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April 1, 2004

Davisson, Lisa

by Michael Bushnell, Page Editor
Lisa Davisson is a veteran Special Ed coordinator who has overcome many obstacles to be the head of the program at Blair. Davisson, in her 14th year at Blair after short stints at Walter Johnson and Wootton high schools, is the coordinator of the Special Ed program. Her official title is “Research Teacher of Special Ed." She deals with both staff and the 300 plus kids in Special Ed.

Born and raised in “The O.C.," Orange County, California (Costa Mesa) Davisson can relate to the struggles Special Ed students face. She was born with a reading disorder that made school very challenging for her. “In second grade, I had real trouble reading, and suspected that I had a disorder, which I, in fact, did," says Davisson. “Reading was very hard for me." Davisson says her mother, a speech pathologist, helped her learn how to read and write. Her reading improved over the years, and she even earned a Master’s degree in reading from Virginia Tech.

Davisson got her undergraduate degree from Maryland, majoring in Special Ed. She knew, even back as early as junior high school, that she wanted to help the disabled. During those years, she would work after school at a home for “exceptional children," as it was called, for mentally disabled children given up at birth.

She enjoyed it, and the experience fit with her desire to go into teaching. “I loved working there with those children, and I always wanted to be a teacher, so being a Special Ed teacher seemed like a fit," says Davisson.

It has been, but not without struggles outside of school. Last summer, Davisson was on a ladder, putting clothes in a closet in her new home, when she fell. She was merely four feet up, but landed very awkwardly, fracturing her right lower leg and knee. “The doctors said it was as if a bomb went off in my knee," Davisson recalls. “The doctors almost almost had to amputate her leg above the kneecap. “If this was 30 years ago, I probably wouldn’t have two legs." Following five days of hospitalization and the insertion of a 5" plate into her knee, Davisson was forced to use a cart to be mobile, something she still has to use.

She is very proud of the Special Ed program, and how it integrates students into regular classes. “There are many smart kids who fall under the Special Ed classification," she states. “For example, there is one student who has a 172 IQ in the magnet that has a writing disorder. He meets with us once a week, but is still in the magnet." In fact, according to Davisson, the majority of Special Ed students are in honors, CAP or magnet classes, a rarity in most schools.

When she isn’t working, Davisson enjoys spending time with her two dogs, which have kept her company while she recovers from her leg injury. She hopes to get back to her true hobbies, such as skiing and biking, but since she was inside much other the past summer, she took an interest in sewing. And she always finds time to read. “It’s my favorite thing to do in the world," she says.

Davisson, who has overcome her major disabilities, still has some trouble writing. “Thank [goodness] for spell check. I couldn’t have gotten through life without it," she says with a chuckle. She says she will write anything of importance on the computer, but she can’t always keep from misspelling words. “Every so often," she says, “I’ll leave a letter out and feel stupid."

Even with all these obstacles, Davisson has overcome all of them to reach the top of the Special Ed department at Blair. There are many feel good stories of men and women who overcome the problems put in front of them in order to be successful in life. Add Lisa Davisson to that list.



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