Spotlight: 10 Questions for Debreon Davis (OK '17)March 13, 2018
High school principal Debreon Davis (OK ’17) sees meeting the varied learning needs of thousands of students as her biggest challenge: “Keeping kids from flying under the radar is something I work to combat every day.” Debreon won Oklahoma’s 2017-18 Milken Award at Edmond North High School on December 7, 2017.
1. What went through your mind when you heard your name called at your surprise notification?
Debreon Davis: When I heard my name called I said, "Wait, WHAT?!?!" and looked at my superintendent sitting next to me. A few moments earlier I had leaned over to him and asked, "What are we going to do if this teacher isn't here today?" He had smiled at me and said, "I think they are here." I was shocked, humbled and honored to be the recipient of such an award.
2. How did your students respond to your Milken Award? What impact has it had on them?
Debreon: Everyone in the gym was cheering. It was an amazing moment. It was nice for the students to see an educator being honored and rewarded for their hard work in a profession that is not commonly celebrated.
3. How did you end up in education?
Debreon: I come from a family of educators so I always thought I would be the one to do something different. Didn't happen! I graduated from college and started teaching that following fall. I fell in love with the profession. I learned that I was very passionate about loving and serving teenagers, and teaching at the high school level was the best of both worlds. I was able to educate young minds while also challenging them and mentoring them into their future.
4. Who are your role models as an educator?
Debreon: My grandma, my parents, my sister and brother, and my mentors and friends Justin Coffelt, Emily Steele and Debbie Bendick.
5. What memories stand out from your first year of teaching?
Debreon: I taught four different preps and coached basketball. I didn’t have a classroom, so I traveled to a new room every hour. Some of my favorite memories: my relationships with my students and seeing how much we both grew over that year. Late nights trying to prep the perfect lesson. Timing bathroom breaks depending on my planning hour or lunch. And falling in love with teaching.
6. What are students most likely to remember about their time in your school?
Debreon: I hope my students leave remembering that they were loved, honored, respected, and challenged to grow and push themselves every single day. I hope my students leave having a better awareness of themselves: how they learn, how they process information, what are their passions. I hope they are prepared for life outside of high school. I hope they leave knowing the importance of embracing the process of life, and that the process looks like success, failure, pain, tears, joy, wanting to give up, perseverance, mental toughness, detours, and so much more.
7. What’s your biggest challenge in at your school?
Debreon: My biggest challenge is making sure we are meeting the learning needs of all 2,600 of our students every single day. In a large school it is easy for certain groups of students to "fly under the radar." That is something I work to combat every day.
8. How do you think you’ll use your $25,000 Award?
Debreon: Still deciding. I plan to use part of the $25,000 to pay off my student loans from my master's and will probably invest some.
9. What would you say to a student who expresses interest in a career in education?
Debreon: I would thank them and applaud their forethought. I would encourage them to learn more about their interests and passions to explore what subjects they might want to teach and on what levels. And I would remind them of the power of education and how, above all else, it improves our chances of living better lives.
10. What’s your definition of success?
Debreon: Daring to be bold enough to take risks that might end in failure, and then having the perseverance to get up and keep going, every single day. Success is fighting for what is right, every single day. Success is loving everybody, always.
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