When it came to teaching, Warren-Prescott Principal Michele Davis seemed to be naturally attracted to the profession.
In fact, most in her family figured she would be a teacher since she was a little girl, she said this week – reflecting on her 29-year career in Boston Public Schools (BPS) during the week in which she was to be honored at City Hall by Councilor Lydia Edwards for Black History Month.
“I would say from a young age – probably age 5 or 6 – I wanted to become a teacher,” she said. “I loved helping the other students in class. I could recognize the teachers really invested in student growth. I knew I wanted to be one of the teachers who made students feel welcomed and who could make learning be done in a very fun way. So, it wasn’t surprising when I chose my profession and that choice was to be an educator.”
And as they say, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree, as Davis’s father spent his entire career as an educator in BPS as well.
This week, Councilor Edwards chose to highlight the work of Davis for the Council’s annual celebration of black women during Black History Month. Edwards and several of her colleagues honored Davis and other trailblazers throughout the city on Weds., Feb. 27 (yesterday), in City Hall. It was a moment to recognize the great work that has been done by black women such as Davis to build and inspire the City through significant commitments.
“As we celebrate the achievements of black women and push for equity in Boston Public Schools, I’m pleased to honor Principal Michele Davis,” said Edwards. “Her decades of service with BPS and leadership of the Warren-Prescott School provide an exemplary model for students and staff in our educational system and for community members across the city.”
Davis said she grew up in neighboring Medford, and while her father was a BPS educator, she Matignon High. After that, she traveled to attend the Jesuit-based Saint Louis University, later returning to Boston to teach and achieve a Master’s Degree at UMass-Boston.
Davis first walked into the Warren Prescott as a rookie teacher, and taught second grade there for 17 years. In fact, now she is seeing the children of some of her first students – a sign of the tight-knit community that exists in the Town.
However, after many years there, former Principal Amara encouraged her to participate in the Boston Principal Fellowship program. She was one of 12 educators chosen and did an internship at Southie’s Condon School. Later, she became an assistant principal there and then at the P.J. Kennedy School.
When Amara left the W-P for a promotion, Davis had a clear path to return to Charlestown, which she did in 2010.
She said it has been a blessing to work with great students, teachers, staffers, community partners (like RSM) and parents over the past nine years.
Rarely can she go to Whole Foods or Dunkin’ (Donuts) without running into a student, parent or former student.
In the school, she said she has moved towards really helping to mentor teachers and emerging administrators.
However, she said it is certainly a reality check to think of the 29 years she has spent educating Charlestown children, noting that she wasn’t even 29 when she first went through the doors of the W-P.
“I’m so honored Lydia Edwards is recognizing me as a black woman who has made contributions to the City of Boston,” she said. “For me, first and foremost, there are many educators that do what I do in education and I feel I’m only one of many, many people who have dedicated their lives to BPS…It is rewarding, but we all do it for the students.”