Q&A: Davis talks about her return to Prince George’s County schools

Monique Whittington Davis, a veteran educator who began her teaching career in Prince George’s County, recently took over as the county’s deputy school superintendent amid sweeping leadership changes to the school system.

Before taking the No. 2 spot, Davis was a regional assistant superintendent in Anne Arundel County.

Davis graduated from Bowie High School and taught at Thomas Pullen Creative and Performing Arts School. She was the academic coordinator at Kettering Middle School and assistant principal at Glenarden Woods and Robert R. Gray elementary schools.

She became a principal in 2003 at Henry G. Ferguson Elementary, which later became Accokeek Academy.

Davis left the county in 2010 to take on top administrative roles in Anne Arundel. In Prince George’s, she will be responsible for the divisions of academics, human resources and the county’s associate superintendents.

Davis recently answered questions about her return and the challenges facing the district.

Q: Since your return, what have you identified as the most challenging issue facing the school system? And how can you address it?

A: The most challenging issue is the implementation of the Common Core. It’s different. Anything new is going to be a challenge. We have to make sure, in a large system like this, that all of our divisions are communicating with one another so that the schools, principals and teachers don’t feel like they are being pulled in different directions.

What has surprised you the most about the school system or its schools since you’ve been back?

There haven’t been a lot of surprises. It was a great county when I left and I feel like it is now. I feel like it’s been seamless, like I never left. [Note: In a sense, Davis did not leave. She has continued to live in Prince George’s and her two children attend public schools.]

How do you bring back parents who have left the public school system or attract those who have never considered the schools?

I think we need to have focus groups and continue to have community forums to find out why. A lot of it has been programming. . . . One is the expansion of programs, the other piece is customer service.

If money were not an issue, how would you suggest that it be spent in the district?

Compensation for our employees. Our employees are amazing. We just have not been able to compensate them for the work they have done. That is one of the main reasons we are losing great people to other jurisdictions. I’d also expand our programs (talented and gifted, Spanish immersion), making sure that we can offer multiple experiences to our students.

Ovetta Wiggins writes about K-12 education.
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