FARMINGTON, Utah (ABC4) – The Davis School District Board of Education unanimously voted to appoint a new superintendent today. Dr. Daniel Linford will fill the position beginning on July 1, 2022. The board released a statement about the appointment:

“The board recognizes the unique challenges of our time and expects leadership that is accountable and equitable in working with all stakeholders. We look forward to continued excellence and progress in Davis District with Linford’s collaborative leadership and commitment to student achievement.”

The board held a special meeting to take a vote in a public meeting. All members voted “yes” on the motion to appoint Linford to the position. The room filled with applause. The board then invited Linford to comment on his new role and then speak with the press.  

“We have an obligation, those of us that know this district and understand this district, it’s incumbent upon us to fix it,” Linford stated. He added that he hopes everyone would live by the idea of cleaning our own messes. He emphasized this when asked if it would have been better to bring “new blood” into the district. Linford has 23 years of experience in education and is no stranger to the district.  

According to the district: “Linford began his educational career as a high school English teacher. In 2005, Linford moved into an administrative role as the assistant principal at Viewmont High School and then principal in 2011. He has served as a secondary director since 2016. He is also a product of the Davis School District, graduating from Clearfield High School.” 

Dr. Linford told the press he has been working with staff across the district as they address racism in the district’s 80 plus schools that serve more than 70,000 students. Linford said he believes racism is still prevalent within the district’s schools. He said, “I think we see some unrest around the world and certainly around the country and certainly within Davis County, but I’m glad to be part of the solution.” Linford added, “I do believe harassment happens every day because I see it, because it comes across my desk every day.”  

The district is on a five-year improvement plan. The plan is supervised by the U.S. Department of Justice. The DOJ implemented the plan after a years-long investigation found “widespread” instances of racism across the district’s schools.  

The board began looking for a new superintendent after the current superintendent announced his retirement at the beginning of the year. The district released this statement about the process: “The board is confident about this decision after a robust process of community engagement, stakeholder reviews, portfolio evaluations, and interviews.” The statement continues, “Linford is highly qualified and well-respected in DSD and across the state for his work ethic and academic rigor. He has applied his teaching and administrative experience to support schools across the district in his director role. We see Linford as an innovative leader who will utilize his communication skills and open-minded approach to be a problem-solver and relationship builder.” 

During the search, the district held three separate town hall events at schools across the county. These events were generally well attended by the public. Local groups, like the NAACP, had many members in the audience to express the characteristics they want in a superintendent.   

Bianca Mittendorf is a member of a local chapter of the NAACP. She spoke to ABC4 about the organization’s presence in the process. When asked what they would like in a superintendent, she responded, “that there would be a willingness, or a continued willingness rather, on behalf of the superintendent to engage in vital conversations.”  

While speaking to the press, Linford said he told the board during his interviews that he believes in being transparent and active in the community as the district continues to move forward. In a formal statement he said, “We must partner with families from all backgrounds to improve education together. I believe powerful education is the great equalizer. Nothing provides greater equity for our students from all backgrounds than guaranteeing each of them a world-class education. We must ensure that our students are ready for a world that will continue to change rapidly and significantly.” 

During his time speaking to ABC4, Linford said the work to repair the culture at the district is far from being done. He added, “…and I believe the worst thing that we could do is assume that we’ve conquered that and that that’s behind us.”  

Although there is still work to be done, Linford emphasized that great work has already taken place. “We have administrators, teachers, folks in the schools who are doing this work,” he said.  

Mittendorf, with the NAACP, told ABC4 that continuing this work is vital. She emphasized the need to pay attention to the needs of all student groups, no matter how small those groups may be. “By focusing on the needs of this small subsect, we end up helping everyone.”  

When Lindorf steps into his new role, he will be the 19th superintendent in the district’s history.