Meredith Davis was drawn to Memphis because she sees the city’s education reform journey as parallel to that of Washington D.C., her home for the past several years. Principal Davis is uniquely qualified to make that comparison — before assuming her current role as Principal of Hillcrest High School in June 2016, she held a number of positions within the D.C. Public Schools system: teacher, Special Education Coordinator, Dean of Students, Academic Coordinator and Assistant Principal. Prior to D.C.P.S., she served as Library & Media Center Director at Willowbrook High School, just outside Chicago, and began her career in South Carolina, where she taught for many years.
Leader, facilitator, and teacher, Principal Davis brings to Hillcrest High School a richness of perspective crafted over the course of 15 years spent dedicated to public education.
Given an opportunity to discuss her plans for the new school year at Hillcrest, Principal Davis points to developing trust with her students as her primary concern.
“We encourage students to become engaged learners by building relationships and treating them with respect,” she says, adding thoughtfully, ”It’s a reciprocal situation, and that respect comes back to us.”
One way Principal Davis seeks to create trust is by being there for her students, literally. “I greet students every day with a high-five, shaking their hands, wishing them a good morning,” she says, smiling, “I also try to do anywhere from 5 to 6 classroom observations a day, just so they can see my face.”
Before even setting foot in her new school, Principal Davis was already connecting with students over the summer, using Skype to introduce herself to incoming seniors. Once in Memphis, she and other Hillcrest High School staff organized “Meet & Greet” events aimed at building relationships with parents and community members.
The public part of Green Dot Public Schools is what motivates Principal Meredith Davis and informs her approach to leadership: “We work with every single student that walks through our doors — we don’t turn children away.
Regardless of where they live or what their zip code is, children deserve a high quality educational choice in their neighborhood.”