Meet the New Assistant Superintendent of the Davis School District

FARMINGTON, Utah (ABC4) – For months, ABC4 has been following the Davis School District after the United States Department of Justice issued a scathing report citing racial harassment and inequality at more than 90 schools in the district. Now the district has a new Deputy Superintendent who will work with the Equal Opportunity Office to ensure that students are treated equally.

Asian and African American American students were often targeted by their peers and teachers, according to the Justice Department report. The report also says that administrators at some schools have refused to allow black students to form clubs. This, the report says, violates the rights of the student.

For the next five years, the district will be subject to an improvement plan defined by the DOJ.

In November, Superintendent Reid Newey approached the school board asking for an addition to the plan. He said 10 to 14 percent of students in the district are students from minorities or special populations. He said he would like to increase the district’s efforts to hire staff to reflect this population. This, he said, to help create an inclusive environment for all students.

“We have to rely on the teaching staff, all of the adults in the building, to be the eyes and ears of the children,” Newey said. “We continue to work with our students, you know, the same way we do our approach to security, ‘See something, say something’.

The school district is perhaps now closer to that goal with Newey appointing a new deputy superintendent. This supervised assistant will focus on diversity and equity issues in the district.

“I’m here for the kids,” Dr Jackie Thompson told ABC4’s Kade Garner.

As she sat down to converse with Dr Thompson, it quickly became apparent that she loved children. His office is full of children’s books. These books are inspiring and full of diverse characters. It was this love, along with decades of experience, that led to her appointment as the new Assistant Superintendent of the Davis School District.

In a press release, the district highlighted all of Dr. Thompson’s accolades that made her the ideal candidate for the job. The district press release reads as follows:

Thompson retired from Davis School District in 2018 (Dr Thompson told ABC4 it was actually 2017). At that time, she held the position of Director of Equity in Education. His duties and responsibilities included the District Parental Equity Committee, Multicultural Education, Civil Rights Issues, Ethnic and Cultural Heritage Respect Training (REACH), Advancement by Individual Determination (AVID) and program V (i) lage.

Prior to joining the Davis School District in 2000, Thompson taught at public schools in Idaho and California, worked as a gender equality specialist and education specialist in the Office of the Utah State Education and as an Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist at Hill Air Force Base.

Over the course of her career, Thompson received numerous national awards and honors, including the Spirit of the American Woman Award for Public Education in 1994 and the Utah Women’s Achievement Award presented by the Governor’s Commission on Women and Families in 1998. She was Mrs. Utah in 1999 and received the Martin Luther King Award from the Salt Lake Branch for the year 2000. Additionally, in 2011 she received the Drum Major Award for Utah State Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission on Human Rights and recognized by the Idaho State University Alumni Association with the Professional Achievement Award upon its inception in 2015. On November 12, 2012, Governor Gary Herbert appointed Thompson to the State Multicultural Commission. She also served as the Education Chair on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Human Rights Commission of Utah.

Thompson told ABC4 the district felt like family to her. When she read the DOJ report, she said she was heartbroken. She explained that her love for children and her district family made the decision to take the job an easy choice.

She told ABC4 all about her hopes for the future, adding, “Most importantly, we need to look at the resolution that all students feel safe, valued, loved and respected in classrooms.

To do this, the district now has an Equal Opportunities Office. Dr Thompson will work with his director, coordinators and dozens of cultural liaison officers. She explained that they will be responsible for filing and investigating complaints, bonding with the community, and many other responsibilities.

“I am delighted to have boots on the court,” said Thompson. “I am excited about the challenges that present themselves in a positive way. She told ABC4 that making students feel safe and proud of who they are is critical to their success. “We want our students not only to graduate, but to be college and career ready.”

She said for the success of all students, all staff, students and parents will need to be on board. She said it was like the old saying: “It takes a village to raise a child. She added, “And we want to hear from them (parents and students). We want them to be part of the solution with us as we move forward. ”

The Justice Department’s report highlighted a variety of racial inequality issues in the district. Much of the report focuses on African American and Asian American students. Dr Thompson explained that while addressing these issues, the district will also work with Hispanic students, Pacific Islander students, Native American students, and students of different backgrounds and ethnicities to better understand how s ‘to improve.

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