New SOAR advisor

Jess Davis shares her journey


Used with permission by Jess Davis.

Crystal Diaz

What are your goals with SOAR (Students Organized for Anti-Racism)?

 I want to create an experience students want to come back to. I’m just excited to be working with students and seeing where their passions are, then just figuring out how I can support as an adult. I want to pursue anti-racism in the most intentional way possible.

How does connecting with students impact your job? 

I stepped out of the classroom three years ago to be in this current position (coaching adults). It’s not my forte — I really miss students and I needed the time away to realize that this is where I capture my joy. That is how I filled my cup. I am my best person when I am helping students in particular.

How do you feel about this opportunity? 

It felt like the universe was coming into alignment. This just feels right, I want to share with folks that this is me. I can’t wait for this opportunity. Students give me purpose and are the reason I get out of bed. 

How is this different from your current position?

It’s different because I get to work directly with students, so not only do I get to work with students organized for anti-racism, but I am also going to be teaching the education pathway classes (Intro to Urban Education, Multicultural Education). This is my chance to be back with students. 

How has it been to get here? 

I’m still trying to figure out what we just lived through (the COVID-19 pandemic). I live in South Minneapolis. I was on a phone call with my Black Pride organization students when George Floyd was murdered. They were friends with Darnela, who had done the videotaping. We were unpacking what was going on. Then a week later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. A week after that, I accepted a new job, left that district and came here. The universe was speaking — all of my cancer treatment was here in St. Louis Park. 

Who are you inspired from? 

By Dr. Stephens, being such a trailblazer. She’s my living ancestor — I am following her lead in everything she does. I am starting my doctorate program so I can be like Dr. Stephens. She’s the 2006 teacher of the year and I am the 2019 teacher of the year. She was a racial equity coach then I stepped into the job. Now I am stepping into the SOAR position. She is what I strive to be.