Canopy Children’s Solutions proudly announces Robin Davis, Ph.D., will become the new CARES School principal in Hattiesburg starting in late May 2019. The change will follow the retirement of current principal Anne Russum, who has led the school since its opening in 2009.
CARES School Hattiesburg is an accredited, non-public school designed to meet the educational and behavioral needs of students who struggle to thrive in a public school setting. CARES School Hattiesburg, with 63 students enrolled, serves children with emotional disabilities as well as students on the autism spectrum. CARES School staff work closely with public school districts including those in Covington, Forrest, George, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lamar, Marian, Pearl River, Perry, Walthall and Wayne counties in and around the Pine Belt region.
“I care deeply about CARES School Hattiesburg. As I move forward in life, it is incredibly important to me that it remains in good hands,” said Russum. “I could not think of a better person than Robin to follow me. She is a skilled professional with years of experience working in both public and special-purpose schools. Most importantly, she loves the children and is passionate about their growth and care. I am confident that the students, their parents, our staff and customers will all share my confidence and come to fully appreciate Robin as I do.”
Davis brings with her nearly two decades of experience working with special needs children in education. After spending time in the Lawrence County Public Schools system, Davis began working as a math consultant in a special-purpose school dedicated to children with emotional disabilities. She soon took on a full-time teaching role at the school where she served for 10 years. In 2010, she joined the CARES School Hattiesburg. In her time at CARES School, Davis has served as the lead teacher, individualized education plan (IEP) coordinator and interim principal.
“I love Canopy and our school so much,” said Davis. “I appreciate the fact that parents tell me all the time that we are a lifesaver. Before their child was enrolled at CARES School, many of our parents were constantly at their child’s school, stressing over their behavior, and several even lost their jobs from missing work. I am proud of how we help our students and families. I am excited to take the reins and lead the CARES School into the next decade.”
Davis believes you never stop learning. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) in mathematics. She began work on her master’s degree in mathematics at USM after leaving the public school system; however, after discovering her passion for children with emotional disabilities and special needs, she changed course to earn a master’s in Special Education – Emotional Disability. She also began working towards her Ph.D., but took several years off to focus on her family.
In May 2018, Davis completed her doctoral degree. Students from CARES School enjoyed a field trip to the USM campus to watch their teacher receive her diploma—the first time many of the children had been on a college campus. CARES School students and staff wore gold USM t-shirts to gradation. The students clapped and cheered as Davis took the stage.
“It was so special having my students there with me,” said Davis. “My very own golden cheer section. They made me tear up and laugh with excitement at the same time. The students push me to be the best I can be and to give my all because that is what they need and that is what they deserve.”
Davis will begin her duties as principal when the students return for extended school year over the summer. She is already brainstorming ways that she can continue to push CARES School Hattiesburg in the trajectory of growth and success.
“I have big shoes to fill but I am grateful to have walked alongside Anne and helped her and others to create what the CARES School is today,” said Davis. “I am honored to have been chosen to become the next principal and I know that I have an amazing support system in our staff and families. I’m very excited to see what the future holds.”
ABOUT CANOPY CHILDREN’S SOLUTIONS CARES SCHOOLS: CARES Schools are accredited, non-public schools designed to meet the educational and behavioral needs of students whose challenges prohibit enrollment in a public school setting. The goal of CARES School is for each student to learn effectively and be able to return to their public school. Canopy has CARES Schools in Hattiesburg and Jackson.