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Interview: William Stanford Davis on the Importance of Representing Educational Environments in ‘Abbott Elementary’

In Abbott Elementary, a groundbreaking comedy set in a Philadelphia public school from creator Quinta Brunson, one of the key guest stars is custodian Mr. Johnson, played by William Stanford Davis. Starting as a guest star before becoming a regular cast member, Mr. Johnson is a dedicated and compassionate component of the school’s dynamic and serves as a backbone of the school community with his impeccable comedic timing, infectious warmth, and genuine care for the students that resonates with audiences.

Mr. Johnson embodies kindness through an unwavering support for the students and staff he holds dear. Davis discusses the surprisingly integral role the school janitor can play in an educational environment and how his own personal experiences informed his approach to the role.

Beyond his role in Abbott Elementary, William Stanford Davis is an accomplished actor with experience in the entertainment industry that has allowed him to reflect on the importance of the show’s representation of teachers and students in an inner-city school environment.

In our conversation, Davis reflects on this representation and the dedicated cast and crew that have made Abbott such a widespread success.

Read our full conversation with William Stanford Davis below.


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Written by Danny Jarabek

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