Brad Davidson

Brad Davidson, in 2010, talked to Gazette Newspapers about his role as the assistant principal at Poly High School. 

Assistant Principal Brad Davidson was probably best known for being able to relate to the students he worked with at Poly High School.

A product of Long Beach, Davidson could understand where they were coming from since he, too, was once a student — from the Long Beach preschool he attended all the way through the doctorate he received from California State University, Long Beach.

“Brad was very proud, very proud to have all his education from Long Beach schools,” said Shawn Ashley, a principal at Jordan High School who formerly worked with Davidson at Poly.

Ashley and others are mourning the loss of Davidson this summer. The man, who was 43 years old, died Saturday in his sleep from natural causes while on a family vacation to Washington state.

“Brad loved kids and loved his work,” Joe Carlson, a Poly principal who retired from LBUSD last week, said. “He was a hard worker who was wholly immersed in helping kids better their lives.”

In the past few years when they worked together at Poly, Carlson said the assistant principal was dedicated to addressing truancy issues at the school and also greatly improved the school’s safety plans. Davidson was known by colleagues for his ability to relate to students due to his own insight about the city’s neighborhoods.

Ashley emphasized that Davidson was an inspiration, particularly because of his own success story, showing how he used his education at Gant Elementary, Hamilton Middle School, Jordan High, Long Beach City College and CSULB to gain a career helping students in his hometown.

Davidson himself, in 2010, told Gazette Newspapers about his experience in Long Beach schools. He also had been a schoolteacher and football coach in the district and had hopes of one day becoming a principal.

“It was all really seamless,” he said. “I haven’t left Long Beach. Out of high school I started coaching football at Jordan. That was June 1989, the year I graduated…

“All the schools (in Long Beach) are similar, and they all have their uniqueness and traditions,” he added. “The kids are the same though… Working with the kids of Long Beach — that’s where I want to be. The best part of my job is seeing out the students when they become grownups. You get the phone calls and wedding invitations or you see their children come through school.”

A public memorial service will take place at 4 p.m. on Monday, July 21, at Poly High School. Davidson is survived by his mother, Lowa Davidson, as well as siblings Greg (and Annie) Davidson and Jeff (and Kim) Davidson. He was preceded in death by his father, Larry Davidson, and sister, Lori Davidson.

Ashleigh Ruhl can be reached at

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