Jim Davis (AZ '09)
PrincipalCentennial High School
At the time of the Award, Jim Davis was:Principal
Centennial High School
Grade(s): 9, 10, 11, 12
When Principal Jim Davis faces a road block, he doesn't try to barrel through it; he simply builds a new road. When he wanted to give his students more opportunities to take Advanced Placement (AP) classes and he didn't have the manpower at his own school, Centennial High in Peoria, AZ, he worked with principals at other local schools to create a student exchange program. By enabling students to access a greater variety of AP courses through other high schools, Davis significantly increased the number of AP courses available to students.
When Davis had trouble signing up adults to mentor at-risk students, he decided to mentor 12 students on his own, meeting with each one every two weeks, checking on their assignments and grades and offering assistance. Thanks to his initial example, the program has grown to 100 kids with over 30 volunteer mentors from the community. Additionally, Davis has developed many other important programs at Centennial High, such as the freshman advisory classes for incoming 8th graders and the High Five Club, in which students who raise their GPA by .5 points receive schoolwide recognition. When former Centennial High students were killed serving overseas in Iraq, Davis led a uniquely inspiring memorial service. Students looked into mirrors that were shaped like dogtags, seeing their own reflections to symbolize their soldiers' sacrifices for them.
All of these remarkable programs have contributed to Centennial High School's ranking in the top 10 percent of schools with the lowest drop-out rate in Arizona-less than 1 percent. During Davis's tenure as principal, no student has missed out on graduation by failing to meet Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) requirements. Last year the school's average writing score was 91 percent, putting it in the top 10 percent for writing skills, more evidence that Davis is leading his school and community on the road to success.