A Pillar of Perseverance
As February celebrates Black History Month, it is important to recognize and reflect upon individuals who have given back to their community and share their passion for Texarkana with others. June Williams Davis, a former Texarkana citizen and recent distinguished Texas High alum, boasts an impressive amount of accomplishments. After graduating from a newly integrated Texas High School, Davis continued the growth and development of her career, bettering the lives and environments of students around her.
Growing up in Texarkana, Davis led a simple life in elementary school and through most of high school. She grew up in the community of Sunset, where she attended Sunset Elementary School and Dunbar High School from grades seven to eleven. In 1968, Davis was a senior and Texarkana ISD began the integration process by closing Dunbar High School and transferring all students to Texas High School. For students like her, the newfound integration was a time of both excitement and fear.
“My emotions surrounding the integration were between apprehensive, yet excited and cautiously optimistic.”
Sadly, the joining of Dunbar High School and Texas High School did not come without backlash.
“[Dealing with backlash,] I had to take it one day at a time,” Davis said. “Each day was a new day and an opportunity to be better.”
In addition to her skin color, Davis was marked with a negative connotation based on the fact that she was the daughter of a single mother.
“A difficulty growing up for me was that I was the child of a single parent, and some viewed that as a handicap, which could be true in some situations; [however] that was not the case with my mother,” Davis said. “She instilled a great work ethic and always told me if I work hard, I could be anything I wanted to be in life.”
In 1969, Davis decided to attend East Texas State University and experience life outside her hometown. She knew she wanted to be a teacher, and pursued this dream. After her graduation, she found jobs teaching all over east Texas and multiple opportunities to aid in the betterment of the lives of the students she taught. Davis returned to Texarkana in 1973 to work as a social worker for the Texas Employment Commission. From 1976-1977, she taught for Pleasant Grove Independent School District, and from 1977-1978, Texarkana Independent School District before moving to Dallas. She taught in multiple schools in the Dallas area and acquired multiple positions after teaching.
“When I moved to the Dallas area, I became a teacher in the Lancaster Independent School District where I taught for three and a half years. [Then] I moved and taught in the Wichita Falls Independent School District for three years,” Davis said. “I moved [again] and began teaching in the Fort Worth Independent School District, later becoming a counselor and a liaison. I retired from Fort Worth Independent School District as director of special programs in 2019.”
Davis built a life of helping those in need, so the decision to become a volunteer and continue helping others came easily to her. She is currently serving on the Crowley Independent School District (CISD) Board of Trustees and has since 2003.
“I was elected to the Crowley Independent School District School Board of Trustees in 2003, and I am still serving in that capacity,” Davis said. “I chose to volunteer and run for the school board to give back to the district that provided a good education for my daughter and to be a voice for the voiceless.”
Davis operates in a profession that directly impacts the life, and even the well-being, of students and children on a daily basis. Her decision to run for school board came from a place of passion. She wanted to advocate for children—not only her child, but others, too.
“It’s important to be engaged in the education of your child. I found myself not only advocating for my child, but other children as well,” Davis said. “I wanted to ensure that all students were represented, and I was also the first African American elected to the CISD Board of Trustees.”
Davis continues acting as a voice for those children who do not necessarily have a “voice,” or influence, in the things that go on at the higher levels of the school board. This voice is what drives her to continue in her career path. She sees, when it comes to a child’s life, that there is a difference when someone who truly cares about the outcome of students is in a position of power.
“I [will] continue to serve and impact children’s lives,” Davis said. “I understand the difference it makes when there is a genuine concern to see all students thrive!”
In addition to serving on the school board, Davis also mentors a group of fifth-grade girls in her free time and volunteers at the Tarrant County Food Bank. Despite her many career-based accomplishments, her most significant accomplishment comes from a family-oriented heart.
“My biggest accomplishment in life so far is being the mother to my daughter,” Davis said, “and grandmother to my five grandchildren!”
An elementary school located in Fort Worth, Texas, the June W. Davis Elementary School, also took Davis’ name to honor her and all of her past accomplishments.
As a decorated graduate of Texas High, Davis was asked to return to Texarkana to be honored on the field before the football game, along with other alumni.
“I must admit I was very surprised to be recognized as an alumna at the game,” Davis said. “It was almost surreal, especially when I was among other honorees who have achieved great accomplishments.”
As her life continues, with a multitude of accolades under her belt, June wishes to continue serving as a community volunteer. “I will continue my current volunteer activities,” Davis said. “However, for now think I’m going to enjoy my family, especially my grandbabies, the youngest being three months old.”
Over the years, June Williams Davis has, and will continue to, serve as a pillar for perseverance, kindness, and success, as well as a sign of hope for children and students everywhere.
To read more about June Williams Davis see TXK Roots.