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Mansfield mayor G.W. Davis’ love of teaching beams through retirement
G.W. Davis
Mayor G.W. Davis - photo by Emily Rose Hamby

MANSFIELD, Ga. – Humility and gratitude sum up the values of lifelong Mansfield local G.W. Davis, who has served as mayor for the last five years. Mayoral duties aside, Davis’ joys lie deeply rooted within the community he has considered home since birth. 

Over the course of his life, Davis has upheld many distinguished titles, however, being an educator, a son, a brother, a husband and a father of three fuels him with deep pride.

“What usually people find a complaint about I can praise,” Davis said. “If you hear people talking negative[ly] about stuff, the big three I know of [are] complain[ts] about their job, their mother-in-law, or their brother-in-law. I had the greatest job in the world being principal at Mansfield Elementary School. My mother- in-law was a saint. I got a brother-in-law who lives just right across from us, who is just as good as he could be. I have had a very blessed life.”

Since birth, Davis has experienced the majority of his life in Mansfield. From attending Mansfield Elementary School to graduating from Newton High School, his involvement in the community has remained unwavering.

“I have spent my whole life in [this] one little square mile,” Davis said. “The town is where I grew up. It was an idyllic place to grow up. Everybody knew me and I knew everybody and had tons of parents looking after me and great friends.”

Before going on to obtain several higher-level degrees in the field of education, Davis’ passion for teaching was discovered in eighth grade, when he was asked to watch a second grade class in the temporary absence of a teacher.

“I knew from that moment on that I wanted to be a teacher,” Davis said. “So, I went into education. That was also one of those God moments where you feel the direction telling you, ‘this what you need to do.’”

After earning an associate degree in education at Brewton- Parker College, Davis obtained his bachelor’s degree in the field from Columbus State University. Later, he acquired his master’s and specialist degree in educational leadership from Georgia State University.

G.W. Davis and wife
Mayor G.W. Davis (left) and his wife, Mary Ann (right). - photo by Emily Rose Hamby

Beginning his educational career in the Clayton County Public School District, Davis taught fifth grade for five years and sixth grade for the following six years before progressing into administrative titles for the next 15 years.

Despite feeling homesick for his hometown while working in another county, the Clayton County Public School District provided Davis the opportunity to meet his wife, Mary Ann, a fellow educator.

“I never counted Clayton County as my residence,” Davis said. “I always counted Mansfield as my residence because I came home every weekend.”

Shortly after getting married and becoming pregnant with their first child, the Davis’ made the decision to settle in Mansfield, where both Mary Ann and G.W. found jobs in the Newton County School System.

While Mary Anne transitioned between teaching at Palmer Stone and Livingston Elementary School, G.W. worked at Sharp Middle School before becoming principal of his alma mater, Mansfield Elementary School. Davis’ tenure as Mansfield Elementary’s principal spanned two decades before his retirement in 2012.

Though now 10 years removed from the field of education, Davis still reflects on his 40 year career with fondness and fulfillment.

“I love to make connections with people, find out about people and find out about kids and reach ‘em not only at an instructional level, but get them emotionally involved in the learning,” Davis said. “Love hands-on stuff. Did as many science experiments and that kind of thing as I could.”

“I had the greatest job in the world being principal at Mansfield Elementary School,” Davis continued. “Greatest kids. I’d put ‘em up next to anybody. Tremendously supportive parents, oh gosh, that was so many good years there.” Retirement has yet to cease Davis’ dedication to teaching. Each Sunday for the past 45 years, Davis has taught Sunday School at Mansfield Baptist Church.

“I was born on a Sunday,” Davis said. “I was put on the cradle roll of Mansfield Baptist Church that Sunday. And I have been involved with it ever since. So I’ve been here my whole life.”

In his free time, Davis enjoys hunting, geocaching, visiting his children, going to church and assisting his wife with her hobby of photography.

“My wife is a great photographer,” Davis said. “She has gotten into night photography and we’ve been going in the dead of night to dark sky spots, [taking] pictures of the Milky Way and that kind of thing.”

For Davis, being a longtime resident of Mansfield has yet to lose its sparkle.

“There are so many good things about Mansfield. It’s hard for me to identify just one thing,” Davis said. “It’s not a cutthroat area. I see people who are genuinely concerned for one another, much like it was during my childhood.There’s not a great deal of wealth, but there’s not a great deal of poverty. It’s just hard-working folks trying to make a living, enjoying life, raising families, that kind of thing.”

Regardless of his mayoral status, Davis’ wife hopes Mansfield citizens realize the devotion he continues to maintain for his community.

“[I wish people knew] just what kind of heart he has for this town,” Mary Ann said. “He cares so much. I mean, he grew up here. This is what he knows.”