Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence

Ronia Davison, Principal, Sadler Arts Academy, Muskogee

2018 Medal for Excellence in Elementary/Secondary Administration

The winner of the Medal for Excellence in Elementary/Secondary Administration is Ronia Davison, principal of Sadler Arts Academy, a magnet school serving Muskogee students in grades K through 8. Davison served 13 years as an award-winning teacher at Sadler before becoming principal in 2010. 

“Ronia is a living example of the qualities that make up an excellent administrator,” said Melony Carey, Muskogee Education Foundation board member. “She models the behaviors she expects others to live by, whether about teaching a well-planned lesson or being an ethical leader.”

Carey said Sadler Arts Academy has consistently received an A on the Oklahoma School Report Card because of Davison’s adherence to the vision and mission of Sadler to integrate the arts throughout each subject area. “She understands the importance of the arts to enliven children’s minds and engage them in real world understanding of subject matter.”

Davison is also committed to building strong relationships. She personally greets students when they arrive in the morning and never misses an opportunity to compliment good behavior. “Relationships are imperative and permeate all that we do at our school,” she said. She also strives to make teachers feel valued and to provide the tools, training and emotional support they need to succeed. As a result, the school has a high teacher retention rate.

Valuing shared leadership, Davison meets with teacher leaders weekly to discuss instructional and school culture issues, including classroom climate, character practices and goal attainment. She has also led the school to focus on the development of the whole child, giving equal importance to the development of a student’s emotional intelligence and empathetic behavior. Among the school’s guiding principles are to be “kind to each other, tenderhearted and forgiving.” In recognition of its efforts, Sadler Arts Academy was named a National School of Character in 2014.

Under Davison’s leadership, the school has received more than $400,000 in grants and donations, and recently built a new media center, including a STEM Room, technology lab, DaVinci Design space and dance studio. In 2016, Sadler Arts Academy was named a National Blue Ribbon School, ranking it in the top one-half of one percent of the nation’s schools in academic achievement.

“These prestigious distinctions support the fact that we recognize that the arts, rigor, character development and meaningful relationships meet the needs of each of our students at their individual level,” Davison said.

A National Board Certified Early Childhood Generalist, Davison is the recipient of many honors including a 2009 Governor's Arts Award, 2008 Milken Award for the State of Oklahoma and a 2008 Fund for Teachers Fellowship.