News Feature

Deer Isle
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, April 23, 2021
School board hires Laura Davis as new DISHS principal
Worked in Nashville, Philadelphia

by Leslie Landrigan

Laura Davis will be the new Deer Isle-Stonington High School principal, as the Community School District board voted unanimously on April 20 to enter into a three-year contract with her. She will be paid $90,000 for the 2021-22 school year.

Davis will replace Dennis Duquette, who is leaving the high school after three years.

“All of her recommendations make us feel this is the perfect job for her,” said CSD Superintendent Chris Elkington. “It goes exactly to her strengths.”

Davis will come to the island from Nashville, where she was dean of instruction at Thurgood Marshall Middle School. She has also started several small schools in Philadelphia, Elkington said.

“She really showed that she liked kids,” said Jane Osborne, school board chair. Osborne said she was impressed by Davis’ in-depth expertise in social-emotional learning, restorative justice and individual learning.

“She is interested in learning about and building upon the efforts of Dennis, the staff and students over the past three years to build a positive school community, improve morale and develop pride in DISHS,” Osborne said.

The process

Elkington said the board received 11 complete applications, and the search committee interviewed four applicants. Then, he said, “the full board interviewed her and were unanimous in our belief that she was a perfect fit.”

Bill Shepard, school board member, said he was impressed by her eagerness to engage with the community. “She’s big on communication, transparency, support of the teaching staff and students,” he said.

Darrell Williams, school board member, said Davis drew off a knowledge base when she spoke.

“It wasn’t just lip service,” he said.