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Alvin Aureliano Davis

Teacher of the Year 2012 - Florida

1

Education is so much more than the four walls of a classroom, and at the same time, those four walls are everything.

Politicians, governments, Secretaries of Education, Commissioners of Education, District and Area Superintendents, and Principals are all charged with managing budgets, curriculum, facilities, and a countless number of other education and school related business. As education advocates, teachers and parents should be involved in every aforementioned aspect of education. However, real change and reform comes from the relationship between a teacher and their students within the confines of a classroom. Thus, any effective reform must first take place there.

2

When we pass away from this earth, there will only be three important inscriptions on our tombstone.

The first two will be the year when we were born and the year when we died; but the most important one is the dash in the middle. As we get older, the day-to-day events of our youth become blurred. We only remember glimpses of things that took place in our childhood. But there are certain things that we never forget. One late summer afternoon my father took me to Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago, and although I didn’t realize it at the time, I would eventually live my life by the words my father told me that day. He told me, “Son, there are only three important things we get on our tombstone when we die. The first two are the year we were born and the year when we die; but the most important one, is the dash in the middle. What are you going to do in your life, during the dash, to make a difference in this world and in someone’s life?” As I looked down at the name on the marker, I realized that we were standing over his father’s grave, and as I would, not too many years later, stand over my father’s grave, I then finally understood that most important lesson. What are you doing to make this world a better place?

3

Never forget from whence you came.

“We plant trees not for ourselves, but for future generations.” Statius Caecilius (c. 200 B.C.).  It is with this ideology that we, as well as our students, understand that in order to make a difference for our future and for our children’s children, we must all give back somehow. Whether it is by becoming active members of service and benevolent organizations that are dedicated to improving our communities, or by volunteering our time to some worthwhile cause, it must be understood that we are all connected. If everyone gives back to his or her communities and to the human race we all would be uplifted physically, mentally, and spiritually.

4

Authority seems to be a puzzling issue. People wrestle with the concept daily in their personal, social, and professional life.

Some people would like to have authority and others do not know what to do with it when they have it. Some prefer to never have authority at all. Authority is not something we are born with; it is not something we can purchase at the supermarket or a bookstore. Real authority has little to do with position, title, or rank. And, while it is true that some people have authority assigned, given, or delegated to them by a superior, the truth is that real authority is something we earn from those who allow us to lead them. In order to lead you need people to follow. No leader has real authority until the leader proves themselves worthy in the eyes of their followers. No matter how great you think you are, no matter how great a job you think you are doing, a leader's own viewpoint and those of their instructors do not matter. It is the perspective of those being led that determines whether you are a leader. Stay in tune with the needs of people and how they need leadership, not how you want to lead.

5

If – Poem by Rudyard Kipling

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

The views expressed on this site are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Pearson Foundation.

Biography

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Mr. Davis is an alumnus of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, where he studied conducting under Dr. William P. Foster, Dr. Julian E. White, and Dr. Shelby Chipman. Becoming a member of the Incomparable Marching 100, Gospel Choir, and other benevolent organizations, Mr. Davis graduated with honors, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education.

Mr. Davis has continuously constructed his music programs with the philosophy of developing an award winning, academic-focused music program on the cutting edge of creativity and band pageantry.  He has been the Director of Bands at Crystal Lake Middle School (Pompano Beach, FL), and the Assistant Director of Bands at Blanche Ely High School (Pompano Beach, FL).  Striving for an academic-focused music program, Mr. Davis has had 100% of his students accepted into college and other forms of post-secondary education for the past four years.  As the Director of Bands at Miramar High School, his students in Marching Band, Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Ensemble, have received numerous accolades including Superior and Excellent ratings at the district and state level.

Mr. Davis himself has received numerous accolades in recent years including three United States Congressional Records and Certificates of Exemplary Service and Dedication, two city and county proclamations naming a day after Mr. Davis, and numerous Florida and U. S. Senate recognitions for exemplary educational leadership.  He is the 2012 Broward County Teacher of the year, the 2012 Florida Teacher of the year, and in April of 2012 he was honored by President Obama at the White House for being named a finalist for National Teacher of the Year.

Mr. Davis' other associations include The National Education Association, The American Federation of Teachers, Florida Bandmasters Association, Florida Music Educators Association, and the National Association for Music Education.  He is a board member of the Florida Education Foundation, the Chairmen of a teacher task force for both the Florida Commissioner of Education and the Superintendent of Schools in Broward County, and has been a panel guest for the Florida Board of Governors Higher Education Coordinating Council and the U.S. Department of Education’s RESPECT project.

His benevolent and service organizations include Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Phi Mu Alpha Fraternity Inc., and Seminole Masonic Lodge #291 to name a few.  He is a loving father and dedicated husband.  He has completed graduate work at Florida Atlantic University’s Digital Education Teacher Academy and is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Teacher Leadership.