Home About Dr. Baron R. Davis
About Dr. Baron R. Davis
Dr. Baron R. Davis is superintendent of Richland School District Two in Columbia, S.C. He is the first Black superintendent in the district’s 90-plus-years history. Dr. Davis served a transition year as the superintendent-elect prior to assuming leadership of the district in 2017. In one of his first tasks as superintendent, the 2017-2020 Strategic Plan, Dr. Davis lays out his vision for partnering with families, staff and community to make Richland Two the premier school district.
Discovering his passion and purpose early, Dr. Davis has been a trailblazer for public education for over two decades. Using personal experiences, dating back to growing up in public housing, he assesses needs and creates innovative structures to achieve goals of equity and excellence. He has made increasing recruitment and retention of male teachers of color a priority by launching the Premier 100 initiative. About six percent of Richland Two’s teachers are male and minority. Nationally, that number drops to less than two percent, despite the rising percentage of students of color.
In keeping with his focus on innovation as a principal practice for the district, Dr. Davis (then assistant superintendent) spearheaded the district’s membership and renewal into the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools. Richland Two was initially selected from a competitive national pool of applicants based on its leadership, evidence of results, innovative vision for learning, and commitment to collaboration. In 2021, as superintendent, he was selected by his peers to serve on the League’s Advisory Committee.
Dr. Davis is advancing the district’s long-standing commitment to providing superior learning experiences in top-notch facilities. Under his leadership, voters approved a request to borrow $468 million to address district facility needs in the areas of safety and security, academic learning spaces, transportation, technology and arts/athletics.
Richland Two continues to be known for high-quality magnet schools that promote choice, diversity and academic excellence. Since 2016, 17 district magnet programs have earned national certification from Magnet Schools of America, eight are Demonstration Schools. Using an $11.2 million “Med Pro 21: Healthcare for a Caring Community” grant, in 2017 Richland Two began developing four school-wide magnet programs designed to reduce and prevent minority group isolation and increase socioeconomic diversity. Finding ways to celebrate student success, Dr. Davis was instrumental in launching the Premier Scholars program in 2018 to celebrate students, who after six semesters of high school, are academically in the top 10 of their class.
An ardent supporter of military families, Dr. Davis recognizes the sacrifices they make for our country. In August 2019, Richland Two became one of the first two school districts in the state to be named a Purple Star School District for its significant commitment to welcome and support military families. Several grants, funded by the US Department of Defense, provide the district with resources to implement the National Math & Science Initiative to increase the number of students successfully completing Advanced Placement courses in military-impacted communities.
During his educational career, Dr. Davis has served as a successful school leader in rural, urban and suburban school systems where his schools were recognized for closing the achievement gap, increasing graduation rates and increasing Advanced Placement participation rates. While principal of Spring Valley, the school was recognized by the Washington Post as one of America's Most Challenging High Schools and by Newsweek as one of America’s Top High Schools.
In the role of assistant superintendent, Dr. Davis helped to establish the Richland Two Assistant Principal Academy, the Administrators Development Series, the Training Administrators Program and the Administrators Mentoring Program. Under his guidance, all five of the district’s high schools were accepted to TransformSC’s network of innovative schools in May 2016. He also provided overall supervision for the opening of the Richland Two Institute of Innovation (R2i2); which included the selection, development and implementation of academic areas of focus, course development, establishment of partnerships, selection of personnel, development of organizational structure, building supervision, and day-to-day operations.
Dr. Davis’s support of education and his community extends beyond Richland Two. He was selected to be a founding member of the AVID Center Superintendent’s Collaborative. He has served as a principal mentor and coach for induction principals participating in the South Carolina Department of Education’s Office of School Leadership Principal Induction Program. Currently, he serves on the Francis Marion University Alumni Board, the University of South Carolina (UofSC) Trio Programs Advisory Board, the South Carolina Male Achievement Conference Planning Committee, Rotary International (Spring Valley Club, Columbia S.C.), national and state associations of school administrators, and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (Omicron Phi Chapter).
Since 2018, he has been named the 100 Black Men of Greater Columbia Educational Leader of the Year, earned the Francis Marion University Professional Industry Award for Education and Arts as well as the Columbia Chamber of Commerce Cathy Novinger Trailblazer Award. AASA | The Superintendents Association awarded him the Dr. Effie H. Jones Humanitarian Award; Education Week named him a Leader to Learn From for Leadership in Equity; and K-12 Dive placed him on their Superintendent to Watch list for recruitment/retention of male minority teachers. He has received the Bob Grossman Leadership in School Communications Award from the National School Public Relations Association for implementing communications strategies to better serve parents, students, community partners and employees. Dr. Davis is participating in the AASA National Superintendent Certification Program®. He’s a superintendent in residence in the UofSC College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policies.
Dr. Davis earned a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology from Francis Marion University. From the UofSC, he earned master’s degrees in school counseling and educational administration, and Educational Specialist and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in educational counseling. He holds superintendent, school counseling, secondary principal and secondary supervision certifications. In addition to his formal educational training, Dr. Davis has participated in and completed numerous educational leadership programs.
Dr. Davis, a Columbia native, is a member of Brookland Baptist Church. He and his wife, Pamela, have two daughters who attend school in Richland Two and another who recently graduated from a district high school.