Just four weeks into his new position as superintendent of the country’s seventh largest school district, with 280 schools, more than 220,000 students and more than 24,000 staff members, and Addison Davis is loving every minute.
He had two weeks before the COVID-19 restrictions forced the closing of schools through at least Friday, May 1, and he didn’t waste a minute.
“Before the virus hit, I had cleared my schedule from 7:30-12 Noon every day to get into the schools and meet teachers and students,” said Davis, who says that even in that short period of time, he learned that the Hillsborough County staff is filled with high-quality, skilled teachers that deserve their district’s support.
“We need to mainstream our curriculum,” he explained. “We have a lot of independent contractors and we need a centralized curriculum and support for teachers and a method to allow us to determine our overall return on investment.”
It’s this straight-to-the point and matter-of-fact effort that made Davis a very popular administrator in Duval County, where he had been a teacher and principal before becoming Chief of Schools. In 2016, he was elected to the Clay County superintendent position and was nominated for national awards.
“I think that everyone wants to work in concert on behalf of the children and we have to work alongside every stakeholder in the district to achieve the same goal,” Davis said.
In Duval, the 20th largest school district, Davis had 170 schools to oversee.
“I understand the needs of a large district and the rich diversity and focus that needs to be put in place for the system to work, which is why I’m excited to join the Hillsborough County School district,” said Davis.
The Davis family will make Hillsborough County home starting this summer and includes his wife, Natalie, who works in the insurance business, and two daughters, including one who will be a high school freshman in the fall and plays travel volleyball and a daughter who is a freshman softball player at the University of Central Florida.
The Davis family is athletic and Davis and his wife run four miles per day and make time for the gym and yoga.
“There are a lot of points of pride in athletics and we absolutely understand the work/life balance needed to have the energy to keep up with this job,” said Davis.
Davis is not all business, and though he typically doesn’t slow down enough for a sit-down lunch, he absolutely has a sweet tooth. “People are sometimes surprised that I like sweets. Give me some jelly beans or Sour Patch Kids, but my dentist certainly doesn’t recommend them for my teeth.”
Davis, the third of five siblings, grew up on the west side of Jacksonville. He played football and baseball at Robert E. Lee Senior High School and then graduated from Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in exercise science and physical education and from Jacksonville University in Jacksonville with a master’s degree in educational leadership.
For more information or to reach Davis, visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.us.