Norwalk Reflector: Doughty: 'If you care for them, they will respond'

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Doughty: 'If you care for them, they will respond'

By Joe Centers • Nov 27, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Saying simply “it’s time,” Dennis Doughty has announced he is retiring at the end of this school year.

Doughty is in his 43rd year in education, starting and ending at his alma mater, St. Paul, where he is president of Norwalk Catholic School.

In between he has been at Monroeville, Western Reserve, Willard and Norwalk.

“So many of those have been as an administrator,” Doughty said. “It’s a long haul ... a lot of hours. The 60 to 65 hours a week are really starting to take a toll.”

Doughty said it was important to leave when the tank is half full, instead of half empty.

“You don’t want to be an anchor instead of lifting things up,” he said. “It’s a balancing act and it feels like the right time now.”

There is plenty of things to do in the time he has left on the job.

“To be honest, I am working on next year’s budget right now,” he said. “I will help the next person coming in.”

Doughty has seen a lot of changes in education the last 43 years and not all of them for the better.

“I think the biggest change we have seen is the focus on standardized testing,” he said. “I don’t think that is the best thing for the schools. You don’t want the testing to dictate what you do in schools.

“In Catholic schools there is less focus on the testing. ... We do testing, but we don’t focus on it. We have more flexibility. We want kids to love learning and take it into the future.”

What changes has he seen in 43 years?

“The kids are the same,” Doughty said. “There are different pressures, but I feel like kids want to learn. If you care for them, they will respond. The kids have responded well. That is what has kept me going all of these years.

“There have been struggles. You deal with unions and at times that can be tough. One thing I always wanted to do was get my law degree. But once I got into educatuion I was hooked and I have enjoyed it a great deal.

“It seemed like everybody was pulling the same way. That’s what coach (Mike) Gottfried always talked about when he was here. I’ve been privileged to be part of that, when everybody works together and pulls the same way. I’ve enjoyed every minute it. The different experiences have made me a better educator.”

Don’t expect Doughty to sit back and do nothing after he retires. He has plenty on his plate.

“I’m a chairman of the hospital board,” he said. “I fully intentend to do things in the community and do anything I can for the schools.”

Doughty said he has gotten full support from his wife Kris and three children over the years.

Andrew is a mechanical engineer living in Perrysburg, Alison is a special education aide at Maplehurst Elementary and Alex is a personal trainer and a student.

They have one grandson, Jude.

“I just found out this last year my kids would look to see if I left my tie on (when he got home at night),” Doughty said. “If I left it on, they knew I was going back to work. If I took it off, they knew I was staying home. Looking back, you say I wish I could have been home more, but I was always able to support them from school.

He still intends to be working with children, but this time it will be with his grandson.

“I suspect they will be calling me,” Doughty said with a laugh. “We have no intentions of moving. We will be around.”

Joe Centers is Reflector managing editor. He can be reached at [email protected]

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