Family First for TK Science Teacher

He and Pamela met in middle school at Hastings and now they have two sons and two grandchildren.  “That’s my priority – my family. Always will be the most important. Family is everything to me.”

He also especially likes the family feeling at Thornapple Kellogg Schools. “Everyone supports each other here in the schools and the community supports the schools. I guarantee not every place has this. It’s special.”

Davis has been teaching at TK for about 27 years - admitting he’s kind of lost track for certain.  “He taught at Page for four years before moving to the middle school where he taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade science. “Science was always my thing. Initially I was going to go to school and become a petroleum geologist and make some big money,” he said.

But he quickly realized after a year in college he really didn’t know what he wanted to do. So he joined the Air Force where he worked in hospital administration and MEDEVAC transports.  After the Air Force, he returned to college at Western Michigan University.

 “I tried business. I took all those career assessments to find out what was my best fit. But nothing I thought I wanted gave me satisfaction,” he said.

Eventually, Davis turned to teaching and he knew immediately he found what he wanted to do.  “I had good teachers, some not so good and some bad ones. And I know the kind of impact each of my teachers had on me. I know how important it is to have a good solid teacher who really loves what they are doing. I love science and I want to pass on my enthusiasm for science to my students.”

Davis admits he also easily gets bored of routines and couldn’t stand the thought of a job that kept him doing exactly the same thing over and over again. Teaching, he said, is never boring. “So many people hate their jobs.  I don’t and I never want to be in that boat. I love what I do.”

Davis also helps manage the school garden club all year – even through the summer.  Groups of students come in during the summer weeks to water and weed and care for the garden. “We have a big garden and a lot of work, but I see the kids are excited about it,” said Davis.

Students can take any of the food grown in the garden during the summer and what’s left is donated to area food banks. In the fall, items are used by the TK Food  Service Department and Davis said kids get a real kick out of eating what they’ve planted and grown.

When he’s not teaching or spending time with family, Davis has spent summers doing research for Michigan State University’s Kellogg Biological Center conducting research on plants and animals.  He also enjoys fishing and visiting local art fairs and festivals.

Favorite Book: Lord of the Rings trilogy

Favorite Movie: Star Wars series

Favorite Music:  70s rock and roll

Favorite Foods: Tacos and burritos

Favorite Place He’s Visited: Hawaii

Bucket List:  Visiting Australia and New Zealand and experiencing a shark encounter in a cage on the Great Barrier Reef.

Favorite Part of the School Day: First thing in the morning when he greets students at the door. “Sometimes they come in tired and it’s important to be happy and enthusiastic to give them a good start to the day.”

Advice to New Teachers: “Just enjoy every day and be aware of the important impact you have on your students.”

Advices to Middle School Students: “Stay curious and have fun. Don’t take everything so seriously. Just enjoy life.”

Best Thing About TK: “The closeness and support of colleagues and the community. This school is a big part of the community and the support we get from everyone is not something every district receives.”