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Meet our Principal

Darielle Davis

She once walked the halls of McClymonds High School as the valedictorian, and come July, she will walk the same halls as the Warriors’ principal.

Darielle Davis, a member of McClymonds' Class of 2007, accepted the principal role on May 14. Davis’ official start date is July 1.

"I want the students to have the experience I had when I went here," said Davis, who graduated with a Political Science degree from UC Berkeley in 2011. "I felt supported by the adults. I developed my voice here. Mack is special to me."

A product of Oakland Unified School District schools, Davis spent the 2023-2024 school year teaching social studies at McClymonds, focusing on advanced placement government and history.

"When I posted that I got the position on social media, the community support was immediate," Davis said. "Folks were proud and comforted that one of their own was going to be principal."

Davis spent the previous two years as a teacher on special assignment at Life Academy, where her duties included assisting the co-principals.

She began her teaching career in OUSD in 2017 as an 8th-grade history teacher at Elmhurst United Middle School, where she taught from 2017 to 2021. Before that Davis was the expanded learning coordinator at Elmhurst from 2015 to 2017.

"The arc of Darielle’s career has this story-book quality," said Kilian Betlach, former Elmhurst Principal. "She started out working in the after school program, and is soon leading the after school program. Then she’s jumping into a teaching role, and then taking roles on leadership teams. She’s a special person."

Davis went to Lakeview Elementary and Westlake Middle School before arriving at McClymonds as a 9th grader.

"When she was a freshman, she came in and was very clear that she was going to go to college," said Dr. Yetunde Reeves, Davis' former principal at McClymonds. "She was very clear about what she wanted and was very mature, focused and involved in many activities."

That clarity about college started at Westlake Middle School, where Davis met Brian McGhee. McGhee, a class of 1985 Mack alum, was working as a case manager at Westlake and, according to Davis, was the first person to talk to her about college and getting good grades.

When McGhee found out Davis was from West Oakland, he immediately told her she should go to McClymonds, run track for his wife, Relonda, and attend college.

Davis thought he was crazy. She had never run. Davis was the 8th-grader who walked the mile in P.E. class and was now encouraged to compete in track and cross country.

"He was the first person to talk to me about getting a 4.0, getting good grades and going to college," Davis said. "He was like, you can really do this. I was like, this man is crazy.

"But, literally, that ended up being my life. I went to Mack, ran track and got a scholarship to go to Cal."

All that was missing from McGhee’s clairvoyant vision for Davis was the future principal of their alma mater.

But there were signs of things to come.

When Davis got to McClymonds, she thought she was on the pre-law track. However, as a freshman, she was exposed to her first school leadership experience.

During her first year at Mack, Davis was one of three freshmen tabbed to sit on the community committee tasked with redesigning McClymonds during the small schools movement. Davis and the community design team spent the year working with Principal (Yetunde) Reeves and other team members in developing the school.

It included regular meetings and visiting New York City to observe other small schools, determining what worked, what challenges existed, and how the learning could be applied back home.

"Darielle has always loved her community," said Reeves, who was named Maryland’s Principal of the Year for her work at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Baltimore. “She has always had a give-back spirit that is unique, special and significant.”

Reeves spent a significant amount of time at McClymonds, first as a teacher and then as the A.P. and principal. So, Reeves has insight into the challenges that await Davis, from enrollment to navigating the construction of a new school building.

Reeves offered this advice: be clear on her expectations to staff and understand that the colleague-to-colleague dynamic is different from the principal-to-colleague one.

Davis is well aware of the challenges and has taken a listen-first approach. She has scheduled one-to-one meetings with everyone from teachers to support staff.

"I have been away from this place for so long," Davis said. "So it is positioning myself as a learner and asking what is Mack like now?"

You can expect a listening tour from Davis, and she said her first year will focus on rigor and fun.

"We need to have rigorous classrooms, and Mack students need to have fun," she said. "So I need to figure out what needs to be done to support that. What do teachers need? What does the support staff need? What does the community need?"

Davis is on a mission to find out as she walks the halls as principal at her alma mater.