Davis names “Champions of Change” for school district

Eric Cravey
Posted 3/15/17

FLEMING ISLAND – Since he was sworn into office last November, Clay County School Superintendent Addison has been examining the school district to determine what is working, what needs improving …

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Davis names “Champions of Change” for school district


FLEMING ISLAND – Since he was sworn into office last November, Clay County School Superintendent Addison has been examining the school district to determine what is working, what needs improving and what are the best practices that can be shared to elevate the district back into Top 10 status in Florida.

One tool he used to collect feedback on those aspects is a nationally-recognized survey that district administrators, teachers and principals recently completed. At the March 2 Clay County School Board meeting, Davis presented highlights of the Insight Survey.

According to results of the survey, 10 schools in the district scored in the top 25 percent of schools across the nation. For achieving such a high ranking, Davis recognized those school’s principals as “Champtons of Change” for the 2016-17 school year.

He said the first aspect of being a great principal surrounds the role of instructional leadership, while another is being an operational expert. The survey also looked at How do we recruit and retain our teachers? How do we make sure they feel safe? How do we make sure they feel incentivized? How do we get them engaged into every facet of our school system?

“The Insight Survey allows us to look at strong cultures and that’s really what we want to do. We want to figure out what’s working and what’s not and what we can do differently,” Davis said.

Davis said the top schools in the district are not necessarily the ones perceived as the most affluent in the community.

“We have schools that thrive regardless of challenges they face every day, regardless of the socio-economic makeup, regardless of the disabilities they serve, regardless of the makeup of their community. This is all about leadership and connectivity and being involved in our teachers and the thinking process to support that every single day,” Davis said.

Davis and his cabinet are in the process of taking the survey results along with input he has received from the seven recently “Listen and Learn” events, as well as “Dialogues with Davis” – discussions and district administrator – and merging that information to develop a new strategic plan to improve the Clay County School District. One thing is certain, there is a lot of excellent teaching and learning already going on that simply needs to be shared among the district’s schools.

“We’ve got to figure out what these top quartile schools are doing so well and take their best practices and strategies and implement them into our bottom quartile and we’ve got to stop working in isolation. We have to branch out and go to each other’s schools and have conversations. We have model classroom teachers across this entire district. We should be highlighting them around [the district].”

The 2017 Champions of Change are Wilkinson Elementary Principal Heather Teto, Keystone Heights Elementary Principal Melanie Sanders, Shadowlawn Elementary Principal Nancy Crowder, Clay High Principal Cary Dicks, McRae Elementary Marcus Dooley, Coppergate Elementary Principal Amy Dyal, Bannerman Learning Center Principal Mike Elia, Green Cove Springs Junior High Principal Jen Halter, W.E. Cherry Elementary Principal Angie Whiddon and Robert M. Paterson Elementary Principal John O’Brian.

In the survey, each of these 10 schools scored higher than the national average of 7.8 on the Insight Survey. Bannerman and Shadowlawn both scored a 9.6, McRae scored a 9.4, W.E. Cherry scored 9.3, Green Cove Springs Junior High scored 9.1, Paterson scored 9, Coppergate and Clay High both scored 8.7, and Wilkinson Elementary and Keystone Heights Elementary both scored 8.6.


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