Known as ‘The Dope Educator,’ Jamison and His Fifth Grade Class Star in the New GapKids Campaign Inspiring Representation, Inclusion and Optimism
Gap welcomes kids back to school with ‘The Dope Educator,’ David Jamison—a Memphis, Tennessee teacher whose infectious spirit and individual approach to students are an inspiring tribute to the good that stems from passion, care and kindness. The GapKids’ Fall campaign captures the charisma and bond between Jamison and his fifth-grade students from Hickory Ridge Elementary School who represent INDIVIDUALS—Gap’s collective of unique changemakers across generations, leading the charge for a more inclusive, optimistic world together.
Jamison grabbed a national spotlight in 2019 for the personalized handshakes he performs with his students each morning. While adapted to be non-touch in 2020, the tenacity, excitement and hype remains the same. Over the course of his career, he has memorized over 200 distinct handshakes, reinforcing students as important INDIVIDUALS. Jamison decided to become an educator after his own experience without any Black male educators taught him that representation at school matters.
“When I was a kid, I was always in trouble at school,” explains teacher and icon of GapKids’ Fall 2021 campaign, David Jamison. “I realized that part of the reason why is because I didn’t have teachers who looked like me; I didn’t have someone I could relate to. When I decided to become a teacher, I not only felt called to help change representation in education, but to be a role model kids need. Experiences in early childhood education shape who we are the rest of our lives. I am honored to play a role in the lives of my students and our handshakes are just a small piece of the change I hope to create. It’s our job as a community to nurture all children so they can flourish and reach their greatest potential.”
“Jamison’s approach to teaching and commitment to his students as INDIVIDUALS is inspirational and heartwarming,” says Mary Alderete, global head of Gap marketing. “He is equal parts champion and role model. Back to school is even more meaningful when many students are returning to the physical classroom for the first time in over a year. One of his students told us she loves being in his class because she can be herself and that is the essence of GapKids—being an individual who is true to yourself, encouraging others, instilling empathy and optimism, and being the change this world needs.”
To continue Gap’s commitment to drive change and amplify voices, the campaign was captured by biracial female photographer, Melodie McDaniel, and filmed in collaboration with Gap Global Creative Director, Len Peltier. The creative plays tribute to Gap’s modern American optimism rooted in music and dance with a soundtrack set to daily mantras from Jamison’s class – phrases like, “Who are we? We are the Rockets! The Rockets are respectful and responsible, optimistic, collegiate, knowledgeable, engage with enthusiasm, trustworthy, striving for success,” vibrating the spirit and heart of these forces for good.
To kick off the campaign and celebrate the students starring within, Gap installed the iconic GapKids images of Jamison and his students on school grounds. The billboard was just revealed at an in-person pep rally, welcoming Hickory Ridge Elementary back to school. Gap also donated hundreds of school uniform pieces and hoodies to support the students and families at Hickory Ridge Elementary School.
The GapKids campaign will debut on July 27, 2021 across Gap brand channels and television, OOH and digital. Follow along on @gapkids to see #GapToSchool content go live throughout the coming months.
Gap: Jenna Stone, firstname.lastname@example.org
LaForce: Kristin Brice, Gap@LaForce.nyc, 724.549.1731
About Gap @gap and @gapkids
Gap is an authority on modern American style. Founded in San Francisco in 1969, Gap continues to build on its heritage grounded in denim and connect with customers online and in company-operated and franchise retail locations globally. Gap includes Women's and Men's apparel and accessories, GapKids, babyGap, GapTeen, GapMaternity, GapBody and GapFit collections. The brand also serves value-conscious customers with exclusively designed collections for Gap Outlet and GapFactory Stores. Gap is the namesake brand for leading global specialty retailer, Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) which includes Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic and Athleta brands. For more information, please visit www.gapinc.com.