Kimberly Davis of Land O’ Lakes started a new job this month.
Davis officially assumed her role ass new principal May 7. An experienced educator and administrator, Davis has worked for the Pasco County School District since 1998. She replaces Dr. Steve Knobl, who recently took a job with Rasmussen College.
Davis met with New Port Richey Patch to chat about her job at the New Port Richey school and herself after a busy week of meeting teachers.
Patch: You came to Gulf High from a job at Anclote High, correct?
Davis: I was the assistant principal at Anclote. I actually started my career in Pasco County as a teacher in Zephyrhills. Then I opened Sunlake High School as assistant principal. I was assistant principal at Anclote for two years, and now I have the privilege of being the principal at Gulf.
Patch: Your background's in science education, right?
Davis: My degree’s actually in biology. I’ve been in education over 20 years. I started teaching science in Georgia. I was the science supervisor (for the Pasco County School District) for a few years. …I did a lot with the curriculum and science education centers (like the Energy and Marine Center in Port Richey).
Patch: You have children who were enrolled in the district, right?
Davis: I have two. My daughter is 28, and she graduated from Zephyrhills back in 2002, and then graduated frm Florida State University back in 2006. My son graduated from the IB program at Land O' Lakes High School in 2008. He graduated from University of Florida in 2011.
Patch: What do you think are the best things Gulf High has going for it now?
Davis: Their history. Their traditions. We have a very strong staff. It’s evident in some of the test scores that our kids are achieving. I think it’s strong in that they always strive for excellence: They don’t want to settle.
And I think another strength that Gulf High School has is it’s a community school. So many schools now don’t have that community support, and I’ve already been visited by some of the businesspeople around here who are just really anxious to do whatever it takes to help.
Patch: Where do you think Gulf High needs to improve?
Davis: There’s always room for improvement. The data shows that we’ve got some work that we could do in all areas. We can improve in reading. We can improve in math, but we’re on the right direction. All of our data shows that we’re moving up, we just need to continue moving up.
Patch: Seems like trying to get kids trying to learn about science as they get ready to go into the workforce is starting to become more of an emphasis.
Davis: It is. There’s a big drive for what they call STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Academies. And that’s not just coming from education. That’s coming from industry. That’s coming from the government.
That is driven by jobs. We’re preparing our kids for jobs that aren’t even developed yet, and a lot of that is in those areas of mathematics, technology and science. So there’s a big push nationwide to do that.
Patch: Regarding the way that expectations for schools are moving: What do you see that trend being when you’re here and how do you plan on adapting?
Davis: We have a really good health academy that really works well with our kids in getting them into the health profession through CNA testing, so I think growing that type of academy. We also have a commercial arts program here. I think what we’re going to do is just take what programs we have and develop them and just push them forward to meet those industry needs in the area or nationwide.