New assistant superintendent comes to town
Sometimes an outside observer’s perspective can prove to be extremely valuable.
That’s what Dr. Barbara Davis is – but not for long.
Davis began her new job this week as the assistant superintendent for the Lake Tahoe Unified School District. After serving as principal at a 2,400 student high school in Stockton for six years, Davis says she now has “the perfect job.”
So what are her impressions of our 6,000-student school district under the pines?
This summer, Davis visited the district while staff members discussed goals and philosophies.
“I found a dynamic group of people who are completely dedicated to kids,” she said. “Not every district has site managers who are also instructional leaders. The atmosphere is very comfortable and supportive, but people take what they’re doing very seriously.”
Supporting the instructional practices of the district is the role of an assistant superintendent, said Davis, and primary goals for this year include the implementation of academic standards and a variety of assessment methods.
“This will help us to identify possible gaps in our curriculum,” said Davis. “Then we can look at teaching practices, books and other resources than can fill those gaps.”
The district is looking at the addition of more student assessment in the upper grades, with the possible introduction of a basic skills test for tenth-graders.
Davis said she intends to lend support to South Tahoe High School’s new principal Karen Ellis, as the school will undergo rigid evaluation this year in order to renew their college accreditation.
As part of the evaluation, an outside team of educators will assess the instructional value of the high school’s programs. Davis knows what to look for – several years ago she served on a similar team for a school in Roseville, Calif.
But accreditation is just one of many challenges the assistant superintendent is sure to face in the upcoming years.
“Right now I’m still learning everybody’s names – everything’s brand new,” Davis said. “But I feel fortunate to work in such a beautiful place with such enthusiastic people. I’m also lucky to have my predecessor here as a resource.”
Davis’ husband is a psychologist who specializes in business organization and development. He plans to relocate to Tahoe permanently this spring. Davis has three stepchildren, ages 15, 18 and 20.
“And we might as well get this out of the way,” she chuckled. “I’m 48 years old.”
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