Twenty years ago, the Camas School District had 700 computers and 2,000 students. Today, the district has approximately 8,000 devices, 3,000 guest logins and more than 7,000 students.
Likewise, while desktop computers and clunky laptops ruled the day in the ’90s, now tablets and Smartphones are the go-to devices.
Sherman Davis, the district’s technology director, has steered CSD through this flood of technological change. And now Davis has been honored for his work. Recently, the state’s Public Classified Employees group named Davis their honorary member of the year. The award is reserved for supervisors who have demonstrated concern for their employees in a significant way.
Kathleen Weeks, one of his employees, nominated Davis for the honor. In a nomination letter, Weeks noted that Davis was a classified employee for many years, and has attended and been active in PSE politics.
“He is concerned on a personal level with all he comes into contact with,” Weeks said. “Sherman is considerate of our custodial staff and asks how he and his department can streamline their daily work. He has brought numerous treats, lunches, dinners and cards of appreciation for PSE staff, knowing all the while that morale is priceless. Sherman does this with his own hard-earned money because of who he is at heart.”
Superintendent Jeff Snell called Sherman a “visionary.”
“He has thoughtfully built an infrastructure to support student and staff needs no matter what the device or tool,” he said. “He listens to understand the type of technology that can best support learning. Beyond all of that, Sherman is a kind and caring person. He is always thinking about others and what he can do to support students, and we are very fortunate to have him in our community.”
Davis traveled to the state conference in Kennewick to receive his award, with Weeks cheering him on.
“It was really exciting,” Davis said. “It makes me feel really happy that my employees are appreciative, because that makes my job easy and everything runs smoother.”
In the past, Davis has taken his employees on hikes and out kayaking at Lacamas Lake, and, as Weeks pointed out, brought in special awards and treats.
He notes that the most challenging aspect of being a supervisor is managing people with a sometimes 30-year age gap, from younger Millenials to older Gen-Xers.
Davis said that going on group outings has helped his staff understand that although they are different in their approaches to technology and work, all have the same goal: To improve customer service for the students, teachers, administrators and PSE members they support.
“His dream was to take a much diversified group and help individuals achieve professional success while steering us all to the common goal,” Weeks said of Davis’ managerial style.
A few summers ago, Davis gave staff members the book, Raving Fans! A Revolutionary Approach to Customers Service.
“He used it to mold our future and the department’s future,” Weeks said. “Under his strong leadership, we have not only grown, but become a model for other departments to follow.”