Sir Davis out as Salisbury High band, choral director
SALISBURY — Sir Davis won’t be returning this fall as Salisbury High School’s band and choral director.
According to official school records, Davis resigned effective June 11. He was hired in November 2011.
Salisbury High School Principal Avis Williams confirmed a comment by Davis that he had to leave because of a certification issue.
“Any time we have a teacher who does not meet state guidelines as it relates to certification, we are not allowed to continue employment,” she said. “That’s unfortunate, of course, for the program and for students. There is ample time given and ample explanation given to each teacher. It’s up to individual teachers to meet those guidelines.”
Davis said he didn’t want to comment on the record for this story.
Williams said the school doesn’t have much flexibility when it comes to the state’s rules. Employees may be excellent teachers, but if they don’t get their credentials in the required time, they can no longer teach there.
When asked if there was a problem with Davis’ job performance, Williams said, “Good heavens, no.”
“He’s done a tremendous job with the band program and the choral program, absolutely — and for the community,” Williams said.
Earlier this month, Williams said Davis could potentially get his job back through an individualized lateral entry process.
But she said Wednesday that the school is moving forward with hiring another band director.
Williams said the school has offered the position to someone, and the offer has been accepted. She declined to name the new director until the details have been finalized, but she said the school is “anxiously awaiting his arrival.”
“In the meantime, we have qualified substitutes to continue the band program, and we’ll do as much as possible to ensure that the students don’t suffer along the way,” Williams said. “They love Mr. Davis, and we do as well. As far as his talent and musical ability, he is phenomenal, and I understand why the students feel this way about him.”
Marching band students found out Davis was leaving during band camp earlier this month.
They created a petition online calling for his reinstatement, which has gathered nearly 170 digital signatures. It is available at www.change.org under the name “The Rowan Salisbury School Sytem: Reinstate Sir Davis.” Some students and parents wrote to school officials in support of him.
Drum major Zack Tucker said Davis brought everyone into the band room at the end of practice on Aug. 8 to tell them he was leaving.
“He said he wasn’t going to be our band teacher anymore,” Tucker said. “People started crying, and everybody was sad.”
Tucker said Davis showed the students a letter from the principal saying that he was no longer employed at the school system. The letter said the school would make every effort to fill the position for a new band director in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, the students planned to continue holding band camp without a director. But to their relief, Davis was back at Salisbury High School that Monday, Aug. 8.
As if nothing had happened, he helped them rehearse their program, which includes the songs, “What Kind of Man Would I Be” by Mint Condition, “Where Have You Been” by Rihanna, “Leave Me Alone” by Michael Jackson and “Feds Watching” by 2 Chainz.
Williams said band camp was never canceled, and Davis was not reinstated. He had been working under a contract to lead the camp during the summer.
Tucker said he is sad to see Davis go, especially after such a short time. Salisbury’s previous band director, Tyler Howe, left the job after just a few months.
“We’ve had a lot of band directors leave our school, but it’s not because we’re a bad school or anything,” Tucker said. “We have a lot of kids that are dedicated to the band, and this makes it harder for some of them to stay in school.”
Tucker said some students have talked about quitting band, because Davis was the one who inspired them to start in the first place.
“Ever since Mr. Davis has come to Salisbury, more and more kids have joined band,” Tucker said. “He’s just put the belief in them they can play an instrument. It’s exciting with Mr. Davis there.”
LeTonya Sockwell, whose son plays in the band, said a lot of students and parents are highly upset by Davis’ departure.
“He’s real passionate about the band. He really works with those kids,” Sockwell said. “He helps a lot of kids get band scholarships for school.”
Janiya Withers, captain of the dance line, said she sent a letter to the school, and her mom called and emailed to support Davis.
“He created us. Before, we wasn’t going to have a dance line,” Withers said.
D’Shawn Jordan, senior and drumline captain, and Jalyn Neely, senior and color guard captain, both said it was very upsetting to hear that Davis was leaving.
“He’s one of the best teachers here, and he really cares about the students,” Jordan said. “To see him go like that was heartbreaking.”
Neely, the student government president, said she helped spread the word about the online petition to reinstate him.
“Sir Davis is like a father to us,” Neely said. “It was shocking for all of us.”
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.