Georgina (Gina) Davis

24th February 2012 at 00:00
Dumfries and Galloway's longest-serving headteacher has died at the age of 56

Gina Davis, headteacher of Cummertrees Primary since 1985 and, as such, the longest-serving headteacher in Dumfries and Galloway, has died from an inoperable tumour at a time when, aged only 56, she was at the height of her considerable powers.

Born into a farming family near Dumfries, Gina was educated locally at Lochfoot Primary and Dumfries Academy before moving to Edinburgh University.

Following training at Craigie College, her teaching career was launched (a not entirely inappropriate term given Gina's wholehearted approach to all tasks) at Dunscore Primary, from where she was promoted, at the age of 29, to the headteacher post at Cummertrees.

There she chose to remain - a bundle of energy, knowledge, enthusiasm and absolute commitment fully recognised by HMIE in 2010, when it delivered what was to prove a resounding memorial to her teaching career. In the midst of comments on high attainment, the "genuine" whole-school community, the wide curriculum and the staff who "went the extra mile", there was highlighted "the inspiring and supportive leadership of the headteacher", obvious in "the rich, nurturing atmosphere for learning" which she had created.

"Inspiring" is not a word which rolls readily off the tongues of Her Majesty's Inspectorate, but it gave full testimony to what Gina meant to the staff, to the parents and the local community and, in particular, to the generations of children who had benefited from her stewardship of the school and of their education.

Her breadth of knowledge was such that she was known as "Radio 4" in the staffroom. She expounded on all subjects in a torrent of words which exhausted her listeners, particularly on those interests closest to her heart - music, reading, flower-arranging and travel.

She worked with apparently boundless energy, managing to run a school, organise a family, maintain her many interests and still contribute to the education world more widely as external examiner at the former Moray House, through the writing of several curriculum packs for national initiatives and in membership of many local working groups where her advocacy of the "ideal" would often cause some discomfort to education authority figures who might have wished to settle for the more "pragmatic". Perhaps not surprisingly, therefore, there is no recall of her ever, at any time, sinking into that cynicism which can darken an outlook on life.

In the mid-1980s, her role as headteacher, allied to her love of music, led to her marriage to Frank Davis, the visiting principal teacher of music, now headteacher, from the associated secondary school, Annan Academy, and to the birth of twin daughters in 1993.

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