Joy Lawson Davis
At heart, I am a servant leader. The group that I am most committed to serving are young people from culturally diverse communities who are often given the least amount of attention from government, schools, and oftentimes even their communities.
I grew up in Newark New Jersey in the tumultuous 50s and 60s. My parents were hard working laborers. We were the typical urban area family, they raised us to be independent, have faith in God, be hardworking, and to look out for each other. We were a big family, each of us gifted in one way or another and we knew it. As a youngster, I had one experience with content acceleration, going to third grade as a second grader. My schooling experience in Newark was otherwise excellent, very comprehensive and culturally enriching. In 1967, we moved to a small rural segregated community in Virginia. Culture shock!! Everyone in the school was African American, resources were very limited (yes, schools were separate and very unequal). Having both an urban and rural experience and being from a working class family made me especially sensitive to ‘gifted’ students from similar backgrounds
My undergraduate degree is in Fine Arts. As a high schooler, I set a goal to go back to my community to become its first Art teacher and did just that. Later I had an opportunity to study for a graduate degree in a new program at The College of William & Mary and was introduced to the discipline of Gifted Education, there I earned my master’s and doctorate degrees.
It is my grounding as a Christian that sustains and drives my servant leadership. For me, my work as an educator and advocate is a calling, an ‘assignment’.
In 30 years as an educator I have served as a teacher, principal, district administrator and State specialist for Gifted Services in Virginia. For the past seven years, I have been in higher education, now as an Associate Professor of Teacher Education. I am also an author and sought out expert in gifted and diversity education. I also serve on the Board of Directors of the National Association for Gifted Children. Four years ago, I created a blog titled WeAreGifted2 to feature articles, resources, opinion papers supporting gifted learners from diverse backgrounds I am pleased to join Elysian Trust to lend my passion and experiences to its initiatives.
I am the membership officer for the Elysian Trust in Brazil, and a member of Interrobang. As someone who strongly believes in the need to recognize and develop different cognitive abilities, I find the work of the Trust to be immensely valuable, and I work to represent its ideals in my own country.
My current role here is as webmaster. But I also believe strongly in the cause. I consider intelligence to be extremely valuable to human society. When intelligent children receive education appropriate to their abilities, it’s often in spite of their educational system rather than because of it. Educational systems have their own inertia and pressures of various kinds. Besides trying to help solve those systemic issues, I want to help provide alternative channels for intelligent children to receive education and mental stimulation and support. Learn more about me on my website.