Friends and colleagues described Davis as an avid traveler who used trips to connect his students with the world outside San Antonio.
Friends and colleagues described William Davis as an avid traveler who used trips to connect his students to the world outside San Antonio. Credit: Courtesy / San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Personnel

Donning red heart pins with a checkered blue and white tie, friends, family members, and former colleagues of William “Bill” Davis stood before the San Antonio Independent School District board of trustees Monday night to honor the late Rhodes Middle School teacher.

Following a petition drive by parents, students, and educators, trustees voted unanimously to rename Rhodes’ technology building the William E. Davis Technology Building, citing Davis’ long and devoted career that significantly impacted students’ lives.

Davis, who spent more than two decades at Rhodes, died this summer in a car crash in Uganda. Those present spoke to his dedication to students, passion for the Rhodes community, and fondness for ties – as depicted on the red pins made by Herff Academy teachers.

“He loved what he did, [he loved] being involved in the community, and he probably never knew how much he meant to his students,” Davis’ ex-wife Viviana Davis said, standing next to daughter Andrea.

More than 2,000 people signed the online petition asking SAISD to rename the technology building after Davis, who taught technology applications, video production, and web design in recent years.

Comments on the petition described Davis as an “outstanding teacher,” “great influence to the kids,” and “one of a kind.”

“It is great to know that he was loved by his peers, his students, and [San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Personnel]  members enough to have this building named after him,” Viviana Davis said.

Jinny Case, Davis’ ex-girlfriend and mother of Davis’ daughter Tessa, told trustees that Davis dedicated “half of his life to his students at Rhodes” and that it was clear he worked to “expand their horizons.”

SAISD Board President Patti Radle urged district officials to consider placing Davis’ name at the entrance of the building so those walking in would see the sign, and inside the building for students to see during the day.

In July, Rhodes died in a car accident while in Uganda to connect with pen pals he and his students had written to throughout the school year.

Davis taught at Rhodes Middle School for 23 years, starting his career at the SAISD school on the West Side in 1995. SAISD officials described him as a passionate teacher who was beloved by his students.

“He was committed to the Rhodes community, the technology department, and vowed to teach at Rhodes for his entire career,” Principal Moises Ortiz said. “As a principal, working with him in his role as the [San Antonio Alliance’s representative], I was always very honored for his support and continual loyalty to the school and our students.”

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.