Amanda Davis-Holloway comes from a teaching family. Her mother, a former teacher, now writes policy for the Virginia Department of Education. And, as an English teacher and case manager at Armstrong High School's exceptional education program, she works with students who have disabilities — emotional, learning and otherwise.
She doesn't seem to be guided to an easy path. Before Armstrong, Davis-Holloway worked with the Virginia Department of Correctional Education, teaching pupils inside several area juvenile correctional facilities.
But she may not have gone into special education at all had her best friend, Angel Jackson, and her best friend's father, Herbert Sharpe Jr., not been murdered during a home invasion in 2006. As it turned out, the killer was a just-graduated, 19-year-old family member. “I kept thinking that if he had some intensive counseling,” she says, “maybe someone would have identified him as a kid who needed something.”
She now works to give her students who fall into the so-called at-risk category the help they need to excel. In recognition of those efforts, she was recently appointed to the alumni board at her alma mater, Mary Baldwin College.
Her next project is planned for the new school year, when she's starting a pilot program to encourage civic responsibility. As her nominator writes, Davis-Holloway believes “that one person can impact the life of a child if they give them positive encouragement and invest in their life.”