Women of Influence: Miskia Davis

Miskia Davis is entering her third year as head of the Sunflower County Consolidated School District. In just a short time, the Montgomery County native and Drew transplant has made headway with the district’s elementary students, with an over 90 percent pass rate on this year’s third grade gate test.

1. What is your family background in Sunflower County?

I am the daughter of Frank and Doris Meeks. I have two sisters, Tonia Swims and Laquitta Meeks, and one brother, Frank Meeks, Jr. I am married to Mr. Keenan Davis of Greenville. We have two four legged sons, Cooper and Mason.

2. How did you come to live in Sunflower County?

I was actually born in Montgomery County, Winona, MS, and lived in Carrollton, MS in my younger years. My father gained employment at the Parchman Penitentiary, and I moved to Drew, MS when I was five years old and entered Kindergarten at AW James Elementary School. I completed all of my k-12 educational years in the Drew School District.

3. What is the biggest lesson you have learned about leadership?

The biggest lesson I have learned about leadership is that leadership is a position of service. It is not about how much power you have, but how much you can empower the people that you have been charged to serve. The higher you go in leadership, the more people you are required to serve, because if the people that you serve are not happy, you will not succeed. Treat everyone with respect, regardless of their position. A person’s position has no bearing on the level of respect they deserve.

Everyone won’t agree with you, or even like you. So you have to do what is best for children all day, every day, and everything else will work itself out.

4. What is the best piece of advice you can give young women looking to become leaders in their communities?

Surround yourself with people who have a vision equal to or larger than yours. If you are the smartest, most successful person in your circle, you need a new circle.

Surround yourself with positive people. The soil that you are planted in (the people that you hang around) determines how much fruit you will yield.

Surround yourself with people who will be happy for your successes, not threatened by them.

5. What would you describe as your biggest accomplishment so far in life?

Most people who know my track record would probably assume that I would automatically say, moving Ruleville Middle from an F to an A rated school in three years, or getting the then Moorhead Middle School to within one point of having a rating of high performing. Though those were certainly highlights of my life, my greatest accomplishment by far, was instilling a belief in my students from both Ruleville and Moorhead that they were brilliant and could do anything they wanted to do, regardless of their current circumstances.

I always felt proud when I saw students who started with me slumped down, low self-esteem, failing grades, low expectations for themselves and their peers, leaving with heads held high, certificates, medals and trophies of achievement in tow, and a new found belief in themselves that would propel them to do whatever it is they chose to do.

My idea of #WINNING is attached more to children’s success than my own. I went to college and got good grades, so I am supposed to do well at my job. However, my children oftentimes come from difficult situations, so for them to succeed under my leadership is more of a success to me than anything.

6. Who are your biggest female influences?

My biggest female influences include my mom, aunts and grandmothers. Though none of them graduated college, and most not even high school, they have overcome obstacles and tragedies in life that showed me that it’s not only skill that gets you through this thing called life, but the will. My mom, though not a high school graduate, supported me and impressed upon me the importance of education. She always wanted better for me and my siblings than what she had, and she always, in my opinion, had a higher expectation of me than she did of everyone else.

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