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Brad Davis – Fort Herriman Middle School

It is my honor to nominate Brad Davis, a fellow teacher from Fort Herriman Middle School. He is just starting his fourth year of teaching, but his teaching goes beyond how long he has been teaching. I am continually impressed with his understanding of his subject, his enthusiasm and sincere interest in his students, and his new and fresh ideas.

Mr. Davis has gotten his students singing, and singing well. He consistently gets top marks at festivals and his concerts (I have been to most of them) are extremely fun to go to. The students are prepared and confidents, singing songs that they obviously love. He is especially sensitive of middle school boys and their changing voices and has always been a defender of them and someone of great understanding. They sing so many different kinds of songs-fun songs, songs with actions, ones in different languages, heartfelt beautiful pieces, popular songs-and they always sound superb. He also joined a school that is continually moving forward, and Brad is always willing to try something new to benefit the students. The most recent change has been a switch to standards-referenced grading, which is a little tricky for classes like ours that have been participation based for generations. He has been the leader in our department of how this could be a big benefit for us, even though it is a complete shift of how we think and run our classes. He not only has great ideas, he has excitement and belief that things can always be better.

Brad Davis cares deeply about his students, and it shows in everything he does. I have had the opportunity to sit in on his classes and watch him teach regularly. They are always high energy with lots of laughing, lots of moving, lots of activities, but most importantly, lots of learning. The students leave every day having learned something or accomplished something new, feeling good about themselves and about choir. Since he does teach choir, he often has extremely large classes (last year a class of over 70!) and sometimes kids that were put in because there was nowhere else to put them. He welcomes every single person that walks into his room and is grateful for them. He has a lot of empathy for some of the students that have anxiety, are picked on, or have gone through hard things, and he watches over everyone in his classroom like they are family. He cares about how they are in his class and their performance, but he also cares about them as people. He does everything he can and the students know that, something that was obvious when they presented gifts and cards to him the last concert of the year with tears in their eyes. He is a great teacher to them, but also someone they look up to and can count on.

I would also be remiss to not mention Brad’s incredible and out-of-the-box ideas that he has. Two years ago he wanted to tackle Vivaldi’s Gloria (not an arrangement!) with a full orchestra. A major work that I have never seen done at a middle school and something that was an incredible opportunity for everyone involved. I had parents and students talk to me about what an amazing experience to be a part of or to watch. The community was amazed and what could be done with middle schoolers and the students will never forget what it was like to be part of such a big event. He has always been a large part of our school’s musicals being the music director and driving force in a lot of the auditions. The shows have been incredible ever year with the help of our theater teacher, Kayla Martin, and the music has always been one of the highlights. His concerts are often unusual for choir, including things like a song in the dark with every students holding a candle, actions, different formations (some in the audience), and audience participation. His most recent project has been many steps. He held a poetry contest last year throughout the entire school with the help of the English teachers. The winning poem will then be set to music by a commission that Brad has gotten a couple grants to pay for. We are hoping this work will be performed at a school assembly later this year and include some of our school’s instrumentalists as well. Brad thinks big, then figures out ways to make it happen. I am always impressed and invigorated with his attitude and enthusiasm, he always goes above and beyond.

Brad is a wonderful colleague and friend and has been my support since he walked through the doors on day 1. He always listens and gives ideas to help me solve my problems, as well as serves as someone I can trust. I have talked multiple times with other teachers and administrators about how lucky with are to have Brad. He has all the qualities of a great teacher, a wonderful person, and a supportive friend. In the words of our former vice principal, “Brad is the total package.”
-Amy Stutznegger