Dr. Sean Bulson, the new Harford County schools superintendent, has hired a former colleague in Montgomery County and in North Carolina to be the Harford schools chief of administration.
The appointment of Eric Davis, 50, was approved unanimously Monday by the Harford County Board of Education. His start date has not been determined.
“I think he’s going to be a perfect fit with this team because the talent we have on the team he is inheriting is something he can build upon because he can grow the collaboration with them and grow their impact on the broader community,” Bulson said after Monday’s meeting. “I see that being what he brings to the mix, working with a really strong team.”
Davis, whose salary will be $176,300, will fill the position left vacant with the retirement of Joseph Licata on Nov. 1, according to a news release from Jillian Lader, manager of communications for the school system.
A 1990 graduate of Saint Paul’s College with a bachelor of science in education, Davis earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Lynchburg College in Virginia in 1998.
His nearly 30-year career in education began with Lynchburg City Schools in 1990 as a third-grade teacher. He went on to serve in the roles of assistant principal and principal before leaving that school system to relocate to Montgomery County in 2001.
In Montgomery County Public Schools, Davis served as principal of Maryvale Elementary School (2001 to 2004) and then principal of Montgomery Village Middle School (2004 to 2006) before being promoted to Director of School Performance in 2006, a role in which he supervised 11 principals, assisted with school improvement planning and co-facilitated Achievement Steering Committees.
In 2008, he was named director of the Department of Family and Community Partnerships and supported administrators in 200 schools with strategies to increase family engagement.
Bulson said he met Davis when they were both working in Montgomery County’s central office.
“The type of thing they did was strengthen partnerships, trying to do family engagement work, equity work,” Bulson said. “He was my go-to person for all that type of stuff.”
In his second year as superintendent of Wilson County Public Schools in North Carolina, in 2012, Bulson recruited Davis to fill one of two vacant assistant superintendent positions.
As assistant superintendent, Davis was responsible for all operations in the school system, including finance, professional development, administrative services and human resources. He worked closely with community agencies to design and implement the safety and security process for the district and was responsible for school climate and culture throughout the district.
The chief of administration position in Harford’s school system includes all of those components, as well as technology.
Davis has earned several honors throughout his career, including Outstanding Principal for Community Engagement (2002) and Montgomery County Junior Council Principal of the Year (2005). In 2009, he was tapped to participate in Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s first National Town Hall Meeting for the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind.
Davis has presented at several educational conferences throughout the years and most notably served as the keynote speaker for three consecutive years at state Title I conferences (Texas, 2013; Virginia, 2014; and North Carolina, 2015) on differentiated outreach, was a presenter during the 2016 ASCD National Conference on creating a welcoming environment in schools, and was creator and moderator of an international Twitter chat for educational collaboration, #EngageChat. In addition, Davis authored and published a book for school-based administrators entitled I Hear You Knocking – But You Can’t Come In! – A Framework for Creating a Welcoming Environment in Schools.
Davis is a “high energy” person who is relatable, “a culture and climate person,” Bulson said.
Bulson said Davis empowers his teams and had an immediate impact when he arrived in North Carolina.
Davis came into a pretty dysfunctional team, Bulson said, and by the end of his first staff meeting, he had all the employees looking differently at their work.
“He’s always forward looking and very positive. The reason I created the chief operating officer position in North Carolina was because there was such a huge cultural disconnect between the human resources team he inherited and the operations,” Bulson said. “My goal was to bring them together, because those two entities, as they do in this district, the work overlaps so much. For them to work together productively just yields huge benefits for a district. The team is already here, I just see him contributing a little more to that. I’m really excited.”