Alvin Davis is Broward’s Teacher of the Year
A Miramar High School music teacher who pushes his students to succeed academically has been named one of four finalists for 2012 National Teacher of the Year.
Alvin Davis, 35, will find out in April if he receives the prestigious prize. It’s the latest in a string of accolades for the 11-year teacher. He also is the county and state’s Teacher of the Year.
“I’m grateful and I’m honored,” Davis said Thursday at a press conference at Miramar High, where he was surrounded by his students, other teachers and district administrators.
“When it’s done right, no matter where it is, it works, it works, it works,” he said of teaching.
Davis is known for pushing his students in both music and academics, requiring them to take college-entrance exams and prove they have applied to a university. He personally reviews their report cards and includes study hall in his band rehearsals.
For the past three years, every student who was a regular member of the Miramar High band program has gone to college, according to the Broward School District.
“It’s through his love of music that he’s taught his students to love learning,” said School Board member Patricia Good.
Students said it’s the way Davis connects with them that makes the difference.
Enmanuel Trabal, 18, credited Davis with helping him get into Florida International University and Florida A&M University. He said Davis also taught him about pride and leadership, and was there for him when, as a freshman, his grandmother died.
“He has guided me through a lot of troubles,” he said.
Robert Gallimore, 17, described Davis as a “role model” who made students feel like teaching was more than a job.
“He’s like one of the best teachers a person could ask for, honestly,” he said.
Superintendent Robert Runcie said it was fitting that Davis comes from Miramar High, which he said sets a standard for urban schools. The A-rated school graduates more than 90 percent of its students and was ranked in the top 100 schools nationwide for the performance of its black students on Advanced Placement exams.
Yet 67 percent of students at the school are on subsidized lunch.
“At the end of the day, it’s building hopes and dreams for our students and their families,” he said.
Principal Brian Faso said the secret to the school’s success is that teachers and staff members “really, truly care about kids.”
“Mr. Davis, he exemplifies that,” he said. “That’s what makes him special.”
Davis, who grew up in Chicago, has been married for 10 years to Tiffani Davis. The couple has a 21-month-old daughter, Caitlyn.
He said his second-grade teacher motivated him to become involved in music.
“He saw something in me and he got me into music,” he said of the teacher, whom he still corresponds with through Facebook.
The national award, by the Council of Chief State School Officers, is given to teachers who already have earned recognition as a state Teacher of the Year. Finalists also are chosen from the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense’s overseas teachers and four extra-state jurisdictions.
This is the third year in a row that Florida has had a national finalist. Other national finalists came from Alabama, California and the Department of Defense.
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