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The Potomac Current

McLean, Virginia
The Student News Site of The Potomac School

The Potomac Current

McLean, Virginia
The Student News Site of The Potomac School

The Potomac Current

McLean, Virginia
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Mr. Austin Davis Answers The Current’s 17 Questions

Learn about his favorite subject(s) and a dog named June
Mr. Davis in a beautiful family portrait.

Our fourth edition of 17 Questions is with Mr. Davis, the Upper School’s new Director of Student Life. Read Mr. Davis’ 17 responses as he shares insights into his past, his first impressions of Potomac, and his hidden talents!

Editor’s Note: The transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Mr. Davis: Hi there! Come on in. Welcome to my office, take a seat, look around.

Question #1: How long have you known that you wanted to be an administrator and an educator?

Mr. Davis: I knew I wanted to be an educator from when I was a little kid. My go-to game when I was growing up with my two younger sisters was school, so I always knew I wanted to be an educator of some sort. And then, as I started actually teaching and I started my career as just a high school English teacher. What I really liked about administrative roles was that you got to know students in multiple ways. I was your teacher also working with you at student events, also working with you as an advisor, and really getting the sort of full holistic view of everything, so that’s why I liked and knew I wanted to be an administrator.

Question #2: What is your favorite thing about working at a school?

Mr. Davis: Two things. The energy. These places are moving, they’re action packed, they are exciting. I would not be okay with just like a sit at the desk-kind of job all day, and the variety. The fact that in schools you’re in the classroom, you’re meeting with students in my office, we’re out at an athletic game together, we’re having lunch together, like the fact that the day looks so different. I like that. 

Question #3: Do you have a faculty best friend, and if so, who is it?

Mr. Davis: *laugh* Well I’m brand new, so I think the question is can you- is it possible to make a friend and make a best friend in like three weeks I don’t know if I necessarily have a best friend yet, but I’ve gotten very very close with lots of people in the upper school administration, and then also I found the Potomac faculty Community very very welcoming. I guess I would say though if I had one best friend, Ms. Virchow and I- we share a wall, we work very closely together, so yeah she’s probably my faculty bestie at this point, but I’m open to more besties if people are looking for them!

Question #4: Ms. Virchow for the win! What are you looking forward to about this upcoming school year?

Mr. Davis: It’s all new to me you know- like I’ve seen, I’ve read about Potomac, I’ve seen all the documents, but it’s going to be exciting to see homecoming, to see the bonfire, to see um all of these events that I’ve just heard a lot about and read a lot about. Just seeing it with my own eyes with the energy of everyone here, that’s what I’m really excited about!

Question #5: Can you describe your own high school experience in three words?

Mr. Davis: Stressful, community-oriented, and long-commute. I lived very far away from school and I feel for Potomac students who are in that spot because that was a challenge for me.

Question #6:  What has the transition to Potomac been like for you?

Mr. Davis: It’s been so wonderful. I just felt like people have been so willing to get to know me, tell me about the school, and help me understand things that I haven’t seen before or need to be able oriented to. That was true over the summer when I was meeting mostly with faculty members and now that I’m here with students it feels that much better.

Question #7: Which Potomac tradition are you most looking forward to becoming a part of?

Mr. Davis: I’m very excited-I think I’m definitely excited for homecoming. It’s going to be here before we know it’s basically the day we’re doing this interview. I think it’s a month away yeah so I’m very very excited for that and then I’ve heard a lot about Halloween here, so I’m very excited for that too.

Question #8: What’s one surprising thing that most people at Potomac don’t know about you?

Mr. Davis: My favorite TV show ever was the TV show Lost. I highly, highly recommend it to people who haven’t seen it, and I have one of those memories where I can’t remember things that actually matter all the time but I- can I remember every episode title of Lost, the 6 seasons of Lost? Yes I can.

Question #9: Do you have any hidden talents?

Mr. Davis: Well maybe that was one of them! I do think that I am a very quick dishwasher. I can move through things really quickly; I am a good laundry folder um, and then on I grew up playing a lot of Mario party with my little sisters and the Mash A games where you just press “AAAAAAAA,”- I think I was very good at those. 

Question #10: What do you love most about your job?

Mr. Davis: Um, I really love getting to be social. I think teaching just inherently is a social practice (just being in a community with other people) and I think my job is just that amplified. You know being in a community with individual students with groups of students with teachers, with the whole community. I love how interactive this job is. 

Question #11: How would you describe the Potomac community?

Mr. Davis: I think it’s an amazing balance of warmth, energy, enthusiasm, and also seriousness of practice- like there is a sense here that the work we’re doing in school, whether it’s in class, or whether it’s on the field, or whether it’s in the theater, that work matters and we want to be proud of the work that we do while also having a blast while doing it. 

Question #12: What was your favorite subject in school?

Mr. Davis: Here’s a fun fact about me. When I was in high school, I didn’t really know what I was going to do. I liked several subjects, but I ended up in college both being an English major, which is what I ended up teaching, and also a math major! So my two favorite subjects were probably English and math, and I do think those two subjects are kind of versions of the same thing- that’s my hot take. 

Question #13: How does your high school experience compare to what you view from our own high school experience at Potomac?

Mr. Davis: I think in a lot of ways it’s very similar. I went to a similar kind of school. It was an independent school, very similar size, similar focus on academics, while also students were involved in lots of different extracurricular and cocurricular activities, also emphasizing a sort of seriousness of purpose while all having- while talking about a very strong community, so in a lot of ways, I think that while I didn’t know it at the time, my high school experience was preparing me in lots of ways for this job. 

Question #14: When is June, your Corgi, gonna make her Potomac debut? 

Mr. Davis: Well, so some people got to see her at the opening barbeque, but because all of the games kind of were a wash in the end, she got- it was a brief little debut. But obviously more is coming! June for as social as I think I am. June is even more social than me, so she has no off switch, and so she is very excited to come to games, to come to events, to meet people, whoever they are. 

Question #15: Aw. We can’t wait to meet her. As a new member of the Potomac community, do you identify more as a Potomac Panther or a Potomac Llama?

Mr. Davis: Ooo that’s a good question- a good question. Um I- one summer when I was in high school, I did a summer backpacking trip where we interacted with llamas, and I found them very horrible. They throw up, they spit, everything so I think just on my own which do I like better? I like panthers, so I think I identify more as the Potomac panther, but I like the balance. I like the balance of the panther is sleek, the panther is serious, the panther is focused, and llamas are focussed too, but they’re kind of goofy. I like the balance of those two things, I like to think I am a balance of both, but probably the panther would be my choice. 

Question #16: What Is your favorite place on Potomac’s school campus?

Mr. Davis: Oooo. Well I’ve had a lot of fun decorating my office this summer, so probably right now, I feel very sort of at-home in my office. I like what’s on the walls, I like what’s in the spaces. I think the bridge from the Tundra to East building is gorgeous, I love it there, and I love being on the quad! Even though it was hot at our opening day K-12 ceremony. It’s so fun to be in that outdoor space with everyone, so those are some of my favorite spots. 

Question #17: And then our last question, Starbucks or Dunkin’ and what is your order?

Mr. Davis: Ooh ok. You know I do have to say I sort of go day by day. I’m the kind of coffee drinker where I will get very involved, I will have like one drink only for like three months, and then I’ll be like no more, I’m switching. So I’ll be a Starbucks person and then shift to Dunkin’. Right now I’m in my Starbucks era, but talk to me in November and it might be totally totally different. I am an iced coffee drinker. If there’s ever, even in the dead of winter, if there’s an option, I’m getting an iced coffee with just a little bit of almond milk. Nothing too serious, but again, sometimes I go through eras. In November, ask me this question again and it might be totally different. I might be like all the foam, all the mixes and everything.

Danica: I totally agree with that! Thank you so much!

Mr. Davis: Thank you!

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About the Contributor
Danica Allen
Danica Allen, Staff Writer
Danica is a junior staff writer, and enjoys writing opinion pieces and articles related to important Upper School student events. Her favorite subjects are history and english. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, writing, and reading.