Return to Headlines

A Statement from Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis on the Unifying Role of Public Education

 

Submission Date: June 9, 2020

Release Date:  For Immediate Release

Contact: J.D. Hardin, 770-957-6601 ext. 161, john.hardin@henry.k12.ga.us

(Release # 0050-6-2020)

A Statement from Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis on the Unifying Role of Public Education

A Statement from Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis on the Unifying Role of Public Education

District leader opens first in-person meeting of board with heartfelt remarks 

HENRY COUNTY, GA – The Henry County Board of Education held their regularly scheduled Study Session and Business Session meetings on Monday, June 8.  At both meetings, Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis provided reflection and heartfelt remarks on the tragic circumstances our community, state, and nation are facing.  You can find her remarks here: 

As we begin this meeting of the Board of Education, I am reflective on all that has occurred since the very moments we were last together as a team.  As a matter of fact, no matter how deeply I search, the adequate words to describe what our world, our country, our cities, and our own community has experienced over the past months has left me empty, exhausted, heartbroken, and grieving.  The convergence of a worldwide health pandemic that has claimed the lives of  22 right here in our home county, economic distress that has left 1 in 4 unemployed, and the reminder of injustices that still exist in our country have brought me to my knees. 

I am saddened and horrified by the reprehensible way in which the lives of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd ended.  I grieve for them, and their families, and I understand that I cannot fully fathom the impact of these tragic incidents on the African American community here, and across the country. 

When the six of us became a team, we set out to unify Henry County through excellence in public education.  Together, we believe in the transformative power of education and the pivotal role public education plays in the unity of a community.  When we consider our step forward to getting better for one another and for our young people, we can look to this Board of Education’s Unified Governance model that begins with shared beliefs and shared commitments to value, educate, protect, and support every child.  We can look to our own emerging strategic plan, that we developed as a community in the months leading up to March of 2020, that urges us to acknowledge and eliminate inequities and advance opportunities, access, and outcomes for every student and every student group.  And we can look to our shared ambitious pursuit.  Henry County Schools has been on an ambitious pursuit….yes, everyone knows to be the highest-performing district—but more importantly, to be known for our connectivity to kids, to families, to our community, and to one another and our belief in the capability, life-changing, history-making, world-impacting capability of every child.  

What strikes me is that the words of this ambitious pursuit have been uttered thousands of times prior to these heavy and heart-wrenching moments.  These are the words of our shared pursuit.  But as the Superintendent of Henry County Schools and as a citizen of this county, state, and nation, I have prayed for the right words in this moment, I have searched deeply in my soul.  I have wanted to be more of me and less of me all at once.   What I do know is that I adore and believe in young people.  I value and love our team of employees.  And I care about our community with my entire being.  And I resolve to do anything in my power to bring healing, hope, and courage.   

As a district, we have already pulled our leadership team together, all 300 leaders—principals and school leaders—to begin to pave the way for our own skills to prepare for and foster a safe, healthy, and inclusive environment for students and employees as we return to school campuses.  In the meantime, we are developing a resource page to be available on our website to assist families in talking together about the state of our nation, our cities, and our community.  And I am establishing a Return to School Task Force focused on safe, healthy, and inclusive learning environments for students and employees. 

As the Superintendent in Henry County Schools I look into the days, weeks, months, and even years ahead with a commitment to advance our pursuit; our shared pursuit, renew our spirit, and continue our search for unity.  This means that no matter one’s race, religion, home nation, home language, gender, or age you are valued in Henry County Schools and you have access to the transformative power of an education that we all sit here united in believing is possible.  

For more information on Henry County Schools, visit www.henry.k12.ga.us.

 ###