Goliath J. Davis, III, Ph.D.
BY GOLIATH J. DAVIS, III, PH.D., Contributor
As most of you know, I have been involved with educational issues and the Pinellas School District for 40 years or more. I have worked with school superintendents dating back to Scott Rose and more recently, Mike Grego. Working with COQEB and the NAACP, I advocate for educational equity and challenge the district to take aggressive steps to eliminate the achievement gap.
I take this opportunity to congratulate the district on a major achievement. With the exception of Lakewood Elementary, schools in the Transformation Zone all received passing grades. Director of the Transformation Zone, Nikita J. Reed, and the school leaders, teachers, students and parents are to be commended.
Additionally, the entire school communities (academic coaches, support staff, plant operators, cafeteria staff, etc.) should take a bow for their collective team efforts to ensure scholars, teachers and school leaders received the support necessary to accomplish the desired educational objectives.
Once again, Ms. Reed has demonstrated the district made a wise decision to lure her from Memphis, Tenn., to lead our turnaround initiative. Her first major accomplishment was to move what was considered the worst school in the county (Melrose Elementary) from failure to success.
Working with school leaders in the turnaround zone, she has demonstrated as evidenced by the state’s recent announcement of school grades her acumen as a turnaround leader. Ms. Reed has equipped the district with the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to hone the skills and talents of school leaders in Pinellas, and ensure we continue to move forward in the fulfillment of the court-approved goals and objectives outlined in the Bridging The Gap plan developed collaboratively by the district and COQEB.
Parents and students attending schools in the transformation zone are all too familiar with Reed, her caring persona, and no-nonsense attitude regarding scholars. Her mantra, “scholars first,” is evidenced in all of her actions and work.
I have found her to be candid, genuine and highly committed. Without question, there is still a considerable amount of work to be done, and I am so thankful she is on the team.
Congratulations Dr. Grego, board members, school leaders, coaches, school-based staff, scholars, parents, the administrative team and our turnaround facilitator, Ms. Nikita Reed.
Your biggest critic,
Goliath J. Davis, III, Ph.D.
One Reply to “Cause to celebrate”
It pains me to see a :”leader” applaud small progress. When I went to schools in central Florida that had 88% of economically disadvantaged black children reading at or above grade level and came back to Pinellas and spoke of that school – wanting to bring whatever it is that they were doing back here – the school board and superintendent were uninterested – Our Super at that time John Steward WAS the super over the Polk County Schools that had created such an even playing field for students regardless of economic situation or color. From where I’m sitting Davis is not a critic – he is applauding a huge statistic gap between white and students of color. For me THAT is systemic racism – to get everyone to think that there should indeed be a gap – after all it has been there for decades. When I had a case load of over 40 kindergarten students and got 100% of them reading, I was removed from teaching them and involuntarily transferred at the end of the year. It amazed me how stunningly resistant PCSB was in putting protocols that level the playing field – When you have leaders who don’t understand how they are being played – one can never hope to fix the problem. Please Mr. Davis – be an avocate – please don’t be a politically manipulated pawn.