Terrence Davis '89

For Terrence Davis, Class of 1989, there’s a bit of irony in how life led him into becoming the superintendent for the Banning Unified School District when he himself was a troublemaking student back in the day.

“I got in trouble a lot,” Davis joked.

Growing up in the Hunter’s Point area of San Francisco in the 80’s, Davis said that he faced many challenges that toughened him up, but Archbishop Riordan High School was the safe place where he didn’t have to worry about the streets.

“There is no way in the world that I would sit here my sixth year as a superintendent of public schools, including 26 years in public education, without the lessons that Riordon taught me,” he said. “No way.”

Riordan is where Davis learned how to present himself professionally and give his best to his teachers, professors and peers. Riordan is where Davis learned how to be a man.

One of the lessons that Davis learned was how to be a better leader by being a better listener. He said that his leadership style involves giving principals and teachers the space and support to become the best leaders they can be in their roles, but that it all starts with listening.

“I have to understand people and their stories to better support them,” he said.

Davis’ leadership has paid off significantly at the Banning Unified School District where he serves as Superintendent. In fact, Davis was recently named to the Marquis Who's Who—a national list that has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators.

“I try to be a servant leader. My job is to serve. And so to have a group reach out and say, ‘These are the accomplishments that you have had. This is your impact to what's happening,’ has really been humbling and awe inspiring,” Davis said. “I’m just blown away.”

Davis specifically mentioned Riordan’s Kairos retreat as one of the major turning points in his life. One of the lessons he learned was to plan one step ahead along your journey, “and that has made a long lasting imprint on who I am as a person, because I don't just see what's going on right now. I see how I can take one step ahead,” he said.

And while Kairos alumni protect the sanctity of the retreat by holding the retreat’s secrets dear, Davis called the experience “life changing.”