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Getting to Know Our New Director of Equity and Community Engagement
Dean DeChiaro

A recent chat about cycling, crime novels and banana bread with Dr. Reginald "Reggie" Davenport, our new Director of Equity and Community Engagement.

We recently sat down with Reginald “Reggie” Davenport Ed.D., our new Director of Equity and Community Engagement, for the latest conversation in our “Getting to Know You…” series, where we highlight new faces and voices in the Stevens community.

Make sure to say hello to Reggie in the fall!

Tell us about someone in your career who influenced your approach to education.

There was a middle school principal named Richard Gardner who was my mentor when I was going through the certification process to move into administration. He was an old-fashioned kind of guy who loved people and taught me not to worry too much about the little things and just to make sure you’re taking care of the people. Take care of the teachers and they’ll take care of the kids.

You’re an ordained minister in addition to an educator and equity advocate. How did you come to have that experience?

When I met my wife in the nineties, she was attending a church in Scotch Plains. I grew up Baptist and she had grown up Episcopalian but joined the Baptist church as an adult. At that point in my life I was playing in quite a few softball leagues on Sunday, but she asked me to go to church with her, so I went. We got married in that church and years later I was looking for something to keep me grounded when the pastor, who was a family friend, told me that he wanted to train me to be a minister. So I continued on that path and I was ordained in 1997. I get to perform weddings once in a while. That’s cool.

How do you like to spend your weekends?

If I have a free couple of hours, not even just on the weekends, I want to get on my bike. I started cycling about 10 years ago and it’s just become my obsession. I like to get up early and get it done. A few years ago I joined the Major Taylor Cycling Club of New Jersey, named after the famous Black cyclist from the early 1900s. I don’t ride with them every weekend, but every weekend it's not raining I’m out there on the bike.

Do you have a dream travel destination?

I've never been to Europe and I want to go. My wife is presently pushing for an Alaskan cruise. God has been really good to us that we're able to be looking at a couple of destinations. But I’d really like to go to Spain and see the Spanish history of the Moors, where algebra was created. And I do want to get on that Alaskan cruise.

What are some of your favorite books?

I’m a big fan of the author Walter Mosely, who writes the Easy Rawlins mysteries. I also generally go for stuff that makes me laugh. My kids recently gave me a book called “God is Disappointed In You,” which was a comedic retelling of the Bible. I used to really like John Grisham’s books. They were pretty good before every one became a movie, right?

What’s your favorite thing to make in the kitchen?

At home, I’m the breakfast king. When it comes to the waffles or pancakes, I’m pretty good. But the single best thing I make… you know when the bananas are really going bad? I make banana bread with cranberries, raisins and nuts.