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My Davis Story: Phillip Wyatt

Dear Davis Friends, 

My Davis story began in 2020 when I first joined The Davis Academy faculty as a Middle School Language Arts teacher. I was immediately enveloped by the warm embrace of our administration, my colleagues, and, most importantly, my students. I felt immediately at home.

From the moment I set foot in the Middle School building, the kindness and acceptance I experienced not only made Atlanta feel like home and Davis a very special place of employment but also brought me “home” to a profound understanding and acceptance of G-d. Though technically I am in the process of converting to Judaism, it's now as if I had been Jewish my entire life and had only just realized it upon joining this incredible community. 

Although I still have much to learn and explore in my relationship with the community, the Torah, and with G-d, I am content with my current status as a "baby Jew," as Nina Kuriansky, my colleague and our esteemed MS Judaics teacher, affectionately calls me. At Davis, I, and we live our values everyday day. This is a gift. As I tell my students often, our greatest gift in life is to be kind to others, help those less fortunate, and make the world around us more just. At Davis, I am grateful to have the opportunity to teach Language Arts to incredible kids and strive to integrate life lessons and instill our values every day.

Whether we're exploring the intersection between literature like The Outsiders and our Jewish values or learning how to tell our own stories through writing and poetry, I am blessed with the opportunity and responsibility to educate our children in preparation not only for high school but also for life.

Davis has given me the freedom to create a unique and dynamic classroom that reflects who I am as a teacher. It’s a place of perpetual motion, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. While we're creating 3-D symbols from our poems, editing our personal essays, and playing grammar games, we are also experimenting, trying and failing, developing grit, overcoming obstacles, and even at times, experiencing transcendence. Davis has also encouraged me to take time to truly be with my students as they navigate their daily lives - as they celebrate and struggle, as they socialize and explore, whether it be during class meetings or study hall, at lunch, or on the soccer field. This allows me to follow the advice of an early mentor who used to tell me that the most important thing you can do as a teacher is to “Be with them. Let them know you are there for them. Let them know how much you care.” 

Perhaps the greatest compliment I’ve received since joining Davis came when my Middle School colleague, Mr. O'Dell, told me I didn't need to “become Davis” because I already embodied its spirit, values, and love. Although I know I have much more personal growth ahead, I am committed to living up to that kind of compliment and giving my all to serving this wonderful community for many more years to come.

This is my Davis story. Thank you for being a place where I feel safe and supported to share my personal journey and for being a kehillah that values each unique voice.

Phillip Wyatt
Davis Faculty 



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