their classes which will then pour over into those graduation rates.”
Davis likes to act in his free time. “I love theater so when I saw the posters about The Tempest being put on I was very excited about that … I’ve been in a numerous amount of plays back in Memphis and I’m starting to get back into acting here in D.C.” said Davis. He also enjoys traveling. He has been to London and the Philippines.
“I’m very happy to be a part of the family… T.C. is probably one of the most famous schools in the nation … I’m very committed to this work and to making sure that the view that people have for this school is also reflected in our scores… when folks google us, that it’s not just about the movie that it’s reflected in the culture but also the academics of our school.” Davis looks forward to getting to know the students and staff of T.C.