By Barry H. Hendrix
Jim Davis was appointed May 11 by the Thomasville City Council to a seat on the Thomasville City Board of Education. He will replace Chris Beverly, who served on the board since 2011.
Davis will begin his tenure on the board with the June 23 meeting.
“In the grand scheme of things, public schools are basically the core to our society,” he said. “They give everyone the opportunity for an equal education, and their success is imperative to the success of our community as a whole. Personally, my wife and I are both products of the public school system, and this is something we are very proud of. Through our public school education, we learned a lot more than reading, writing and arithmetic and had opportunities that we might not have had in other systems.
“Public schools also offer the opportunity to learn from others of varied backgrounds, which is more similar to life in the real world.”
Davis works as Supply Chain Leader at Georgia Pacific’s Alabama River Cellulose Mill in Perdue Hill, Ala. He believes he can bring experiences he has learned in his professional life to the school board.
“Professionally, I work in an industry where I see a need and help provide direction,” he said. “Although a school and children are very different from the business world, I feel like I can transfer skills I have in my work to my work with the school board. I strive to make good decisions, I thrive under pressure, and I’m not afraid to speak up if I see an issue.
“Most importantly, I’m approachable. I’m an ordinary guy, and I hope that people will feel comfortable coming to me with any concern they may have.”
A native of Thomasville, he graduated from Thomasville High School, as did his four brothers.
While at THS, were there teachers who inspired him? “He would probably be surprised by this, but Jack Hankins, because he challenged me to show my full potential,” Davis said. “Also, I still use skills that I learned in Mrs. (Vicki) Crowley’s cooking classes almost daily! I think all the time that she would be proud at things I’ve cooked.”
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at the University of West Alabama in Livingston.
Thomasville High School will introduce two new additional career tech pathways for the 2020-2021 school year: building construction and hospitality and tourism. Davis believes career education is “vital in today’s world.
“When I was in high school it was drilled into us that you had to have a four year college degree to be successful,” he said. “When most of us hit the real world with our four-year degrees, we were a dime-a-dozen and those that took the two-year trade paths were already making double the yearly earnings. That was 12-years-ago and this scenario still holds true in today’s workforce, and it’s important for students to know that this is an available educational option.”
Also, exposure to the arts is important for students in Thomasville City Schools (TCS). “You can read any study out there and see that the arts are extremely valuable in education,” Davis said. “There are so many skills that children develop from the arts like creativity, motor skills, problem solving...the list is endless. Also, not all students are going to be athletes (not to say that athletes can’t be involved in the arts either), and all students need an outlet to express themselves and be involved in the school setting in an area where they feel comfortable.
“Already, I can tell that my daughters are very dramatic! They don’t pass a stage without wanting to dance or an instrument without wanting to play. I think it’s important that they are in a school setting that allows them to explore these interests.”
Davis is married with two daughters. “My wife, Kelli, taught at THS for 17 years,” he said, “and she currently teaches at Coastal Alabama Community College and continues to provide dual enrollment services at THS.
“Our daughters, Ann and Meg, will be beginning school at TES (Thomasville Elementary School) soon. They are entertaining, full of energy, and are like sponges, learning something new every day. Our family interests are diverse from hunting and sports to drama and crafts.
“There is never a dull moment. We are busy and goofy! We are involved in our community and our church.”
What kind of public school environment does Davis envision for his daughters? “I hope that my children are in a school and classroom, where they feel safe and loved,” he said. “Then, I hope that they are challenged to reach their potential and also have the opportunity to explore things they are interested in. As they get older, I want them to be ready for real world scenarios. When they get out of school, will they understand how life works around them? Will they know what interest rates are and how they affect our everyday life? They need to be educated and challenged for the real world.”
“Jim Davis brings new enthusiasm and fresh ideas to our school board,” said Thomasville Mayor Sheldon Day. “He has two precious little daughters, who will start school soon. His wife Kelli is a career educator, who taught in TCS for many years before recently taking a position at Coastal Alabama Community College.
“They are both very involved in the community, their church, and Arts Council (where Kelli is secretary of their Board of Directors).
“We have had numerous citizens, former teachers, and parents stress to our city council and myself, that when Thomasville City Board of Education members terms come up for renewal, they encouraged us to seek citizens like Jim to pick up the torch and light a new and brighter path for our schools and future generations,” Day said. “Jim brings a wealth of knowledge from a new generation in our community. He is a team player and is willing to roll up his sleeves and work shoulder to shoulder with the board, the administration, and the community to make TCS the best.”
(Pictured are Jim and Kelli Davis with daughters Ann (left) and Meg.)