Gallot is “Prez2” will Eric Davis be “Bossman2”

Eric Davis has his hands full as the next in the succession of principals attempting to walk in the shoes of the late Morris Henry Carroll at Carroll High School.

Carroll known as the “Bossman” was a great educator, shrewd politician, who had “bulldog” tenacity. He lived in a different era than today; that will make it difficult for anyone to equal his accomplishments at the school.

In a way, Davis has assumed the same role as Rick Gallot, President of Grambling State University.

Gallot is the last in a succession of Presidents of GSU who hoped to restore the pride and glamour once associated with GSU. After several before him failed, Gallot announced that he wanted to be known as “Prez2.”

“Prez” was the nickname of former GSU President R.W.E. Jones whose, wit, and political finesse was legendary as he catapulted GSU onto the world stage with its band and Eddie Robinson’s winning athletic program. While all of that was happening, Jones built a solid educational program that was respected around the nation.

Unlike his predecessors, Gallot is a shrewd politician who has sweet-talked millions for GSU from the legislature. He has revived the football team to championship levels by attracting and holding talent such as coach Broderick Fobb.

Then by hobnobbing with national superstars such as Magic Johnson, Beyonce, and others, Gallot is lifting the GSU brand to greatness.

As “Prez2” Gallot has put a modern twist on the style of the “Prez” and high school students are flocking to GSU once again.

Davis is not attempting to be “Bossman2,” but he has let it be known that he wants to renew the sense of pride students and community once had for Carroll.

He began his first week by challenging students to learn about the legacy of Morris Henry Caroll and the school’s historic reputation for excellence.

Davis’ challenge will be to renew the pride of Carroll. Historically, that pride was related primarily to the academic performance of its students that made it a “mighty force” in the community of high schools. More than anything else, Carroll graduates were college-ready scholars; and it made them proud.

To restore that sense of pride will require an academic turnaround. The community should not pressure Davis with extremely high expectations. Neither should we expect him to quickly improve the letter grade at Carroll, because to do so, it will be superficial, and not substantive.

In one year, the letter grade can only be improved by improving the school’s ACT or Work Key Scores.

What’s the difference? The ACT measures higher-level thinking. Work Keys measure suitability for entry-level jobs. Since the state uses ACT or Work Key scores to measure growth, many principals push smart students to take the Work Key exams. It’s a way to game the system and receive inflated school letter grades.

It will take Davis about three years, with school board help, to turn around Caroll’s “F” in academic performance. His success will be tied to the support he receives from the superintendent and school board to improve the Carroll feeder schools.

Henry Caroll did not have 9th graders reading on a 3rd and 4th-grade level. Carroll had complete control of the feeder schools without interference from the school board or superintendent. All feeder schools reflected the Carroll High program and needs.

Davis won’t be Henry Carroll. He won’t wear gold shoes, sit on a golden cane at football games, or wear a $10,000 Rolex watch. However, he does have the “Bulldog” spirit of Henry Carroll and the thirst to renew the “Bulldog Pride” the school once enjoyed.

That pride will be restored when its academic performance is no longer an “F,” and its ACT scores (not Work Keys) are 21 and above. That means a Caroll graduate is ready for either college or the workplace.

Henry Caroll met and exceeded the expectations of his generation. He had a way that makes his tenure a hard act for Eric Davis or anyone else to follow.