Faculty Spotlight: Mary Jo Davis
Father Gabriel Richard High School teachers are dedicated and caring, and bring unique approaches and techniques to their classrooms. They all share the common mission to help form the next generation of Disciples of Christ and prepare our students for their futures. Faculty Spotlights are an opportunity to learn a bit more about our outstanding faculty. This is the first spotlight in the series.
Mary Jo Davis
Education: Michigan Technological University, B.S.M.E
Eastern Michigan University, Teacher Certification
Teaches: Algebra IIB, Finance, Geometry Essentials, Pre-Calculus
For Mrs. Mary Jo Davis, there’s not enough time in the day to spend learning about math and how to teach it. Years ago, she inherited two bookshelves full of math textbooks, puzzles, and logic problems from a retiring teacher at a local school. She would pore over these resources for hours, saving the most thought-provoking material for her lesson plans. As the internet grew more prevalent, she realized that she could search forever for the perfect puzzle or problem to include in her lessons, and so “the challenge was honing down and picking only a few things” to feature.
The instructor’s continuous search for new ways to teach math coheres with her staunch belief in lifelong learning. For her personal finance class, Mrs. Davis asks her students to read a nonfiction book alongside their other homework. To illustrate why she does this, she cites Dave Ramsey, who “says that millionaires read a nonfiction book a month,” and she insists that “nonfiction books are key to getting yourself thinking and changing your mind,” in order to broaden and expand it. Mrs. Davis herself often ends up reading six books at a time. She loves to visit the Our Lady of Grace bookstore and confesses, “I tell myself, ‘I’m not going to buy anything,’ and then I walk out of the store with three books. I do need to retire sometime so I can read the books that are piled all over my house.”
Mrs. Davis’s favorite part of teaching is sharing her “enthusiasm for the beauty of mathematics” and witnessing her students make connections for the first time. “Math is about connections and it’s very satisfying to help other people make the connections that I’ve already made. It gives me a lot of joy.”