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DBT40 Honoree: Hrysoula Davis

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Title: Dean of Lower School (Grades K-2)

Workplace: Odyssey Charter School

Age: 38

Hrysoula Davis | DBT PHOTO BY LUIGI CIUFFETELLI

Teaching kindergarten and elementary school students the fundamentals of math, language, science and the arts is no easy feat, but at Odyssey Charter School, educators also prioritize a global approach that throws in lessons in a new language.

Lower School Dean Hrysoula Davis doesn’t balk at the challenge of incorporating world languages, and has prioritized international partnerships to foster the school’s recruitment, coaching and training opportunities for teachers while expanding the minds and experiences of its students.

Davis, of Philadelphia, said the unique educational model at Odyssey “promotes cultural competence, lifelong learning, critical thinking and problem solving” as well as diversity and inclusivity so that students can receive a truly bilingual and bicultural education.

But in order for that approach to be successful, Davis also supports her staff by offering expansive mentoring and welcoming programs to develop cross-cultural training opportunities and friendships, while also providing financial support to foreign teachers seeking U.S. certifications.

During her 12 years at Odyssey, where she’s worked as a bilingual educator, instructional coach and now dean, the school has tripled the number of Greek staff members obtaining American teaching credentials, growing from a K-3 school behind a supermarket to a K-12 institution with more than 2,000 students and 200 staff.

During her time there, Davis has also supported partnerships between her organization and the University of Delaware, the University of Thessaloniki, Simon Fraser University and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

The avid long-distance runner and mother of a 3-year-old bilingual daughter also once competed on NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” quiz show and hopes to someday run the Athens Marathon.

 

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