GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Former superintendent Charlie Van Zant Jr. recently announced his 2020 bid as the first, and only person, to challenge current superintendent Addison Davis in next year’s …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Former superintendent Charlie Van Zant Jr. recently announced his 2020 bid as the first, and only person, to challenge current superintendent Addison Davis in next year’s election, but Davis said this competition will only push him to continue to elevate the school experience for students.
Davis won the 2017 election with 57% of the vote during the Republican Primary. Van Zant got 43%. Davis hopes to replicate those results in next year’s election so that he can continue to push the Clay County School District closer to number one in the state.
“I am committed to this work, have a proven track record for moving our school district forward and believe that Clay County district schools can truly become the gold standard in the state of Florida that even rivals St. Johns County (the current number one district in the state),” Davis said.
Under Davis’ leadership, the district has risen from 20th to eighth in state rankings, expanded the choice and accelerated options in schools, established the district’s first police department to place school resource officers in every school in accordance with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act and more.
“Over the last three years under my leadership, we have made monumental growth in the area of student performance, climate and culture, safety and security, school choice programs, graduation rate, career and technical education, equity of curriculum offerings, school-based supports, accessibility to technology and fiscal responsibility,” Davis said. “I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished as a school district as we have built a blueprint for helping students reach their potential.”
Davis said that the accomplishments of his tenure come from his leadership and the best instructional and professional support staff members in the nation.
If Davis secures a victory over Van Zant, or any other candidate, he hopes to expand apprenticeships, internships and externships in the district, find proactive strategies to address the $280 million in maintenance needed within district schools and provide teaching staff with everything they need to so that all can be recognized as “highly effective.”
During his first month as superintendent, Davis said he learned that the district had 42 independent contractors, which he said translates to schools functioning in an isolated manner with limited support from district leadership.
“This meant that not every school received the same curriculum, instructional expectations, instructional support, staffing plans or fiscal resources needed to improve teaching and learning,” Davis said.
This was one of the first things he addressed, he said, citing a lack of unity and cohesiveness within education in Clay County to advance the district.
Davis said a second term will allow him to continue the district’s move toward best in the state. It would also give him more time to strengthen the infrastructure of district schools ranging from security to Wi-Fi access to playground equipment to athletic fields.
Davis said the district needs a leader who has a vision and ability to energize the community and someone with a proper work ethic and sense of professionalism to create the best educational environment for students. He also said it needs someone who genuinely cares about improving the intellectual well-being of all learners.
“Openly, I am the only candidate that possesses these characteristics and I look forward to the opportunity to lead this great school district (once more),” Davis said.
“Regardless of who decides to join the superintendent race in 2020, my hope is that our community will once again elect a proven educator that will provide opportunities to our students to discover endless possibilities. I stand prepared to lead this organization toward becoming the number one school district in the state of Florida.”
Davis was born and reared in Northeast Florida and obtained a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Jacksonville University. He served as the Chief of Schools for the Duval County Public School system, which is the nation’s 20th largest school district. He worked for Duval County schools for 18 years where he began as a teacher before moving to the role of assistant principal, Executive Director of turnaround, Middle School Cluster Chief and Region Superintendent. He has lived in Clay County for 14 years with his wife, Natalie, and their two daughters, Madisyn and Kaitlyn. They reside in the Oakleaf Plantation area.