Jolly Ann Horton Davidson


"If I were to nominate one person, man or woman, as the most effective leader in the nation--not just in Iowa--my nomination would be Jolly Ann Davidson."
—Keith G. Briscoe, 1987

Jolly Ann Horton Davidson, native of Davenport, Iowa and resident of Clarinda, Iowa, is distinguished for commitment to public service, contributions to public broadcasting, and dedication to excellence and equity in education. From 1973 to 1986, she was a member of the Iowa State Board of Public Instruction, serving two years as president. She successfully advocated human relations courses for teacher certification, programs for talented and gifted students, vocational education for all, and area schools. She was president of the National Association of State Boards of Education. From 1976 to 1986, she also focused her policy-making skills as board member and six-year president of the Iowa Public Broadcasting Board and was a driving force behind the new Iowa Public Television facility. She was a board member of the Agency for Instructional Television, which seeks to improve education by integration with technology, and she chairs the National Committee on Educational Integrity for Public Broadcasting. In 1984, Davidson was presented Drake University's Alumni Distinguished Service Award. Davidson was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1987.

UPDATE: Davidson continues to be an active volunteer, particularly at the local level. Davidson serves in Clarinda and in Bradenton, Florida during winter months on Iowa Public Television’s Committee on Editorial Integrity in Public Broadcasting. For eight years, she served as the national spokesperson for the Family C.O.U.R.S.E. Consortium for eight years. The Consortium, based in Washington, D.C., worked with parents and children across the country, facilitating family communication and good decision-making skills.