Scholar Class – 2014
Bridgette Davis grew up in rural Iowa with her loving family, and she was a leading scholar-athlete. She was the first in her family to graduate from college, excelling academically while working multiple jobs. Bridgette chose to forgo athletics after being marginalized by her college teammates’ homophobia, then dedicated her energy to covering LGBTQ discrimination as editor of her campus newspaper. After graduating, she joined Teach For America, left Iowa, came out and became an out, proud teacher whose work in under-served communities is grounded in honesty, hard work, and high expectations.
In ten years as an educator, Bridgette reached ambitious academic goals with her students in Atlanta and Chicago. She held leadership roles with Teach For America and the Noble Network of Charter Schools. As a Dean at Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy, she affirmed the academic, financial, social, citizenship, sexual, and gender identities of her students--86% of whom are the first in their families to attend college. Bridgette built her school's college counseling program where 100% of students were accepted to college and persist in college at four times the rate of Chicago Public Schools students. Bridgette measures her success by the persistence of her former students; many lead LGBTQ, diversity, and social justice organizations on their respective campuses nationally.
At the University of Chicago School of Social Administration, Bridgette will study how adolescents develop non-cognitive skills like optimism, grit, and gratitude through positive use of social media. Bridgette shares her life and work with her wife, Ellen, a KIPP principal.