ELKTON — Tierney Davis, a United States Air Force veteran and government analyst whose son attends Elkton High School, is running to represent Elkton’s district on the Cecil County Public Schools (CCPS) Board of Education.

Davis said he is proud of his service to his country, and hopes to continue through a seat on the board. Throughout his professional and personal life, Davis has brought people together to get things done. He hopes to bring this experience to the board.

“We’re going to have to work with a big cadre of people, from the community educators to folks who are other stakeholders,” he said. “You need to be a bridge-builder. You can’t be someone who’s in a silo, or coming in with an agenda.”

Like many parts of life, normal business facing the board has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. CCPS is bringing students back at 25 percent capacity starting this week, and parents are divided on the district’s reopening. Some want schools to bring more students back sooner, while others prefer a more cautious strategy.

Davis commended administrators for bringing students back in a methodical way. He said that the board must make sure the district is supporting teachers and students so that they feel safe returning to classrooms.

“A lot of parents out here have children who have different medical issues or underlying issues that preclude them from going back in-person until we have everything in place — and I know that day is coming,” he said. “Doing it slowly but safely is the more prudent way to do this.”

He said individual families, as well as the district as a whole, should have flexibility to adjust plans in the event of a rise in local COVID transmission without disrupting learning.

Communication is key, he added — between administrators and board members, as well as with the thousands of families weighing the risks and rewards of returning. He said the district has done well sharing options with families, as well as being open about the science guiding its reopening policies.

“People may not agree with you, but if you communicate often and are more honest with them, they are more apt to buy into what you’re trying to present,” he said. “The more protocols we put in place, the sooner we can bring students back into the classroom, which I know is what everybody wants to do.”

He also wants to be sure the district continues to prioritize accommodations for students with special needs. In-person learning, he added, is critical for this growing population.

“We need to make sure that we take care of our students who are challenged in certain ways,” Davis said. “We need to make sure that they have the proper paraprofessionals available to support them.”

For Davis, a spot on the board will help him ensure that CCPS invests in students’ long-term success.

Coaching youth football in Elkton for a number of years, he learned that supportive adults can be critical to making sure students get the most out of school. Amid such a turbulent school year, he said, this is more important than ever.

“As a parent and as a coach, I know that, oftentimes, young kids don’t care what you know until they know that you care,” Davis said. “When kids are acting at their worst, it’s when they need you the most. They’re acting out because they don’t know how to bring about a solution to what it is they’re trying to overcome.”

Davis, who was endorsed by the Cecil County Classroom Teachers Association, said that coming together as a community will help the county navigate challenges ahead, and will bring his experience as a consensus-builder to the board to make sure students get the opportunity to thrive.

“Education is a nonpartisan issue. We all want the same things for our children,” he said. “It’s important to the long-term success of our community to ensure all of Cecil County’s students are prepared to be our future leaders. No matter their cultural background or socio-economic status, we’ve got to make sure everybody has a fair shot.”

Tierney Davis is running unopposed to represent District 2 on the Cecil County Public Schools Board of Education.

CORRECTION: This article previously stated that Davis coached football at Elkton High School. He actually coached youth football in Elkton.

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