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Davis, longtime BOE member, passes away

LaFAYETTE — Joe Davis, a long-time member of the Chambers County Board of Education, is remembered by former colleagues as someone who was truly dedicated in his support for the school system. Davis, 65, passed away this past Friday at the East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika.

“He was always going to state meetings to increase his knowledge about board member service,” said Leonard Riley, who served as the superintendent during Davis’ time on the board. “He was an excellent board member and was supportive of what we were trying to do.”

Davis served five terms as a school board member. He came on the board in the early 1990s when the Chambers County School District was undergoing transition. The system went through some rocky financial times and underwent some school consolidation moves that weren’t popular with some people. An elementary school was closed in River View as were high schools in Milltown and Five Points.

Davis served multiple terms as the board’s vice president. Bill Martin, the president, served in that role for a number of years and continues as the president. William Meadows also served as the board president during that period.

Following the closings of the two high schools and an elementary school in the early 1990s, the Chambers County Board of Education was able to get control of its finances. In the years that followed, each remaining school in the district saw much-needed capital improvements. New classrooms, media centers, and band rooms were constructed. LaFayette High got a much more spacious gym and Valley High got a new football stadium. Riley was superintendent from 1991 to 2011 and is the current mayor of Valley. Davis and Martin served as board members through that period as well. Chambers County schools that saw those much-needed improvements include Valley High, LaFayette High, W.F. Burns Middle School, J.P. Powell Middle School, Eastside Elementary School in LaFayette, Bob Harding-Shawmut, LaFayette Lanier and Fairfax elementary schools in Valley and Inspire Academy in LaFayette.

Another much-needed improvement was having the schools air-conditioned. This allowed the school year to start in August rather than September and has permitted much more flexible school calendars. There’s more holidays and time for spring or fall breaks.

Davis also served as a board member for the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and the Chambers County Department of Human Resources (DHR).

A Valley native, Davis graduated from Valley High and earned a B.S. degree in human resources from Auburn University.

He also received a Masters in human resources from Troy State University and a Ph.D. in the subject at Auburn.

He worked for 25 years as a human resources manager for the Russell Corporation in LaFayette and later served in similar roles for Batson-Cook in West Point and Sewon in LaGrange.