Get to know the School Board candidates: Jill Davis


On Sept. 9, Minneapolis voters will vote to send six of nine candidates for School Board to the general election on Nov. 4. Three of those six will be elected to at-large seats.

Candidates are listed alphabetically. Address and phone numbers are provided via public filing information; website or email has been provided by the candidate, when applicable.

Carla Bates
Mary Buss
Jill Davis
Thomas Dicks
Sharon Henry-Blythe
Allison Johnson
Lydia Lee
Doug Mann
Kari Reed

Jill Davis
3407 Garfield St NE

Davis, a licensed psychologist, has worked extensively in the fields of early childhood development, mental health, and social services. She currently works for the Anoka County Community Social Services Department in the Division of Human Services. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology.

When it convenes in 2009, The new School Board’s first duty should be “restoring trust and confidence with parents and communities” throughout the district, said Davis. This will bring students back to the system — and the state and federal assistance that travels with them. Without good neighborhood schools, she said, “We won’t have good, healthy neighborhoods,” essential to a healthy city.

Davis vehemently agreed that Minneapolis’ public schools are under-funded. She bemoaned that “they really don’t have textbooks for class of 35 [students]” but acknowledged that many Minneapolis residents were more than somewhat jaded as the school district came asking for more money.

“We have to be honest with the public about what’s going on” in Minneapolis’ schools, she said. Of the strategic plan, she said: “I have no doubt that they are good-hearted people [in—school district administration], but they promise too much.” The plan’s goals — which the referendum will go to help fund, which include getting every child “college ready” by 2020 — are unrealistic right now.

“We want to be careful that we can afford to follow through and do really, really well” on commitments the district makes to voters, she said. The district needs to pick only a few “academic pathways” to pour effort and money into. Davis said the district needs to return their focus to reading, writing, math and early childhood education. “That’s what people are looking for,” Davis said.

To implement these prescriptions, she said, the MPS and School Board need to examine personnel management practices that encourage quality teachers, rather than penalize failure, and try to find ways to create a “customer satisfaction survey,” to turn parents’ dissatisfaction into data the Board and District can act on.