Staff reflections: Jackie Davis

In this series, “Staff Reflections,” we introduce the members of the Innovations for Learning team, who will tell us what brought them to our organization and why they’re excited to do this work. 
Today: Jackie Davis, Director of Communications / Creative Services.

DSC_0096 - Version 2I joined the Innovations for Learning team five years ago, when there were just three IFL employees.

When Seth [Weinberger, IFL’s founder] called and asked if I might want to join IFL, I was a marketing manager for Houghton Mifflin Learning Technology—a large company with all the bells and whistles. Seth and I had met during fund raising efforts for our girl’s high school dance team. The team qualified for Nationals and I led the fund raising efforts needed to send 18 girls to the competition. It was my ability to bring this racially and economically diverse group of parents together that caught his eye. He later told me that if I could bring that group together and move them forward, I could bring just about any group together and move them forward.

I remember trying to convince myself that making a move to IFL when I was 50-something (not too old, but old enough to think about these things), might not be a good idea.

But it was a good idea, and I’ve not looked back once since I joined the IFL team.

My role at IFL is very diverse, and that’s one of the great benefits of working here—We all get to wear a variety of hats. On any given day, at any given moment, I could be designing a brochure, working on a video for our website, training a teacher, or visiting a classroom.

I’ve been able to use the talents I’ve developed over the years, and given opportunities to step out of my comfort zone and develop new talents. The spirit of pushing oneself to learn a new talent is forever present at IFL. I cherish that sense of personal challenge for its own sake — but it also reminds me of the difficulties and challenges a 6-year-old faces when he or she is learning how to read.

Especially for those kids who, for whatever reason, find this new skill a hard one to learn. Kids like my own daughter, who is dyslexic and struggled to read in the first grade. I was actually told by her teacher that I had to accept that fact that she just wasn’t very bright. This was back in the day when there was very little support available and certainly no resources that addressed the needs of a struggling reader.

So at the end of the day, what motivates me and why I am so committed to the work that we all do is for that little kid who is trying to learn how to read.

That one little kid who doesn’t get read to at home, whose academic success will depend largely on what he makes of it.

That little kid who is just one step behind — and who, with just a little more support, with a little more encouragement, with a few good resources, will find the desire and the determination to keep learning.

Jackie Davis
jackie@innovationsforlearning.org
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Posted on January 7, 2013, in IFL, Innovation, Philanthropy, Reading, Staff Reflections, TeacherMate, Teaching, Technology, TutorMate, Uncategorized, Volunteering and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Thanks Jackie for sharing your story. As a Special Ed teacher I understand your frustration with your daughter’s difficult time learning to read. Personally, I think it was the teacher and not your daughter who was not very bright! Keep up the good work.

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