Superintendent Bryan Davis heads for Whiter Pastures
By DAVIDA AMENTA and
SHOREWOOD, WIS. (May 27, 2021) – After six years on the job, School Superintendent Bryan Davis has quit to assume that position with Oshkosh Area School District.
Davis, who holds a doctorate in urban education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, will stay on the job through June.
The Oshkosh school district announced that Davis and two others were finalists for the top job and said the successful applicant would be announced tomorrow (May 28). But at 3:07 p.m. today, Shorewood schools emailed residents a letter from Davis in which he announced his new job. The news, he said, was “bittersweet.”
“The new position provides me with an opportunity to
continue our equity work on a larger scale (they are also working with the
ICS for Equity framework) and be closer to friends and family,” his letter
said. “My wife Dawn and I met, got married, bought our first house and
started a family in Oshkosh. It has always been a special place for us and
the opportunity to serve there was one we felt we needed to take.”
There are some other big differences, too.
For one thing, Shorewood is ranked No. 2 for best teachers out of 379 districts in the state, while Oshkosh is at No. 279. In other words, only the Greendale district in Wisconsin has better teachers than Shorewood, while three-quarters of the state districts have better teachers than Oshkosh, according to Niche.com.
Only two districts are better for teachers than Shorewood, according to Niche. Shorewood is the third best school district in Wisconsin, while Oshkosh is ranked 89th.
The one area in which the districts are most similar is diversity. Niche ranks Shorewood as 53rd in that category, while Oshkosh is listed as 56th.
But Davis has faced his share of issues while in Shorewood. Two years ago, local schools were closed after a high school student allegedly wrote a hit list and carried was caught with a loaded ammunition magazine.
In a 2015 interview, Davis said he was drawn to Shorewood for its diversity and acknowledged that there were significant achievement gaps between white and black students in Shorewood. “We want to make sure all our students are growing,” he said.
But recent statistics suggest that Shorewood students are becoming whiter as minority students leave the district.
Davis himself had a run-in with racial adversity and had to apologize for having a mural created by five high school students painted over. The mural depicted Shorewood High School from the perspective of black students and alumni.
The mural included quotes such as "we have to welcome ourselves" and "here they'll find a reason to pull me over." The Journal Sentinel reported that the mural made Davis “feel uncomfortable.”